I have my money in CD's and triple A rated bonds that are issued by the state of Kentucky. It pay's 5% tax free. The money is going to update the Western Kentucky Parkway. It's a 5 year bond.
I could not invest in the market right now. I would spend 18 hours a day watching CNBC.
5% is not much but it beats losing money right now.
I'd admit I'm too conservative, but I have to sleep.
I'd doubt your brother will make a lot of commission on bonds, and it does tie up your money for 5 years. However, if you need access to your money at the drop of a hat, long term investment is not for you and CD's and money markets are your best bet.
Most small town banks are secure, because they were not involved in the sub-prime mess. Spread your money among several banks, and don't be afraid to tell one bank that the other is paying you more on a CD or money market. They will match it.
Another perk in spreading out your money among several banks is your invited to play in several golf scrambles.