Uehlinger, Tablack CPAs

The Money Market: The Basics You Need to Know

Investors should consider the advantages and potential risks before investing in money market mutual funds.

If you're looking for a place to park money temporarily or if you're simply trying to maintain a cash cushion, a money market mutual fund may be an investment to consider.1

Money market mutual funds typically invest in high-quality, short-term securities, such as U.S. Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, federal agency notes, and commercial paper. Tax-exempt money market funds invest in municipal securities issued by state and local governments. They generally pay dividends that are exempt from federal and/or state income taxes.

The ease with which you can buy and sell shares may make money market mutual funds an appropriate place for assets you'll need in the short term. Funds frequently offer limited checkwriting privileges, making withdrawals simple.

Breaking the buck. Money market mutual funds are structured to maintain a stable net asset value (NAV) of $1 per share. A fund "breaks the buck" when its NAV falls below this amount. Breaking the buck is rare. But since money market mutual funds are not FDIC insured, investors will lose some of their original investment when this happens.

Understand the risks. Low risk doesn't mean no risk. Potential risks for investors include interest-rate shifts, unanticipated redemptions, major credit downgrades for firms represented in the fund, and loss of purchasing power should returns fail to keep pace with inflation. Before you invest, review the fund's holdings. Keep in mind that the fund offering the highest return generally presents the most risk.

A different investment. A money market account (MMA) is not the same as a money market mutual fund. MMAs are deposit accounts that pay interest at a rate that's typically higher than the rate earned in a savings account. Money market accounts generally are FDIC insured, may require a minimum balance, and often limit transactions.

Ask your financial professional if money market mutual funds are a good option for your portfolio.

1An investment in the fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund. You should consider the fund's investment objectives, charges, expenses, and risks carefully before you invest. The fund's prospectus, which can be obtained from your financial representative, contains this and other information about the fund. Read the prospectus carefully before you invest or send money. Shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.