Q: My mother, 70, is receiving $50,000 from the sale of her home. Can she protect this money to retire on, since its all she has?
A: There should be no tax consequence from selling her home, so all of the money can be put to work for your mom's retirement. Assuming she is not currently receiving Medicaid benefits, she can do with the funds as she pleases.
If your mom is thinking about getting professional financial advice on how to invest the money, beware. There are thousands of "investment professionals" who would love to get a hold of her money.
Today, one type of investment is paying finance consultants high commission, and therefore, they're trying to get seniors to buy it, because it means more money in their pocket. It is called an "Equity-Indexed Annuity."
Do not let her purchase one of these annuities! I won't bore you with the complicated details of the annuity, but suffice it to say that state after state has received thousands of complaints from consumers about these products.
My suggestion is that you "ladder" CD's at the bank. The concept is this: Take the $50,000 and divide it into 5, $10,000 pieces. Take $10,000 and buy a 1-year or 2-year CD. Take the next $10,000 and purchase a 3 year CD. Take the next $10,000 and purchase a 4-year CD, etc.
This strategy will keep your mom's money as safe as possible, while providing a higher yield than just purchasing a short-term CD with all of the funds. Your mom will have "fresh" money each year from an expiring CD to purchase a new CD at the then-current rate. (Rates will most likely be going higher over the next few years - we can't stay at zero forever, can we?). In addition, your mom will have liquidity, meaning that in the event she needs money some will always be available with very little penalty.