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6 Safe Places to Invest Your Money

With the stock market in such a volatile state these days, it’s tempting to dig a hole in your backyard and bury your savings. This way you’d at least know where your money is at all times and how it’s performing for you.

Luckily, there are still some secure places you can invest your money and you won’t have to be afraid of your financial future.

Here’s a list of some places you should consider investing your money with very minimal risk:

1. Open money market / high interest savings accounts.
Money market accounts are great ways to invest money for the short-term. If you need a quick turnaround these are stable ways to secure a return on your investment. The current average yield ranges from 0.50% to high as 4.00%. The bank will reinvest your money into short-term securities with that solid interest rate as further incentive. These accounts are liquid and usually FDIC insured. The only drawback is that some money market accounts may require a minimum balance.

2. Treasuries are safe.
T-bills are issued by the U.S. government and are considered very low-risk investments. They are fully backed by the government. You can choose the maturity date when you’re investment will be fully realized. Short-term T-bills are the safest investments with maturity dates of 13 or 26 weeks.

3.Certificates of Deposit.
CDs are available through your bank or broker and are also very safe investments. They have set maturity dates and you’re locked into your interest rate at the time of your investment. If you withdraw your funds early then you incur a penalty that can be costly.

4. 401k Plans.
If your employer offers a 401k plan then you’d be wise to invest in it. This is your money that you put in on a pre-tax basis. Within your plan you can choose what funds you want to invest in. Whether you’re willing to assume risk or need stable funds you’ll find them in your overall plan.

5. Mutual funds.
There are many mutual funds that are tailored for those who have little appetite for risk. The mutual fund is monitored by a fund manager that invests your money in a number of stocks or other mutual funds. One drawback is that you need to pay administrative fees for the management of your fund.

6. Savings bonds.
These bonds will offer a low return but also are virtually risk-free, which is a nice thought in this financial climate.

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Comments (23)
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23 Existing Comments
  1. Greg said:
    on September 11th at 10:23 pm

    I went into a local Wachovia branch yesterday — initially because they’re a few blocks away (Seal Beach Bl/Orange Co., CA branch) — to open a 3.75% money market acct. — It’s great for me as it’s only minimum balance of 10k, and I can move money 6 times per statement period, including writing 3 checks, along with other ‘bennies’. Rate is good for 3 mo., then goes to the “going rate”. The biggest, best thing about this Wachovia is that I am very, very happy about I’m treated! Andrew Castillo, Wachovia financial specialist, explained every part of my new account, filed my beneficiary info in a flash, and gave me every copy I would usually have to ask for. After we finished the money market I asked him about moving some matured cash from another source, where I was concerned about taxes. Boom! He explained some ins and outs, THEN recommended that I “shop around” and then come back to Wachovia if I wanted to talk to their investment guy. That’s good sell, and good business. I found some better money market rates, but the restrictions made Wachovia a better deal for me.

    As far as how banks have recently treated me as a customer, I am very happy with (in addition to Wachovia) Pacific Premier Bank (Stacy 562/430-0424), Home Savings of America (Jenn 562/431-4663 — both of these are on Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach), in addition to IndyMac Federal Bank on PCH in Long Beach (562/668-5050). I opened Cd’s with all of them. I get no goodies for telling you this; I JUST LIKE TO SHARE THE GOOD INFO.

    At the other end of the spectrum (I’ve had accounts with them for many years), Wamu has recently been the absolute worst. They give bad info, and they don’t seem to care about customer satisfaction. If you opt for them because of their deal, just make sure you do it with your eyes wide open.

  2. Bill said:
    on September 13th at 01:29 pm

    The six ideas are good just watch your FDIC top limits….I’m a former IndyMac customer who didn’t and have 28K not insured….by the way anyone heard a status on the dividends???…

  3. Craig said:
    on September 17th at 04:02 am

    Some Money Markets are not safe because they invest in failed/failing banks. The Reserve Primary Fund just announced tonight that thier share value dropped below $1.00 a share (loss of principle) because they invested in Lehman Bros certificates. They may stop redeption requests for up to a week. Here is a link to the press release:
    http://www.ther.com/pdfs/Press%20Release%202008_0916.pdf?scp=2&sq=eric dash&st=cse

  4. Tom said:
    on September 18th at 09:39 pm

    The list doesn’t mention Municipal Bonds. AAA, insured municipal bonds are 2nd in safety only to Federal Treasuries and are currently paying 4%-6% state and federal tax free, which is an 8%-10% taxable equivalent. Contact Tom Klocker @ 800-765-2230 x130 for more information.

  5. Love said:
    on September 19th at 02:20 am

    With the current financial situation right now, all of a sudden I’m thinking about taking $500 of my savings from Washington Mutual that is just sitting there and invest it in some sort of CD or something. Is it wise to move money right now or should I wait and see what happens especially with my current bank? Actually, I never thought of doing anything with the little bit of savings I own until now (in this financial crisis) – how ironic.

  6. ken said:
    on September 22nd at 05:49 pm

    Check out GMAC CD yields- 4 stars and best I’ve seen in the country.

  7. Eric said:
    on September 22nd at 10:16 pm

    Well, thanks to Bush/Cheney and their pals, I just lost big time on my mutual funds. I had everything in ultra conservative tax free bonds and such. Started with $800 18 years ago built up to $1200 as of 2 months ago and now as of 09/19/08 the bottom dropped out of those funds leaving me with pennies thanks to the coming “bail out”. I have tried CDs in the past and lost on that as well. The interest rates on those are less than .00000001%
    I’m done with all that stuff. In my mind, the safest place to invest your money is in a good savings bank that never did and never will do risky loans even though the yield there is only .001% or the perverbial mattress which is about the same yield. I now have what little is left in both. Time to leave the country.

  8. frank furbrish said:
    on September 25th at 01:52 pm

    You only saved $400 over 18 years? Wow, maybe you should just go out and but one 1 oz. gold coin, easier to fit in the mattress, even your pocket. Soory you only accumulated $1,200.00 in almost 20 years!

  9. Craig said:
    on September 26th at 08:29 pm

    Eric,

    Bush/Cheney are not the cause of this issue. This is what happens when you have a government backed lending institution with no oversight throw money at people in the name of affordable housing (e.g. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac). It becomes a social welfare initiative instead of a financial institution. How are banks going to compete with an entity like that? They have to offer similar products at similar risks, or go out of business. They have to compete or close their doors.

    The blame for this lies with the people who managed these institutions at the time they started taking these risks, and with the congress who failed to demand more oversight. The executive branch of government is not the place to start looking.

    If you had truly invested in ultra conservative bonds, your money would have gone up, not down. Ultra conservative bonds with higher yield when you got them, should be worth significantly more now. If you lost money in a CD, go to the Federal Reserve with a complaint because it is insured.

    Don’t let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out. I hear France is lovely this time of year.

  10. Irene Smith said:
    on September 27th at 04:34 pm

    I see that one of the 6 recommended “safe” places is a 401K, and I have my $$ in my state 401K and in a state deferred comp account (I am a retired state employee)- with both being in what is called “stable fund” investments. Are they considered “safe” because they are insured, or just because they are “stable? I thought stable meant like a money market… but I am begining to wonder based on Craig’s comment above concerning Lehman Bros.

  11. David said:
    on September 29th at 05:08 am

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantees up to $100,000 for your bank account, the Securities Investor Protection Corp. provides up to $500,000 in cases of missing assets from a brokerage account and even traditional pensions are backed by the government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., but who’s watching your 401(k) funds? That’s the burning question!

    They are making assumptions here. 1. Money markets (Assumably safe) are Mutual Funds. They may not take as big a hit as truer Mutual Stock Funds, but I wouldn’t count on them being listed as the #1 safe investment in this recession/Depression we are entering. I would check 401k’s and all investments to find out out just how safe they are. If you have $100,000 or less in a bank with FDIC protection earning anywhere between 2 – 4.5%, you are a wise investor. This will seem ironic, but the gov’t is insuring you here. The worst thing to do, IMO, is to leave your investments alone and trust your broker. Find out for yourself and do not trust three-pieced commissioned sales people or even myself. Do your homework – don’t get burned. Been there, done that.

  12. Craig said:
    on September 29th at 04:53 pm

    Hi Irene,

    Just to ease your worries, last week the Fed stepped in to offer an FDIC like insurance to money market funds. Many of the major fund companies are picking up this insurance to restore investor confidence.

    This insurance will in all likelihood not be retroactive to those funds which already fell below a dollar. I beleive the Treasury Department is still working out the details. The funds that had the most trouble were those that were institutional in their holdings and stated such in their fund name. The Reserve Primary fund may have been a unusual situation.

    If you went to the fund’s website, they may even be commenting about their prospect of entering into this new mutual fund money market insuarance offering, in order to reduce investor fear.

  13. Craig said:
    on September 29th at 05:08 pm

    Here is the US Treasury press release for the insurance offering:

    http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/hp1147.htm

  14. Dave said:
    on October 4th at 02:09 pm

    WAMU raised their savings account interest to 4%. JP Morgan probably won’t keep it that high forever, but since there’s no penalty for transferring in & out, might be a good place to put it until they drop their rates

  15. misanthropope said:
    on October 8th at 06:41 pm

    _mutual funds_?? surely not. there are funds which are *marketed* to people fearful of risk, but mutual funds are worse than index funds in all kinds of weather. Believe me, index fund holders aren’t feeling any too safe right now.

  16. Ray The Money Man said:
    on November 12th at 07:21 pm

    It angers me that because of lazy, crappy money managers the average citizen is kept out of the market. Right now is one of the most profitable times in our investing careers. But we manage our fund like a hedge fund. Just shorting oil alone and going long crude if even for a couple of hours to catch the dead cat bounce has made us a lot of money. Why can’t these money managers let their clients take advantage of that? Because they pay them penny’s [like their local bank does] for their cash and then use the cash for their own trading. That is criminal.

  17. Jeff said:
    on January 29th at 12:37 am

    Go to New York Life Guaranteed tax defered annuities…..they have a guaranteed 5perc. lock with a high 3 floor…. No 1099’s at the end of the year….always guaranteed the principle that you put in…call me 619-322-5436 about any questions..My name is.Jeff
    La Pierre in San Diego…will be happy to awnser any questions.

  18. Jeff said:
    on January 29th at 12:42 am

    i should say a guarateed 5 perc for 3 years and 3 perc floor(never to go below) after the 3rd year. If anyone has a better guaranteed solutions …let me know!

  19. luciyahelan said:
    on June 21st at 01:47 am

    The blame for this lies with the people who managed these institutions at the time they started taking these risks, and with the congress who failed to demand more oversight. The executive branch of government is not the place to start looking. If you had truly invested in ultra conservative bonds, your money would have gone up, not down. Ultra conservative bonds with higher yield when you got them, should be worth significantly more now. If you lost money in a CD, go to the Federal Reserve with a complaint because it is insured.
    ====================================
    Investment Support

  20. syra said:
    on October 12th at 11:28 pm

    The most wise way to invest our money in Gold,Silver,Real estate,Franchising and Establishise our own web site. Gold and Real estate is the best hedge againt inflation. Gold always preserve wealth during inflation time. We generally think that real estate always beats inflation, but it can also be away to gain great residual income. In real estate, we can defeat inflation and can get our money in return in the form of rent in each month. We can also invest our money in buying silver because silver has more than 2,000 uses in the world today in which most are very vital to our society.t is also a great hedge to inflation and is more rare on the earth today than gold is. Franchising is not easy today but if we have deep pocket and a lot of patience then we can do it. Life insurance is one of the most overlooked means of investment, but is probably one of the best. In this way we can invest our money in most effective way.

  21. Patrick Ubi said:
    on January 8th at 04:59 pm

    where do i get to invest my money?

  22. Thomas Charlie said:
    on January 16th at 12:22 am

    I think most people don’t really know how they’ll react when their money is on the line… we all have some kind of bias when assessing our own profile and this could have negative consequences on our financial decisions.

    A real, in depth self assessment should be required when starting to invest, so that we all really know what to do with our money. I think it would also be useful to show real life investment experiences one bad in order to illustrate what might happen.

    And of course, never forget about diversifying our portfolio, in order to have limited exposure in one specific investment.

  23. Sara Fargoons said:
    on December 4th at 10:47 am

    Hi Johns, Dropping that extra money into an interest-bearing savings account is one of the safest ways to invest your money. Savings account terms vary from bank to bank, so you should do a little research to see who offers the highest interest rates for the amount of money you’re planning to put away. Some will offer higher returns with higher minimum balances, although the interest rates for savings accounts are generally lower than other types of investments. With a savings account you can access the money at any time, and it is federally insured.

    Regards
    Sara Fargoons