Understanding Money Market Account Risks

Terms and Definitions for Physician Investors

By Staff Writers56371606

The recent banking industry debacle has prompted several of our cost-conscience doctor-clients to rethink money market account risks and related products. We trust this brief review is helpful to all concerned.

Money Market Deposit Accounts

First, the term “money market account” must be defined.

Link: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com


There are two types of money market accounts [MMAs] that most people refer to when using this term. The first is a money market deposit account (MMDA). This is an account at a bank designed to compete with money market mutual funds (MMMF). MMDAs usually pay less interest than money market mutual funds and in return offer federal insurance on balances, now up to $250,000 with convenience through check writing and access through ATMs [reverts back to $100,000 after December 31, 2009]. MMDAs under this amount do not have any risk of failure because they are insured by the US government.

Money Market Mutual Funds

Money market mutual funds are mutual funds that invest in short-term instruments with maturities of less than one year, and usually offer check writing on the account. They are not federally insured, but are considered safe in stable economic times. Net Asset Value [NAV] is one dollar; USD. Nevertheless, a few have “broken-the-buck” with NAV at some increment below $1.00 USD.


Evaluation Methods

The first way to evaluate the MMMF risk is to look at the average length of maturities in the portfolio. The shorter the maturity – the safer the MMMF. The second way is to look at the type of security owned by the fund. Government securities are generally less risky than corporate securities. Interested investors can also contact a rating service that evaluates the securities in a MMMF’s portfolio.

And now – a few related words about “so-called” high-yielding CDs.

High Yielding Brokered Bank CDs


First, the physician-investor should determine if the CD is issued by a federally insured institution. If the answer is yes, the investor knows that a portion of his money is safe if the institution fails. If the answer is no, the doctor should obtain the institution’s ratings from the appropriate rating agencies and analyze the institution’s financials. Second, the physician-investor should investigate the volatility of the CD’s return.


When interest rates fluctuate, the price of MMAs and CDs fluctuate much like bonds. Therefore, short-term securities are less risky than long-term securities; all things being equal.


And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Are you looking at these terms and conditions more closely during this national economic crisis? Please opine and advise.


Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™



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