Are money market funds risky? Understanding these funds that are central to the savings and retirement plans of millions of people is essential right now. Look at these sites for some good information.
Some blogs, including the Consumerist, sounded alarms earlier this month at news that a money market fund, Reserve Primary Fund, had "broken the buck" - or seen its share value fall below $1. That event prompted a run on money funds - and then a guarantee from the U.S. Treasury Department.
This Web site, which is mostly about exchange-traded funds, explains the recent questions about the safety of investments in money market funds, which for decades have been considered rock safe. The reassurances are comforting, but there is also a warning that "investors need to become their own chief investment officers as they look for safe havens."
Money market accounts.
Don't confuse a money market fund and a money market account. The latter is an account you can open at a bank and is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Money market funds don't carry such insurance, but have been extended assurances of repayment lately by fund managers and the federal government.
Also from the Personal Finance Magazine site is this primer called "Money Market Funds 101."
This personal-finance Web site carries content from the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch, and the article here is a five-point plan for choosing among the thousands of mutual funds, including money market funds. Going on performance - how well a fund has done in the past - is a blueprint for "buying high and selling low," as described here.