The Pros & Cons of Investing in the Money Market

Photo credit: Jericho

The money market is a subsection of the fixed income market. The difference is that the money market specializes in very short-term debt securities (less than a year). If you’ve ever parked your money in a fixed deposit (certificates of deposits) at a bank, you’ve participated in the money market. The money market is also used by governments, institutions, and corporations to raise money in the short term.

Examples of money market instruments include:

  • Treasury bills – short-term debt securities issued by national governments
  • Certificates of deposits – a time deposit usually with a fixed interest rate and time period offered by banks and credit unions
  • Commercial paper – IOUs issued by corporations at a discount to face value
  • Eurodollars – a time deposit denominated in US dollars at banks outside the United States. It has no connection with the euro currency
  • Money market fund – a mutual fund that invests in money market instruments
The Pros
  • Very safe returns. Money market securities are considered extraordinarily safe. If you have no idea where to invest in other asset classes, you can consider parking your funds in money market securities while waiting for the right investment opportunity to come along.
  • Extremely liquid. Money market instruments are extremely liquid and can be converted into cash immediately.
The Cons
  • Very low returns. Because the money market is considered very low risk, it usually only gives a low single-digit return for investors.
  • Might lose out to inflation. If your money market instrument is giving you a 3% return and inflation is coming along at 4%, then you end up losing purchasing power each year.
Read the Full Series:

The Pros & Cons of Investing in Stocks
The Pros & Cons of Investing in Bonds
The Pros & Cons of Investing in the Money Market
The Pros & Cons of Investing in Real Estate
The Pros & Cons of Investing in Commodities

Adam Wong is the editor-in-chief of The Fifth Person and author of the national bestseller Lucky Bastard! which made the Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller's List in 2009 and Value Investing Made Easy which made the Kinokuniya Business Bestseller's List in 2013. In 2010, he appeared on U.S. national television on the morning show The Balancing Act. An avid investor himself, Adam shares his personal thoughts and opinions as he journals his investing journey online.

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