What is FDIC insurance?

FDIC or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is created by the US Congress to insure the safety of deposits in participating members’ banks up to $250,000 per depositor per bank. Also, accounts in different ownerships (such as beneficial ownership, trusts, and joint accounts) are considered separately for the $250,000 insurance limit. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2005, Individual Retirement Accounts are insured to $250,000.

The FDIC was started after the Great Depression as several thousand banks failed after major runs on the banks. Many depositors lost large chunks on their principal. In order to prevent people from withdrawing their savings from banks which are deemed unstable by the general public, the FDIC started guarantying the principal which the depositor has at each individual bank up to a certain limit. The FDIC limits have been raised from the $10,000 in 1933 to $250,000 in 2008.

To receive this benefit, member banks must follow certain liquidity and reserve requirements. Banks are classified in five groups according to their risk-based capital ratio:

Well capitalized: 10% or higher
Adequately capitalized: 8% or higher
Undercapitalized: less than 8%
Significantly undercapitalized: less than 6%
Critically undercapitalized: less than 2%

When a bank becomes undercapitalized the FDIC issues a warning to the bank. When the number drops below 6% the FDIC can change management and force the bank to take other corrective action. When the bank becomes critically undercapitalized the FDIC declares the bank insolvent and can take over management of the bank. The FDIC insurance only covers deposits in US banks only. If you hold dollars in a foreign bank, your deposit is subject to the laws and regulations of the country. You need to do a very thorough forex analysis of the country's currency, before you move your money there, in order to prevent the risk of it being translated in the local currency, should the country face an economic emergency. This happened in Mexico in the 1980's, when dollar deposits were converted to peso's at the official market rate. At the same time however, the "black market" or actual rate was much higher, leading to steep losses for savers.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ensures that depositors recover 100% of their principal plus any interest rate accumulated in arrears before the collapse of the bank. This guarantee makes the banking system more stable and less prone on runs on the banks spurred by rumors.

The products covered by the FDIC limits of $250,000 include savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposits, Outstanding Cashier's Checks, Interest Checks, and other negotiable instruments.

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Is your bank FDIC insured?

Most people assume that their bank is FDIC insured. FDIC insurance guarantees the return of principal to the depositor in the event that the bank which holds the deposits goes under.

This FDIC bank search allows you to locate FDIC insured institutions by entering one or more of the criteria below. The criteria include Name, Address, City, State and Zip code.

In addition to that the Bank Find search tool answers the following questions pertaining to your bank’s location, home office, and website address, historical list of events that happened to your bank in addition to whether your bank is still open or had a new name.

Check the FDIC website to see if your bank is FDIC insured.

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Certificates of Deposits (CD’s)

Certificates of Deposit let savers lock in a set interest rate for a certain amount of time. Unlike Certificates of Deposit, most ordinary online savings accounts might pay a competitive current yield right now, but savers are exposed to the fluctuations in interest rates.

For example if you had a two year time horizon for your savings and you expected interest rates to increase significantly then opening a high-yield online savings account could be a better deal than locking your money for a fixed term Certificate of Deposit.
If you expected interest rates to decline over the next few years however, then locking in a higher interest rate today in a CD would be a much better strategy.

Both accounts are insured from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 per individual. Make sure your CD's are from a bank that is FDIC Insured. Check my post on what is FDIC insurance.

You could view the best interest rates on CD’s on this page

$200 Bonus Offer from Chase Freedom

Chase is offering new clients a $200 bonus when they open a Chase Freedom account within 3 months of account opening a spend $500. Source: Chase

Offer Details

In order to earn the $200 bonus, customers need to spend $500 in their first 3 months from account opening. There is an additional $25 bonus for adding an authorized user and making a first purchase within the same 3 month period.

401K Plans And Divorce | What Happens To My 401K Funds If I Get Divorced?

What happens to 401K plan in the event of a divorce? In recent years, the rate of divorce for all married couples has more than doubled. Further, more than 25% of divorcing couples are more than 50 years old. That means that there is a higher percentage of people getting divorced older. And it's the older people that have more developed 401K plans. Of course that's a major concern for those considering divorce: they don't want their soon-to-be ex-spouses getting their hands of those 401K funds!

What happens to my 401K plan if I get divorced?

When a couple gets divorced; especially a couple that has accumulated significant amounts of funds in retirement accounts, investments, life insurance and more, things get very complicated. When a human union is dissolved, all assets must be considered in the final divorce settlement agreement. And in most cases, any 401K funds accumulated during the union are considered as marital property.

It also happens to be true that dividing retirement funds, like 401K plans, is a legal nightmare. The rules are many, and also complicated to understand. There are loads of potential taxation implications to consider at the same time – check out the Suncorp superannuation calculator to help plan ahead & figure out how much you will actually have when you retire. A high percentage of attorneys have no expertise in this area, and therefore are prone to making serious negotiation mistakes. With all that in mind, it makes sense to get some education about what to keep in mind concerning your 401K if you are soon divorcing.

Most courts agree that retirement funds are planned for and contributed to by both members of a married couple. It doesn't make a lot of sense that these funds would be thought of as belonging to one or the other, but not both. After all, the concept of marriage is all about joining together – and most judges are going to see your 401K monies joined together too.

Now, here's the better news. If you entered into the marriage with a given amount already accumulated in your 401K, then that amount will probably be considered as separate property. Further, in some jurisdictions, any appreciation on that original amount would be looked upon as joint property. When it comes down to it, each case must be considered separately, and of course the variables can be very numerous. The exact differentiation between what is marital property and what is separate property will only be decided by the court.

The bottom line about 401K plans and divorce:

If you have accumulated funds in a 401K plan during your marriage, and are now about to get divorced, then prepare to part with some of that funding. Whatever amount has accumulated since your marriage began will most likely be seen in court as marital property. Pension disbursements, social security, life insurance, annuities and your 401K will all have to be considered, along with any other assets in question. Divorce is an ugly monster at times; one that can leave you feeling mighty broke too...