Money Market Fund Disclosures 'Bend' Your Dollar

Leading fund firms vow to shine more light on funds that promise to return every dollar you invest.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the economy contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

"Forget the number: It says nothing about the state of the economy," says one economist.

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Meanwhile, regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, have been split on the merits and design of tougher regulation of money funds.

The biggest impact of any changes in money market funds could be felt by the institutional investors who do not have the option of putting their money into insured bank accounts, which are capped at $250,000 in deposits.

But those institutional investors are holding the savings for many individuals. Corporate note issuers also rely on the funds to buy their short-term securities that fund day-to-day operations, another issue market reformers must consider.

[Read: These Emerging Markets Could Pop in 2013.]

Nearly everyone has a stake in finding a "cure" to the problem. But no one is entirely sure how to do it. As individuals, the best strategy is to keep money in diversified assets, German says. That strategy minimizes risk, says Larkin.

The problem is that every investment is connected, in some way, to all of the others. Even gold bars only hold value if people have a desire to pay for them. With no perfect solution, get ready to hear a lot more "good" solutions and reforms to bend, but not break, your dollars.