Guaranteed to lose spending power

With an unpredictable stock market, savers are looking for safe havens for their money. The issue of maintaining an account balance is particularly important to retirees, but as the Fed has cut the interest rate, yields on checking accounts, savings accounts, money markets, and certificates of deposit have suffered.

Banks are now using "guaranteed yields" to lure in customers, but even those aren't all that good with a few unusual exceptions. These "teaser rates" are usually only for a limited time, typically a year or less. Who knew that banks would offer a savings account rate of 3.5% and consider it a really good deal? A tiny number of banks are offering rates in the neighborhood of 4% or 5%, but those are typically very short term.

The special deals come with conditions. Often they require a minimum amount to be on deposit with the bank, or there is a maximum that a customer is able to deposit in one of the ultra-high interest accounts. If you use a product like a CD, your money is somewhat tied up for a while.