By Jim Shellenberger, CFA, CFP®
When we were kids, our parents likely told us to save money, especially for times when we might need it.
Now that we’re adults, we work, aim for promotions, and save part of our pay in a savings account every month. It sounds good, but then you realize that while you’ve been busy, the money in your bank hasn’t been doing much, especially in times when interest rates plunge. Right now interest rates are good for the first time in a while, but what will you do when they go back down?
While it’s important to have an emergency fund on hand, when you keep extra money in your bank accounts, you’re not making the most of it. But when you use your idle cash wisely, you’re letting your money have a chance to grow and boost your overall total wealth.
Origins of Idle Cash
Idle cash can build up in a variety of ways. Young professionals earning more money than they are used to can let cash pile up in their savings because they don’t know how to make it work for them. Experienced investors may not even realize they have idle cash sitting around from dividend payouts that aren’t automatically reinvested. Cash from passive revenue streams, such as rental properties, may not be integrated into your investment portfolio and could be actively dragging down your return potential.
Regardless of where the cash is coming from, having too much of it idle in your portfolio is not a wise financial strategy. There is no right number and it is different for every person and family, but we believe one should have a cash contingency target to keep in reserves based on your unique circumstance. Other than this backup cash, the amount of idle money in your portfolio should be limited, with additional funds being productively put to work.
Stay on Top of Your Accounts
Do you know how much idle cash you’re carrying? You may consider the money you put into mutual funds as being invested, but did you know that these funds strategically usually keep about 5% of the portfolio in cash and cash equivalents? (1) This is important to know if you are trying to store extra cash as part of a complement to your investment portfolio. Evaluate your savings as soon as possible, because the excess cash sitting in your savings is losing the fight against inflation.
Inflation has increased costs, and the value and purchasing power of $100 today is very different from that of 30 years ago. Even with rising interest rates, idle cash rarely earns enough to effectively combat inflation and holding on to excess cash for the long term is effectively minimizing the potential upside of your hard work. What can you do with the extra cash? How do you reinvest it so you maximize its return?
A Better Alternative
At Elevate Wealth Management, we strive to find the best way to put your money to work and align your investments with your current needs and future goals. Whether you’re saving for your child’s education, strengthening your retirement accounts, or planning to purchase a new home, we want to see your investments reach their potential.
It’s important to understand there are more efficient ways to handle cash than simply stockpiling it in a checking or savings account. If you need liquidity but still want to put your cash to work, there are other solutions that may make sense for your situation.
Take Action Today
If you have a lot of money just sitting around, our team of professionals at Elevate Wealth Management can explain how you might be missing out on earning more by keeping money stagnant for a long time. We also review your investment plan to guide you in making smart choices that could help you make the most money from your cash.
It might not be obvious, but keeping money idle can affect how much you end up with in the long run. If you suspect your idle money is impacting your potential to earn more, get in touch with us to schedule an introductory meeting by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307.673.5675.
Jim Shellenberger, CFA, CFP® is a financial advisor at Elevate Wealth Management, an independent, fee-only wealth management firm serving young professionals, pre-retirees, and retirees in Sheridan, Wyoming, and surrounding areas. With the mission of serving and educating, Jim is dedicated to providing comprehensive, top-notch services that not only help his clients reach their goals, but also empower them to make the best financial decisions for their lives and walk toward their future with confidence. Jim is known for going the extra mile, not only offering valuable knowledge in investment management as a former investment analyst, but building long-lasting relationships so he can give honest, customized advice and strategies that make an impact on their lives.
Jim has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in finance from the University of Wyoming. He is proud to be a Wyoming native and loves exploring the outdoors with his family—hiking, fishing, hunting, and backpacking. Faith is an integral part of Jim’s life, and he always looks forward to attending church on Sundays, Bible study on Fridays, and being part of his church community. He’s also an avid sports fan! Fun fact: Jim owns shares in the Green Bay Packers. To learn more about Jim, connect with him on LinkedIn.
The views expressed represent the opinion of Frontier Asset Management. The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While Frontier Asset Management believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. The use of such sources does not constitute an endorsement. Frontier does not have an affiliation with any author, company or security noted within. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and the Frontier Asset Management’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Investing in securities involves risks, including the potential loss of principal. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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