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27 While rating agencies rate the credit quality of individual issues there are special rating services for mutual funds and ETFs. The best known in the United States is Morn- ingstar. Its focus is domestic although international coverage is growing. For cash management purposes you will focus on those mutual funds ETFs or managers that limit their investments to securities appropriate for cash equivalent status high-quality fixed-income securities with short or shorter-term maturities. For example ETFs that hold short-term treasuries or mutual funds that specialize in buying GNMAs or insured municipal notes rated AAA. Mutual funds may have redemption fees that limit initial liquidity. They are generally more expensive than ETFs but they also offer more investor protections. For a good background discussion on the shortcomings of ETF structures see an article I co- authored on the precious metals ETFs GLD and SLV Disclosure in the Precious Metals Puzzle Palace. Not all mutual funds or ETFs are liquid. Unless they have strong sponsors these investments may come with a variety of risks. First and foremost what happens if heavy redemptions put stress on the pools Consequently if you use any fund or pool structure including money market ac- counts you will want to ensure you have chosen one that has strong liquid credits in the underlying securities and enjoys a strong reputation and market liquidity. Or you may want to take the time to buy hold and monitor individual bills notes and bonds. Last but not least when you review cash management options at a brokerage firm whether with a broker or financial pro- fessional or on your own with a discount brokerage website and its customer support please make sure that you understand your options. Never invest in something you do not understand. If you dont understand an investment it is not because you are uneducated or lack financial sophistication. It is because the financial services industry and their repre- sentatives have made things too complicated or they do not explain things clearly. Most brokerage firms have very good websites with sufficient detail to help you understand the particulars of an investment if you are willing to take the time to learn and to ask questions. You can understand. Invest your time in learning the definitions of the terms in- volved. This is why we have provided so many links in this report. Mastering cash management is first and foremost a matter of mastering approximately 100 basic defi- nitions and a few basic financial concepts such as the higher the credit quality or the shorter the maturity the less principal risk. If you find this process lonely you can start a Solari circle where you meet by phone or in person each week with friends who will work with you to build your combined skills at successful financial action includ- ing cash management.