Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Immigrant Parents Still Mistrust Banks

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My parents immigrated from Serbia a few years before I was born. They had a rough time over there, and not the easiest when they arrived here. They continue to be very suspicious of both the government and big business. They have a small checking account so they can pay their bills, but the bulk of their money is kept “hidden” in their apartment, which isn’t in the best neighborhood in our city.

Both of my brothers and I have talked to them about how dangerous this could be, but we don’t make any headway. Any suggestions to help convince them this is not the best way to go? --- FIRST-GENERATION WORRIER

DEAR FIRST-GENERATION WORRIER: This is a story as old as immigration itself. My mother, who was also first generation, told similar tales of relatives stashing cash, rather than depositing it safely in a bank.

It might help if you and your brothers could convince your parents to sit down with someone at the bank where they have their checking account. A one-on-one explanation of the benefits and safety of FDIC-insured savings accounts could be a step towards helping them understand that not only would their money be safer, but could actually accrue interest.

Besides big banks, there are also plenty of established, well-run credit unions, which, for your skeptical parents, might feel a little less overwhelming than a national or multinational institution.

Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at AskSomeoneElsesMom@gmail.com.