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Is My Money Safe?

With all of the changes going on in our financial system, people understandably want to make sure that their money is protected.  There are a number of safeguards for your money, but there are limits to the protection.  This tool will walk you through how your money is protected at financial institutions, including banks, savings and loans, credit unions, brokerages and insurance.  It will give you a basic idea of what questions to ask, a snapshot of your current situation, and where to go for more information. 

Bank, Savings and Loan, or Credit Union

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures deposits at banks and savings and loans.  In addition, the FDIC will step in and act as the "receiver" (i.e., a temporary owner) of a bank should it fail.  Usually the bank is quickly sold to another financial institution with no disruption of service.  Note that FDIC insurance does not cover mutual funds, stocks or bonds, even if you purchased them at a bank.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulates credit unions.  All federal credit unions (98% of all credit unions are federal) and the majority of state-chartered credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).  You can find out if your credit union is federally insured by searching for "Is My Credit Union Federally Insured?" at www.ncua.gov.  If not, it may be covered at the state level by private insurance—check with your credit union.  If your money is not insured, consider moving all of it to another financial institution.

Your total deposits in each bank, savings and loan, or credit union where you have an account are insured up to:


• Single Accounts (1 person)   -   $250,000 per owner

• Joint Accounts (2 or more persons)   -   $250,000 per co-owner

• IRAs/certain other retirement accounts (1 person)   -   $250,000 per owner

To find out if your money is insured, fill out the table below for each bank, savings and loan, or credit union where you have accounts:


Bank, S & L, or Credit Union

Single Account ($250,000 limit)

Joint Account ($250,000 limit per co-owner; $500,000 per couple)

IRA Account ($250,000 Limit)

Checking

Saving

Money Market Account

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Total

Does your single account total exceed $250,000?

No _____ Yes _____ By how much? _____

Does your share of the joint account total exceed $250,000?

No _____ Yes _____ By how much? _____

Does your IRA total exceed $250,000?

No _____ Yes _____ By how much? _____

If your total in any account exceeds the limit, consider moving at least that extra amount to another financial institution.

Example:  Let's say that you have $300,000. 

In scenario 1, you have $300,000 in an IRA at Bank A.  You should move at least $60,000 to another bank that is FDIC insured and preferably not on the FDIC danger list.  This will leave $240,000 in your Bank A account, which will be covered by the FDIC limit and also allow for a $10,000 cushion for account growth.  Your total amount is now covered because the coverage limits apply separately to each bank where you have accounts. 

In scenario 2, you have $200,000 in a money market account at Bank B and $180,000 in a CD at Bank C.  In this case, your money is protected because it is under the limit at each separate bank.

Be aware that a couple could have up to $750,000 protected at the same institution by having a joint account (protected up to $250,000) and two individual accounts (each protected up to $250,000).

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