Friday, October 28, 2011

Choosing the Right Money Market Account

With interest rates at historic lows, individuals and funds which are primarily risk-averse or on fixed incomes need to carefully choose their preferred investment vehicles, because inflation is going to eat into most of what's earned in either dividend-producing or fixed-rate investments.

Nonetheless, there are options which can be investigated in search of the best interest rates on money market accounts, where the goal is not growth nor income, but, rather, preservation of capital against the ravages of inflation, which is running at an annual rate of three to six percent, depending upon the source and one's own individual lifestyle choices.

Among the more flexible choices for investors these days are money market accounts, which, unlike certificates of deposit or US Treasury bonds, doesn't tie up an investor's capital for months or years at a time. Modern money market accounts can be found within offerings from brokerage accounts, through banks, credit unions or other lending or financial institutions, and the benefits of holding one's money in one are myriad, from limited tax liability to some which offer checking accounts upon which one can draw out funds or even debit cards tied to the account, which makes certain money market accounts not only wise investments, but useful choices in today's fast-paced environment.

Due to regulations and requirements under Regulation Q, which defines and governs money market accounts, most institutions limit the amount of money one can withdraw in a given time frame (usually monthly) or the number of transactions one can make within a money market account without incurring fees or penalties. Thus it makes good sense to investigate some of the literally thousands of web sites which offer comparisons or informational links concerning personal investing in money market accounts. Since money market accounts are regulated under the auspices of the US Treasury, understanding the rules and tax implications is a good first step to learning which funds or accounts fit best with your individual situation.

Once a decision is made to open such an account, a search for the best interest rates on money market accounts should be the next undertaking, though it pays to read the fine print, because, like all investment or financial accounts, there are multiple choices that may or may not be beneficial to your particular goals.

At worst, money market accounts are useful tools for keeping the money you do have, especially if you're concerned about volatility or risk in other markets, such as stocks, bonds, or derivatives, the most risky of all investments. Most money markets are government guaranteed against default, so any funds committed to them are as safe, if not safer, than money in a bank.

Flexibility is key, so choose a money market account that meets your established needs, offers a fair interest rate without onerous restrictions, and you'll sleep well at night, knowing your money is in a sound and secure environment.

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