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Cash type investments include bank accounts such as checking, savings accounts and CDs, money market funds and government bonds.

To minimize bank fees on the account you use for everyday withdrawals, such as a checking account, it is generally required that you keep a savings type account in a minimum amount, with that bank.

For the excess, the question becomes balancing the need for cash and the interest earned. As a general matter, the longer the period until you can get to your principal, the greater the interest you earn.

To maximize your interest earned:

For additional information, see:

NOTE: Kiplinger's has a newsletter: Investing for Income: Strategies to Boost Your Cash Yield. For information, see: offsite link

Bank Accounts and Certificates Of Deposit

You can compare rates at a variety of websites. For example:

  • offsite link
    • Bankrate includes rates from banks across the country, including banks that only exist on the internet.
    • Bankrate tells you whether the bank is FDIC insured, as well as other information such as a bank's financial rating.
    • Click on Compare Rates. For savings and checking accounts, click on "Checking & Savings." For CDs, click on CDs)
  • offsite link
    • Banks bid against each other to offer teh best rate on savings accounts or certificates of deposit.
    • You have to register to follow through on an offer. Offers include expiration times.
  • offsite link
    • Find banks in your area.

Keep in mind that while the FDIC only insures up to $250,000 per depositor per insured bank, you can increase the insured amount by opening an account with another person or persons and by opening accounts in different banks.

To put money into more than one bank, the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) spreads your money into different banks. You deal with one bank, but your money is in multiple banks. To see if your bank is part of the service, see offsite link Tel.: 866.776.6426. NOTE: Each bank in the network sets its own rates. Check various banks for the highest rate before choosing an originating bank. The originating bank can work with the other banks to stagger the dates when CDs come due to help maximize your return.  You can choose maturities from four weeks to five years.  You get one statement and one form at fax time.

If you want to check to be sure that a bank has FDIC insurance, go to offsite link  or call 877.275.3342, press "0" for "information specialist."  To check to see that your accounts are under the insured limit, use the FDIC's interactive tool at offsite link. If you need assistance, call the 877.275.3342.

To learn more about FDIC, see:

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Investment Basics

Money Market Funds

If you want to check the rating of a money market fund, go to offsite link. Click on "Fund" then click "Money Market Funds."

FolioFn, an online securities firm, works with a number of banks so you can work with one bank, and spread money market accounts among a variety of banks. Funds area available on demand. Money earns a relatively low rate. To use FolioFn services, you must be a member and pay a monthly fee to use its extended FDIC coverage. offsite link

NOTE: While generally considered safe, there is no guarantee that the value of a money market fund will not decline. The value of the obligations in which the funds invests may decline. Read the prospectus for a fund in which you're interested to understand the risk involved.


Always weigh the yield advantage of municipal bonds against the total safety of U.S. Treasury Bonds. If you cannot tolerate any loss of capital, Treasuries are safer.

You can check ratings for municipal bonds at offsite link (click on "look up ratings"), Tel: 212.553.0377 or offsite link (click on "Contact Us". Ratings will be sent by e-mail.) Tel.: 212.438.2400. To learn more, check out