Money market funds can be categorized into three groups: Prime, Government and Tax-free. Prime money market funds are typically invested in short-term corporate and bank debt securities. Government money market funds have at least 99.5% invested in government backed securities, making them extremely safe investments. Finally, tax-free money market funds are invested primarily in debt obligations issued by municipalities or other entities whose interest is federally tax-exempt.
While some mutual funds are index funds, which aim to track the performance of a specific market index, most are actively managed, meaning fund managers follow an investment strategy to buy and sell a variety of securities in an attempt to beat the market. There are funds that focus on nearly every part of the market, and buyers can invest in a variety of assets including equities, bonds, real estate and commodities.
An active investor who has time and knowledge to hunt around for the best possible short-term debt instruments offering the best possible interest rates at their preferred levels of risk may prefer investing on their own in the various available instruments. On the other hand, a less-savvy investor may prefer taking the money market fund route by delegating the money management task to the fund operators.
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Bankrate regularly surveys approximately 4,800 banks and credit unions in all 50 states to provide you with one of the most comprehensive comparisons of rates. All of the money market accounts below, which are savings accounts that may let you write a limited amount of checks per month, are insured by the FDIC at banks or the NCUA at credit unions. When selecting the best money market account for you, look for the highest yield while also considering introductory rates, minimum balances and accessibility.
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Over time, money market fund "depositors" felt more and more secure, and not really at risk. Likewise, on the other end, corporations saw the attractive interest rates and incredibly easy ability to constantly roll over short term commercial paper. Using rollovers they then funded longer and longer term obligations via the money markets. This expands credit. It’s also over time clearly long-term borrowing on one end, funded by an on-demand depositor on the other, with some substantial obfuscation as to what is ultimately going on in between.