A viral ATM showing the millions of people raises the question: how much money should you have?

A viral ATM showing the millions of people raises the question: how much money should you have?

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  • An ATM facility at Art Basel Miami Beach displays and categorizes people’s bank balances.
  • As a general rule, experts recommend keeping only a small portion of your check money.
  • The rest should be spent on savings and investments based on your risk tolerance, time frame and goals.

An ATM installation at Art Basel Miami Beach displays participants’ bank account balances for all to see.

Shown in a viral video posted to Twitter by Joel Franco, the ATM is an art installation by Brooklyn-based group MSCHF that invites viewers to swipe their debit card and then displays their photo along with their balance, which is listed in a leaderboard. So far, a man with $2.9 million tops the charts, reports Pete Syme of Insider, while a man with $48,000 couldn’t crack the top 20.

An ATM is typically used in conjunction with a checking account, which means people have tens of thousands, if not millions, readily available. But what about the rest of us? How much are we supposed to have in our checking accounts?

A checking account shouldn’t hold all your money

A checking account is only part of a smart banking setup. It acts as an intermediary for your money: your salary can be deposited there, your bills will be paid from there and this is where you withdraw money. While it’s better than keeping your cash under your mattress, experts generally don’t recommend keeping all or even most of your cash in check.

Financial planner Marci Bair of Bair Financial Planning in San Diego, Calif., previously told Insider that anyone with a stable income should keep “no more than about two months worth of expenses” to check at any given time. . This is because while you want enough money in your account to cover your monthly bills, your money is more likely to grow elsewhere, such as in retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, CDs, or savings accounts. high yield.

See insider picks for the best checking accounts »

How you decide where the money goes depends on your goals, timeframe and risk tolerance. For example, you would invest your retirement savings because you have decades to weather market fluctuations. But if you need money over the next five years, you can opt for high-yield savings to keep it close at hand. The high-yield check is an option, but even the high-yield option doesn’t pay as much interest as savings (currently around 3%), CDs (currently around 4%) or the stock market (which has reported about 14% over the last 10 years).

And remember: you can have multiple accounts of any type. Personal finance expert and author Tiffany Aliche previously told Insider that she recommends anyone have four bank accounts for a low-effort, high-reward budgeting strategy: two checking accounts and two savings accounts. One checking account is for bills and the other for debit card spending. One savings account is for your emergency fund and the second is for other purposes. And that doesn’t even affect investments.

So, back to Art Basel: should you keep $2.9 million in check?

It depends on how much you spend per month.

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