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Today’s uncertain financial environment is notable for the disappearance of many long held fundamentals of money management. The old rules have disappeared or changed and seem to continue to change daily. Equity markets vacillate in great daily waves. Bonds act counter intuitively. Banks are deemed too big to fail. Commodities are in free fall.

What does a saver do with those hard earned dollars that make up the nest egg? When banks, stocks and bonds are no longer reliable, where can you turn? Amidst the turmoil there is another resting place for your money that may allow you to sleep better at night.

In the good old days, when the old rules were alive and well, a saver or investor bought United States Government securities, bills notes and bonds, through a broker. The broker earned a commission on the transaction and many brokers held securities for the buyer until sold or matured.

In the new ‘wild west’ of money management one island of sanity remains in the sea of financial uncertainty. Treasury Direct is a facility of the US Treasury for individuals to buy and sell bills, notes, bonds, Floating Rate Notes (FRNs) and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) directly from the Treasury. At no cost over the purchase price the Treasury will issue and hold securities until maturity, sale or redemption.

This online facility is a highly secure, easy to use option for buying, selling and holding US Treasury securities.

Once you sign up and receive your security credentials you can log on to buy. When you choose your purchase option you will also designate where the Treasury should get payment, a bank account of yours and where the proceeds should go on maturity of your purchase.

There will likely be a delay in your purchase because Treasury auctions occur by type of offering and each security is generally auctioned once each month. If an auction is oversubscribed, meaning there are more bids than offerings, you might not acquire the security at all.

After your purchase is confirmed Treasury Direct will reach into your bank account and take payment. The payment is discounted for the interest you will receive on your purchase (if any) at today’s low interest rates. If you purchase a $100,000 30-day note for instance, your account may show a transaction of $99,998.12. On maturity you will receive payment of $100,000.

Here is where we reach the interesting depository for your money that may allow you to sleep better at night.

When you make your initial offer to buy that includes the source of your purchase funds you will designate where you would like the proceeds to reside on maturity or sale of your US Treasury security. You can request the funds be returned to your bank account.

Or, Treasury Direct will hold the funds for you in an interest free cash account. In the old days interest free didn’t appear much of a benefit. Yet, in today’s ‘wild west’ investment climate a calm eddy in a rough stream can be a real respite. So, you simply choose for Treasury Direct to redeem your mature or sold security into your “C of I” – your Certificate of Indebtedness account.

The C of I at Treasury Direct can effectively serve as a cash account outside of the banking system. At the moment cash accrues little if any interest in a traditional bank account and any lucid investor is unwilling to lock in token rates for any extended duration.

The real risk to cash in today’s environment is not lost interest income but loss of the cash itself. The ultimate goal is to keep your cash until markets reach some semblance of normal, and one way to do that is to park it in your C of I account at Treasury Direct.