With inflation on the rise and "safe" investments offering paltry returns, it's important to make sure you're not actually losing money on your CDs, money-market accounts or bonds.As the stock market began to retreat toward the end of 2007, investors flocked to more conservative assets that generally offer lower returns with less risk. At the same time, the Federal Reserve started to cut its benchmark interest rate, which is now at about 2%. Other interest rates followed suit. The current inflation rate is about 4%. Yields on money-market mutual funds are near 2%, on average, according to the most recent Money Fund Report. Savings-account rates are generally lower, and yields on Treasury bonds with a term of 10 years or less are all under 4% as well. Certificate-of-deposit rates offer slightly better returns, and have come up from a recent downturn. The longer the term, the better the rate, and credit unions can sometimes offer better deals than banks. For instance, BankingMyWay.com indicates that a 7.5% yield for a one-year CD can be found at Meriwest Credit Union in San Jose, Calif. Meriwest requires a minimum deposit of $1,000. By comparison, the highest rate BankingMyWay could find offered by a national entity in the state was 4.15% from Countrywide Financial ( CFC), which requires a minimum of $10,000. Keep in mind that locking in cash for an extended period could sting if rates improve. Many expect the Fed to halt its rate-cutting campaign to stem inflation, and if that happens, you might have to watch your CD yield stagnate as others rise.