Monday, April 6, 2009

Five things to know about cash

Posted by Yi-Xin Jin (Lily)

Finding a safe place for your money sounds easy enough. But you can do better by picking the right cash accounts for your goals.

(Money Magazine) -- Suddenly, cash is king again. With more and more Americans worried about their job security, the personal savings rate has climbed to 3.6%, up from next to nothing two years ago. Investors, meanwhile, have parked billions of dollars on the sidelines while they wait for better days. But with interest rates on savings near record lows, it pays to be savvy about where you stockpile your rainy-day funds. Here's what you should keep in mind.

1. Don't keep all your cash in the same place. There are four ways to use cash, and an ideal account for each. Grocery money goes in checking. Your emergency fund - cash you'll need if you lose a job - must be in a bank account that's 100% safe but needn't be so convenient; if you get a good yield, don't worry if it takes a day or two to transfer the money. Money for a specific purpose, like a wedding, can get a higher yield if locked in a certificate of deposit set to mature when you need it. Your investment portfolio's cash might belong in a money-market fund, but not always (see No. 3).

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