In the last few weeks, I’ve talked about why you should have an emergency fund, and how much you should have.
Today I want to talk about where to keep your emergency fund.
If you’ve followed the guidelines (3 to 6 months of living expenses, or $1,000 if you’re working on a ‘baby’ emergency fund), then you may have a substantial amount of cash lying around.
You don’t want this money sitting in a checking account earning no interest, or a savings account that earns less than 1% interest.
On the other hand, you don’t want to put your emergency fund at risk. So where to put that cash? Here are some suggestions:
1. Look for a money market account at a bank or credit union in your area. A great place to start your research is Bankrate.com, where you can search by your location. Your local paper might also list money market accounts in the money or finance section.
3. CDs – although a good portion of your emergency fund should be in liquid accounts that are easy to access, you might want to keep part of your emergency fund in CDs to earn a higher interest rate. Shop Bankrate.com or your local banks for the best rates.
4. Money market mutual funds – if you already have investments with a mutual fund company or brokerage company, you might consider using a money market mutual fund for your emergency fund. Rates are competitive and this option may be more convenient for you if you already have a brokerage account.
5. Short-term and ultra short-term bond funds – these are bond funds which fluctuate based on what the bond market is doing, so the value of your bond fund can go down. However, there is potential for a greater return than a money market or CD, if you don’t mind the additional risk.