The Best Options for Stashing Your Cash

By Dave Carpenter, AP Personal Finance Writer

Cash is king again for many unsettled investors.

The crisis in confidence that has spooked investors this summer is prompting many to pull their money from the stock market, with others poised to follow. The problem is, where to park it?

Here's a look at the safest options and what you can earn on your cash.

Q: What are the best options for my cash right now?

A: If you're primarily concerned about limiting your risk, you'll want to focus on various bank products such as certificates of deposit, savings accounts and high-yield checking accounts. Their returns aren't keeping up with inflation so they're not a great strategy in the long run. But if your top priority is safety, at least for the near future, they offer plenty. Here's a snapshot of key considerations.

Online savings accounts: These accounts are a reliable option if you need swift access to your money. The rates aren't generous, topping out at only about 1 percent. But they are convenient and protected. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. guarantees money deposited in savings and checking accounts and CDs up to $250,000. An online account is ideal for your emergency fund or any money you may need on short notice, says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. You can also get an ATM card to access your account.

CDs: If you won't need the money for a while or can afford to park it for six months or longer, consider a CD. Top-yielding CDs with a one-year term pay up to about 1.25 percent.

Longer maturities offer higher yields, but not by much. Buying a five-year CD won't even get you 2.5 percent. The highest current rate is 2.4 percent offered by First Internet Bank of Indiana, followed closely by Discover Bank (2.35 percent) and Aurora Bank (2.31 percent), as listed on Bankrate.com. And if climbing rates in the years ahead tempt you to take your money out early, remember that you'll pay for it. The withdrawal penalty for CDs will typically dock you six months' interest.

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