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Sheltering Yourself from Bank Failures

May 02, 2023

Bank failures are like 8.0 earthquakes. They do not happen particularly often, but when they do, it can be disastrous to those too close to the situation. The recent collapse of Silicon Valley bank has raised concerns among consumers and investors alike. Here are some preventive tips to keep your money safe in the unlikely event you should find your bank on shaky grounds.

  1. Choose a reputable bank: When selecting a bank, do your research and opt for a well-established, reputable institution. Look for banks that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the United States, or equivalent deposit insurance schemes in other countries. The FDIC provides deposit insurance coverage up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, which can provide a safety net in case of a bank failure.
  2. Diversify your accounts: Instead of keeping all your money in one bank, consider spreading your funds across multiple banks. This can help mitigate the risk of losing all your savings if one bank fails. By diversifying your accounts, you ensure that your deposits are within the FDIC insurance limit for each bank, providing you with maximum coverage.
  3. Monitor your bank's health: Stay vigilant and keep track of your bank's financial health. Regularly review their financial statements, ratings from credit rating agencies, and news about any regulatory actions or issues they may be facing. If you notice any red flags, consider moving your funds to a more stable institution.
  4. Be cautious with risky investments: Be wary of investing your money in risky products or services offered by your bank, such as high-yield savings accounts or complex investment products. While they may offer attractive returns, they also carry higher risks. It's important to carefully assess the risks and consider consulting with a financial advisor before investing your money.
  5. Stay informed about your bank's policies: Familiarize yourself with your bank's policies, especially regarding withdrawal limits and transaction fees. In the event of a bank failure, there may be restrictions on accessing your funds or transferring money. Knowing your bank's policies can help you plan and make informed decisions in case of a financial emergency.
  6. Keep your contact information updated: Ensure that your bank has your current contact information, including your mailing address, email address, and phone number. This will allow your bank to reach you in case of any changes or updates regarding your accounts, including in the event of a bank failure.
  7. Have an emergency fund: It's always wise to have an emergency fund that can cover your living expenses for a few months in case of a financial crisis, including a bank failure. Having a cushion of savings can provide you with a financial safety net and help you navigate through unexpected situations.

While bank failures are rare, it's important to take precautions to protect your finances. By choosing a reputable bank, diversifying your accounts, monitoring your bank's health, being cautious with risky investments, staying informed about your bank's policies, keeping your contact information updated, and having an emergency fund, you can better safeguard yourself in case of a bank failure. Remember, being proactive and informed about your financial situation is key to protecting your hard-earned money.