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Finding Money Market Accounts and the Best CD Rates

Jul 22, 2008
When it comes to money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CD) type investments, there is not a whole lot of glamour. This may be for good reason, as they are certainly not the sexiest investments available today. However, they do play a very valuable role. Money market accounts and CD's are for the most conservative of investors. When it comes to CD's and money market accounts, preservation of capital is paramount. We will take a closer look at the roles these unsexy investments have.

Actually, money market accounts and CD accounts often play rather different roles. Most commonly, money market accounts, or money market funds fill the need for temporary investment. This allows active investors, the ability to utilize the money market accounts as short-term investment tools. Investors and traders alike, that buy and sell securities, often need a location for assets, when they are not utilized. This is very important, as traders are able to keep their money working for them, albeit at rather low interest rates. The CD type investment is more commonly connected with the conservative investor seeking safety. Certificates of deposit are insured by the FDIC, up to a limit of $100,000 per account. The downside to CD investing is that CDs often require that you lock up your money for a period of time, most commonly one to two years. This makes them less likely than their money market counterparts. As a trade-off, CDs, usually pay a higher yield, but that's not always the case.

The money market fund, as the name implies has the advantages of a mutual fund, in that it typically invests in several different banks, such as CDs, debt or bond obligations, or U.S. Treasury securities. This can result in a little bit higher return, when compared to its typical CD, but does not offer the security that comes from FDIC protection. It's important to note that money market accounts are often categorized as conservative investments, but they don't share any government protection. Also, the big complaint associated with the CD investments is that much of the low return is lost to taxation and inflation. There are money market funds that offer tax-free returns. These tax-free advantages to money market funds are invested in municipal type bonds, which offer federal and tax-free advantages. They do not, however, typically pay is high as their taxable counterparts.

Traditionally, if you wanted to start a CD, you would go down to your local bank branch and set up a certificate of deposit. Since your local branch didn't have much competition, you wouldn't always get the best CD rates. The Internet has changed all of that. By doing a simple search online, you can find the best CD rates, as well as attractive money market account rates. Sites like bankrate.com compare hundreds of the best CD rates throughout the nation, allowing you to find a much more attractive rate than you would have, even 10 years ago. In fact, there are many websites, just like Bank Rate that offer similar services, with the goal of finding you the best CD rates. It pays to check out a few of these services before finding a CD to go with, as it is not at all uncommon to find better rates elsewhere. The important thing is to utilize the tools that are now available to us. In addition to finding the best CD rate, FDIC protection is also important. Also, it's always a good idea to go with a respected institution, as they are less likely to play games when it comes to withdrawing your funds.
About the Author
If you're looking for the best CD rates you can visit the site for a list of resources. For more on how money market accounts work you can get more details on that as well.
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