CD’s or Money Market?

money-market.jpgScenario: So you’ve got a nice stash of cash just laying around and you want them to be put to work. You also figured that you didn’t want to be too aggressive buy investing directly in stocks and at the same time you don’t want to invest in long term either so that rules out mutual/index funds.

So then you ask, “should I put my money in a CD or a Money Market”?

Good question. In order to make the right decision, you have to define your goals and needs. Getting it wrong the first time is all it takes for it to cost you the big bucks so you want to make sure that you do your homework first.

For those who do not know, Certificate of Deposit or simply CD, are debt instruments issued by banks and other financial institutions to investors. In exchange for lending the institution money for a predetermined length of time, the investor is paid a set rate of interest.

While on the other hand, Money Market offers many of the same benefits as CD’s but with the added features of a checking account. As far as the interest rates go, they are fairly close. Last I checked, CD’s were running at 4.90% and Money Market at 4.80%.

Here are a short Pros and Cons of Money Market and CD’s.

Money Market:

Pros: Depositing money in a money market is as easy as depositing cash into a savings or checking account. Cash is immediately available for alternative investments so you’re a lot more flexible with Money Market.

Cons: Money Market’s interest rate is not fixed. The rate of interest is directly proportional to the investor’s level of deposited assets, not to maturity as is the case with certificates of deposit. Hence, money markets are disproportionately beneficial to wealthier investors.

Certificate of Deposit (CD):

Pros: The investor can calculate his expected earnings at the outset of the investment since the interest rate is fixed. Certificates of deposited are FDIC insured for up to $100,000 and offer an easy solution for the elderly who desire only to maintain their capital for the remainder of their life.

Cons: Not as flexible as Money Market and will be penalized for withdrawing before it reaches maturity. If the investor opts for a longer maturity and, thus, higher rate of interest, he will lose access to his funds and forgo alternative uses of his capital.

Final Analysis: So if you are absolutely certain that you will not be needing that $10,000 for the next year or so, then I say go for the CD, but if you are not sure, then Money Market is the way to go.

[photo credit]

  1. Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money - trackback on June 4, 2007 at 4:18 am

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