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The 5 Best Deals in the Financial World

When times are tight, these deals will help stretch your dollar

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Best Money Market Account

What’s the best money market out there? These days, it’s Barclays Bank Delaware, paying 0.90%. No minimum deposit and no set-up or maintenance fees.

You say 0.90% is peanuts? Well, it certainly is by historical standards. But remember, the government is paying nothing — just about absolute zero — on Treasury bills. Money market funds yield only a few pennies more. For your can’t-lose money, GE Capital Bank is a safe, sensible alternative.

There is no minimum to open an account, and the FDIC insurance is up to $250,000 per depositor ($500,000 for joint accounts).

Best Mutual Fund Family

I’m tempted to say, “None of the above.” Truth be told, I really prefer to cherry-pick the best mutual funds from a variety of families — because no fund group has a monopoly on performance, and some of the finest funds come from obscure organizations. By opening an account with a discount broker, you can gain access to hundreds, or even thousands, of funds — all tracked on a single statement.

Still, it’s clear that some families do a superior job of attracting and retaining talented managers. Among the no-load (no sales charge) groups, T. Rowe Price (TROW) stands out. According to the number-crunchers at Lipper, TROW has logged the best overall performance of any no-load family over the past 10 years.

Funds I consider ripe for buying now include Equity Income (PRFDX), High Yield (PRHYX), Short-Term Bond (PRWBX) and Spectrum Income (RPSIX). All four funds require a $2,500 initial minimum investment in a taxable account, or $1,000 in an IRA.

If you like, you can even wrap these funds into a T. Rowe Price discount brokerage account and trade individual securities alongside your mutual funds. However, I recommend this approach only if you’ve got a sizable portfolio ($100,000 or more). At that level, TROW charges just $9.95 for Web-based stock trades.

Richard Band’s Profitable Investing advisory service helps retirement savers outperform the market without losing a minute of sleep along the way. His straightforward style and low-risk value approach has won seven Best Financial Advisory awards from the Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Foundation.

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