Financial institutions such as commercial banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions offer the safest alternatives for savings. Government insurance programs such as FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or NCUA (National Credit Union Association) guarantee the safety of deposits up to certain amounts (currently $250,000 per depositor). Savings accounts are very liquid and require a low or no minimum balance. However, the rate of return for passbook accounts is frequently below the rate of inflation, which results in a loss of purchasing power.
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