My husband just recently passed away and I will be receiving the death benefits plus other funds from business dealings. I don't even know what I am doing at times because of the mourning. What can I do besides money market accounts to "park" funds. I live on a guaranteed monthly annuity and government pension, own my home, and virtually debt free (paying for new car). I know not to make any major life changing decisions for at least the first year or more, depending on my state of mind. I am currently reading "The Savage Number," Thank you for making finances easier to understand.

Terry Says:

I’m so glad you wrote.   All of this — for right now, at least — is what I call “chicken money.”

Here are your cfhoices — none of which earn any interest to speak of, but all of which are safe.

  1.  Just put the money in bank CDs — some at 6 months, some at one year maturity — but no longer.  And some in a bank money market deposit account.  You will get a slightly better rate if your CDs are in amounts of $100,000 or more.  But no more than $500,000 in any one bank — assuming you are getting a LOT of money!
  2. You can use a Treasury-only money market mutual fund.  It will pay no interest, but again be safe.  My own favorite is American Century’s Capital Preservation fund at 800 -345-2021.  It has check-writing privileges, minimum $1,000 each, so you always have access to your money.
  3. Go to www.TreasuryDirect.gov and easily open an account to buy 3 and 6 month Treasury bills.  The money will be debited from your bank checking account, and the interest will be automatically paid back into the account.  You can stagger purchases every few weeks, so if rates rise, you will be able to “roll over” these T-bills into new, higher-yielding T-bills.   It sounds intimidating, but actually once you get started it is very easy.    There is a $100 minimum — or you can buy in much larger amounts.  But you won’t get  your money back until the T-bills mature in 90 or 180 days.

Please do any of the above, or a combination.  And then do write back to me when things calm down, and I will try to point you in the direction of a financial planner whom you can trust.