Most Americans are not in trouble because of stock market losses in the past month.
Most people’s income is not primarily effected by the stock market.
If you are trying to get a loan, however, you’re suffering.
People about to retire are hurting.
How can I tell if my bank or credit union deposits are federally insured?
If your institution is chartered in the U.S. either by the federal or state government, chances are overwhelming that it’s covered by the FDIC. But many online banks are chartered overseas and are not covered by the FDIC. If you don’t know whether your money is federally insured, use the databases on the FDIC or National Credit Union Administration Web sites to find out.
How about my money market accounts? Are those safe?
That depends. Money market deposit bank accounts are covered by the FDIC. Money market mutual funds are not. But the Treasury Department announced plans last month to insure money fund shares held as of Sept. 19. The program, in which money market funds must choose to participate, is in effect until Dec. 18. After that, the government can decide whether it wants to extend the program. Contact your money market fund and ask whether it’s participating.
Are my home and car loans affected?
Not unless you have heard something from your lender. If you took out a loan with an institution that has been bought or absorbed by some other institution, your obligation to pay back that loan has not changed.
What’s the first thing I should do to get my finances in order?
You need to know whether you are in trouble. Do you have loans with interest rates that are about to balloon? Is your credit card debt so large that you can’t pay the minimum? Are you spending more than you make?