A photo of the Citizens Bank ATM at Conn
The Citizens Bank ATM at Connecticut College, where I normally withdraw cash when I need it.

One of the more time-consuming activities I’ve been engaged in as I prepare to graduate and move to Colorado for the summer has been changing banks. The last time I did this was four years ago as I was preparing to enter Connecticut College, when I switched my main account from a local bank in Northampton, Massachusetts, to Citizens Bank. Connecticut College has a Citizens Bank ATM. So it made sense for me to switch to this particular bank to avoid any potential ATM fees.

In June 2016, my mother and I went to the Citizens branch in Northampton to open a new checking account. After about an hour of work with a bank representative, I had a folder with details about my new checking account and other Citizens products, reminder card with my new bank account and routing numbers and receipt for a checkbook order that would arrive a week later. I was in business.

As I prepare to move to Colorado, I have realized I can’t keep banking with Citizens. The company’s westernmost branches are located in Michigan and Ohio, so withdrawing any cash while I’m in Colorado would incur needless ATM and bank fees. Before and during spring break, I started analyzing various online banking products as well as the benefits I have from bank accounts already open in my name, including one at Florence Bank, my local bank at home. I eventually settled on depositing my money with two different Internet-based financial institutions. I’ve mainly interacted with Citizens through Internet and phone-based services rather than going into any of their branches. So working with banks that do not have any public offices isn’t too concerning to me. All of these banks have little to no minimum funding requirements and usually allow me to withdraw money from anywhere in the nation without penalty. As someone who’s just getting out of College and trying to build a nest egg while also wanting easy access to my funds, this sort of set up is a relief.

I’ve also started to set up methods to save long-term including a small Roth IRA account, which allows me to start saving for buying a house and/or retirement while earning interest. One of the benefits of the Roth IRA plan over traditional IRAs is that I can withdraw money I initially put into the account (but not money earned in the account) tax-free anytime. While banking and making sure to save money can at times feel scary–knowing that I have a plan makes me feel secure about my future.