Nickle and Dimed on Cash

Posted by: Roben Farzad on January 17, 2006

After years of relative cash-yield generosity, my online bank E*Trade has quietly slashed the interest it offers on its checking account…and has similarly skimped on its money market rates. All of which is forcing me to go through the hellish, snail-mail-heavy, new-password-ridden procedure of sweeping out my cash to a HSBC online savings account…which I suspect I’ll have to do all over again once HSBC feels flush enough to become yield-complacent. The lesson?
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Holding cash remains a rather crummy undertaking. Where the heck is the average annual 9-10% return I was always promised on the S&P 500? Does a law-abiding, Fed-fearing average shareholder like myself really need to resort to Peruvean copper futures or a basket of certificates of deposit in Mozambique to scrape out respectable yield? I'm suddenly nostalgic for the days of 15% bond yields in 1981; makes me want to belt out "Jessie's Girl"

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About

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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