RJOh, I agree with you, and banks often have partners, but you can have a lot more than $100,000 in a bank. You need to have qualifying beneficiaries however. But if you have children, siblings, etc., you can leave them each $100,000. This also helps to avoid probate because it then becomes a revocable trust, although each state handles wills & trusts differently. I believe this information is available on the FDIC website.
Investing $50 million is too complicated to explain in a post. If anyone here can do it well, then he/she probably isn't running around buying lottery tickets to win a jackpot. That's why I always advise people to seek professional counseling from an attorney, but you need to carefully check out his/her credentials, which isn't always easy. I mean, how many of us know people with millions to ask for a reference?
There is a site I've used called BankingMyWay and you type in your zip code and how many miles you are willing to travel. It lists the banks in your area and the current specials on CDs, savings, checking and also the local credit unions. Credit unions often pay higher rates than banks and they are also insured. You can also open an account online anywhere, although I would never go out of the United States. You don't need to be rich to want the best rate. Once I opened up an account in Omaha and I live in Florida.
Sometimes (not always) you can negotiate a rate, but not by much. For example, if I had a lot of money and a bank advertised a rate of 5.15% on a 6 month CD and I walked into a local branch and said "I'll think about it" the bank manager might have the authority to offer 5.41%. But they can't just say "you're rich so we'll pay you 8% on your money." I've read posts on LP that indicate people with a lot of money get much higher rates at the bank and I disagree. They have to follow strict guidelines to be licensed and FDIC insured. However, they can be competitive with other lending institutions. Also, they certainly can't give an investor more than they are charging the people who borrow the same money, right? Otherwise they'd be operating at a loss.
Right now real estate is a very good investment. There are a lot of foreclosures and short sales. Personally, I would not want to be a landlord, but you can always hire someone to manage your properties. Some areas are still in a big slump, but the current prices here are lower than they were 2 or 3 years ago. Someone who is losing his home needs money, so when an investor approaches him with an offer, he often can get a good price as long as the bank approves it. Estate auctions are sometimes good best places to find homes, but you need to do your homework, make sure the title is clear and hire an good inspector. I want to mention that the thought of taking advantage of another's misfortune would bother me a lot, but I am only talking about this from a business standpoint. If I were very wealthy, maybe I could help the family stay in the home.
In the past I would have recommended U.S. savings bonds, but I think the rates are very low now. I have some I-bonds that are earning over 5.7% but I bought them several years ago. However, they are very safe investments and grow tax deferred for 30 years. You are limited each year on the amount of bonds you can purchase. I hate to say I even have a couple of bonds on this board. I'll start to get PMs because people think I'm rich, which is really stupid. (yes that's happened) You can buy a bond for $50 bucks! The site to get info on government bonds is TreasuryDirect.gov
Annuities are pretty safe investments. Right now you can get as much as 5.3% guaranteed for 10 years and there are "bump up" annuities too. When you invest in something that is tax deferred your money will grow faster than in a bank CD. You only pay tax when you withdraw the money. The money is not insured by FDIC, but if the trillion dollar companies like AIG go under, I doubt if the banks will be worth anything. Remember that during the Great Depression, the people who stayed solvent were people who had investments that were not in banks. Although we now have the FDIC, the way I look at it is this - FEMA was also a government agency that promised to help rescue people who couldn't keep their heads above water in a disaster. Still, it's a good idea to be diversified, so having money in several banks is a good idea too. By the way, most banks have financial counselors who offer a variety of products.
One thing to keep in mind is that almost every financial planner works on commision, although some charge a fee for services. Still, every investment pays a commission to the selling agent. So we all need to be self-empowered and make sure whatever we invest in is the right product to suit our individual needs, not the one that will make someone the highest paycheck. In addition to several bank CDs, real estate, bonds and other investments, I would recommend buying some fixed annuities with companies that have been in business for over 100 years and have A++ ratings, meaning very high & stable financial strength. I wouldn't rely on one source either. A.M. Best, Moody's, Duff & Phelps, Fitch, Weiss. Standard & Poor gives ratings too.
I always say that most financial counselors I've dated are Standard and Poor.