FDIC's Winter 2011 Consumer News: Unlimited FDIC Insurance, Financial Records, College Savings
The FDIC just released its Winter 2011 Consumer News. Some excerpts that I thought would be useful to highlight include:
- Unlimited FDIC Insurance for Certain Transaction Accounts: A Closer Look - This has confused many readers. This unlimited coverage is just for certain non-interest bearing accounts. Also, this unlimited feature is scheduled to end on 12/31/2012. The article has the details about what this includes. Here's a good description of how this coverage can be beneficial for some consumers:
The new full-insurance category will be especially helpful for consumers who have a very large sum of money they want to safely park in a bank account for a brief period - perhaps from an inheritance, a home sale, or a big payment from a pension or insurance claim - until the funds can be invested elsewhere.
- Your Financial Records: What to Toss and When - As you might expect, IRS requirements are the main issue here:
"In very general terms, because the IRS has about six years to assess additional tax if you underreported your income by more than 25 percent, many tax advisors recommend holding all tax records for about seven years, building in extra time for any unforeseen delays in processing your return," said Rick Cywinski, an FDIC tax policy manager. He also noted that the tax period is unlimited if the IRS suspects fraud.
- Your Wallet: A Loser's Manual - There are a few useful tips to prevent identity theft and to limit your liabilities:
Limit the amount of confidential information in your wallet. [...] Keep good backup information about your bank and credit card accounts, just in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
- Saving for College: Ways to Minimize the Sticker Shock - Article reviews some of the more popular college savings programs such as 529 plans, U.S. Savings Bonds and credit card incentive programs.
- Why Interest Rates Matter to You - I was disappointed with this article. I was hoping it would include more than just a warning about CD early withdrawal penalties and a recommendation of CD ladders. My post Strategy for Getting the Best Yields in Deposit Accounts has more details on this topic.
Please refer to my December post for highlights of the FDIC's Fall 2010 Consumer News.