Dear Dr. Don,
At 85, my aging mother is earning just 0.4 percent at her bank in a one-year certificate of deposit. She has more than the maximum amount insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in one bank account and I am worried about it. My name is also on the account and I’ve been told that the money is safe. I pray that’s true. My main concern is that she needs income but is afraid of stocks and annuities.
We also have some money invested in bonds. Do you have a recommendation for us?
— Jo Jumble
The best way to determine whether deposits at a bank are uninsured is to use the electronic deposit insurance estimator provided on the FDIC website. Jointly held accounts raise the amount of insured deposits because each depositor has $250,000 in deposit insurance at the insured bank.
A one-year CD in today’s interest rate environment isn’t going to provide much income. As I write this reply, Bankrate’s highest reported rate for a one-year CD is more than 1 percent annual percentage yield and the national average is below 1 percent.
I think you and your mother should seek free initial consultations with a couple financial planners about her situation. At issue is how she can better meet her retirement income needs while keeping her investments safe. I don’t know enough about the big picture to give you much more advice at this point. The planner can work to understand details involving your mother’s income needs, investment holdings and any estate planning issues.
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