A personal account is an account for use by an individual for that person's own needs. It is a relative term to differentiate them from those accounts for corporate or business use. The term "personal account" may be used generically for financial accounts at banks and for service accounts such as accounts with the phone company or even for e-mail accounts.
All personal accounts imply motivation on the part of the subject. A written document implies a certain level of literacy and an attitude of self-reflection. Orally recorded accounts require a vehicle of transmission, perhaps a scholar who records interviews with an individual. Sometimes oral interviews are recorded among family members or among people who share a particular cultural value, such as Appalachian mountain musicians. Sometimes an individual makes his or her own recordings or videotaped personal accounts.
Personal accounts can focus on particular events or may cover a life more completely. They sometimes involve recollections focused on extraordinary events such as participation in wars or catastrophic events or explanations of unusual experiences. More recently, historians have begun to note everyday experiences as a measure of social order, so personal accounts can provide information on a particular "slice of life," explaining the circumstances of coming of age experiences or the way of life in a specific region. Personal accounts have also been an integral part of oral history studies in regions that lack a legacy of written history. Many recent African histories rely on personal accounts to trace family and community connections.
Individual retirement accounts allow you to save independently for your retirement. These plans are useful if your employer does not offer retirement benefits or you want to save more than your employer-sponsored plan allows. These accounts come in two types: the traditional individual retirement accounts and Roth IRA. The Roth individual retirement accounts is popular because the funds can be withdrawn tax-free in many situations. Others prefer traditional individual retirement accounts because these contributions are tax-deductible. Both accounts have contribution limits and other requirements you may need to discuss with your tax advisor before choosing your account.
In contrast to "no frills" accounts, these offer a more comprehensive set of services but usually at a higher cost . Also, unlike a basic checking account, you are usually able to write an unlimited number of checks. Checking accounts which pay interest are sometimes referred to as negotiable order of withdrawal accounts. The interest rate often depends on how large the balance in the account is and most charge a monthly service fee if your balance falls below a preset level.
Money market accounts are similar to savings accounts but they require you to maintain a higher balance to avoid a monthly fee. Where savings accounts usually have a fixed interest rate, these accounts have rates that vary regularly based on money markets. Money market accounts can have tiered interest rates, providing more favorable rates based on higher balances. Some money market accounts also allow you to write checks against your funds but on a more limited basis.
Certificates of deposit allow you to invest your money at a set interest rate for a pre-set period of time. Certificates of deposit often have higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts because the money you deposit is tied up for the life of the certificate which can range from a few months to several years. Be sure you do not need to draw on those funds before you open a certificate deposit, as early withdrawals may have financial penalties.
A savings account allows you to accumulate interest on funds you have saved for future needs. Interest rates can be compounded on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. Savings accounts vary by monthly service fees, interest rates, method used to calculate interest and minimum opening deposit. Understanding the account's terms and benefits will allow for a more informed decision on the account best suited for your needs.
A checking account offers easy access to your money for your daily transactional needs and helps keep your cash secure. Customers can use a debit card or checks to make purchases or pay bills. Accounts may have different options or packages to help waive certain monthly service fees. To determine the most economical choice, compare the benefits of different checking packages with the services you actually need.
A personal account reveals only what an individual wishes to reveal and usually presents just one side of any story. Any personal account is but one of many stories that could be told about an individual, yet it is an important one that allows us access to a range of voices and perspectives.