When it comes to your cash assets, the last thing you want to worry about is risk. Bank products, such as money market accounts and certificates of deposit, currently strike the best balance between safety and return, says Greg McBride of Bankrate.com. Both types of accounts are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which guarantees up to $250,000 per person, per institution.
Today, the top-yielding bank money market accounts are paying 3.2 percent and higher (meanwhile, the top-yielding money market mutual fund yields 2.6 percent). With CDs, you trade access to the money for a fixed interest rate over a set period of time. Shop around for the best yields and you can get 4 percent or more on everything from one- to five-year CDs. Just be willing to lock up your cash.