Money Market Reforms That Can Damage Your Retirement Fund

money market reforms damaging retirement funds

The relatively recent SEC Money Market Reform is a prime example of how good intentions can lead to potentially disastrous results. It all began with the mortgage crash, bank failure, and overall financial crisis of 2008 in the United States. The effects of this financial collapse was felt around the world as well due to globalization. The Reserve Primary Fund, a large fund manager in New York, was forced to reduce its net asset value (NAV) of money market funds due to failed short-term loans by Lehman Brothers. This caused a panic among institutional investors followed by mass withdrawal of funds. 

Within 24 hours, Reserve Primary Fund lost two-thirds of its total assets, prompting it to close its doors for good immediately. In 2022 after the financial crisis, the SEC came up with a noble idea: implement new rules to make money market funds more stable and resilient for retirement accounts. 

This idea may have buttressed the money market fund system, but it also put individual investors in a more precarious position. How so? Consider the following points: 

I) Instead of guaranteeing a fixed net asset value of $1 per share, the new rules allow the value to float. Problem: the value of the principal investment will also “float,” a market risk that had never before existed in money markets. This, in effect, turns your investment–once fixed and guaranteed–into a speculative instrument. 

II) If a fund’s liquid assets fall a certain amount below its total assets in a given week, funds will be charged fees up to 2% to stabilize the fund’s liquidity–fees that will most likely be passed on to account holders. 

Problem: You may end up paying additional fees multiple times for a situation over which you have little to no control. And considering the low yields you would already be receiving from these funds, any fees would greatly erode the value of your investment. 

III) Suspend fund redemptions for up to 10 business days to prevent a run on funds. 

Problem: You may be unable to immediately withdraw your balance at a time when you need it the most. Aimed at large institutional fund managers, the harsh outcomes of the Money Market Fund Reform will get passed on to the “small guy”–hard-working everyday American investors and retirees. In other words, YOU: the working man and working woman trying to stay fiscally fit! 

Because most custodial firms don’t want to risk having their clients pay liquidity fees or experience redemption suspensions, many of them are moving their clients’ over to government bonds. The logic behind this move is that your returns may underperform other assets, but the safety of your funds are more or less guaranteed. Not so fast, especially if you decide to invest your savings into Forex trading

All you have to do is take a look at the US government’s humongous $22 trillion debt, and that “logic” quickly becomes a “myth.” There was a time, not long ago, when an IRA 401(k) meant a safe haven and sound money investment. Obviously, things have changed. But despite the bad news, you can still protect wealth by learning to make smarter moves. Fiscal Fitness is here to help you stay financially fit for retirement no matter what happens!