Besides a savings account, where is the safest place to keep my money?

Retirement Savings, Investing
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January 2017
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"Safe" is often a misused term. Most consider US Government Treasuries "safe”, because if held to maturity, they have a return of principal. What is often missed is that inflation can erode the purchasing power of that income stream and/or principal. Also, if you buy open-ended bond mutual funds, you can't hold them to maturity and you cannot ensure the return of principal.

Depending on your age and intention, if you have a low risk tolerance, and are looking for low-cost, transparent options, then I-Bonds and Treasury-Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPs) are great options. If you own them individually, they can be held to maturity and the government backs the return of principal. And their values/payments are adjusted for inflation.

Both can be purchased very cheaply at: https://www.treasurydirect.gov

I hope this gives you a place to start. Here are some bullet points to keep in mind:

  • Who is backing your funds?
  • Is inflation a concern?
  • What are the fees?
  • Do you understand the product?
  • How liquid is the asset? (Can you sell easily, without fee or surrender charge)

Good Luck!

Mark Struthers CFA, CFP®

June 2016
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