What Are Short-Term Investments?


Short-term investments refer to financial instruments that are held for a shorter period of time, typically less than a year. These investments are also known as short-term securities or marketable securities and are typically used by investors to increase liquidity and diversify their portfolio.

Factors to Consider When Investing Short-Term

  • Risk Tolerance- Investors must assess how much risk they are willing to take on when selecting short-term investments.
  • Asset Allocation- Investors must determine the right mix of assets to meet their financial goals.
  • Return Potential- It is important to research the potential returns of any potential short-term investments.
  • Liquidity- Short-term investments can provide the benefit of liquidity, so it is important to consider the ease of accessibility.
  • Tax Implications- Investors should always consider the tax implications of their investments.

Types of Short-Term Investments

Short-term investments are those that provide a safe and secure way of earning profits over a short period. These investments require low risk, but promise low returns. Among the most common types of short-term investments are treasury bills, money market funds, certificates of deposit, and mutual funds. In this article, we will take a closer look at each of these categories.

Treasury Bills

Treasury bills (T-bills) are short-term investments issued by governments or corporations. They have a maturity period of one year or less and offer investors the highest liquidity among the different types of investments. They are often used as a safe investment vehicle and have low risk. They are available from the government and are even negotiable in the open market.

Money Market Funds

Money Market Funds (MMFs) are a type of mutual fund that invests in short-term debt instruments such as Treasury bills, certificates of deposit, and commercial paper. They are highly liquid, and offer low-risk investments. MMFs are highly recommendable for investors who are looking for short-term investment alternatives.

Certificate of Deposit

Certificate of deposit (CD) is a financial instrument that is issued by financial institutions and other banking institutions. It provides investors with the assurance of the promised returns and is backed by the bank. Generally, CDs are FDIC-insured. The maturity period of CDs vary, depending on the financial institution, and they can be as short as a few days or as long as 5 years.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are an investment vehicle that allows a group of investors to pool their money and invest in different securities such as stocks and bonds. They are managed by professional fund managers, who allocate the funds according to the investor’s risk tolerance and objectives. Mutual funds are known to provide higher yields than the other short-term investments.

Short-term investments are important for investors who have limited capital and are looking for short-term options for their investments. They are safer options, compared to other investments, with low risks and promise low returns. It is important for investors to understand each option and weigh their choices before investing in any of these short-term options.

Benefits of Short-Term Investments

Short-term investments offer several key benefits to those investing capital, notably in the area of preservation of capital, return on investment, and liquidity. Let’s look at each in turn.

Preservation of Capital

One of the primary benefits of engaging in short-term investments is the preservation of capital. Unlike high-risk investments, those in the short-term arena offer the potential for capital growth with lower levels of risk, particularly during market downturns. Investors are thus more likely to experience a smoother run of investment without too much volatility.

Return on Investment

Rather than risk capital in the stock market, savvy investors looking for a return on investment may wish to look to short-term investments for a more steady stream of dividends. Short-term investments may offer a regular, predictable return, making them a desirable choice for those with lower risk profiles.


Finally, short-term investments naturally offer the benefit of liquidity. A liquid investment can be more easily converted into cash, offering flexibility in instances where immediate funds are needed. Therefore, those seeking the security of a more inflexible asset are able to access cash in shorter, more manageable terms.

Risks Associated with Short-Term Investments

When investing in short-term investments, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with them. These investments can come with a lot of potential benefits, but there are also risks that must be taken into account and managed to protect your investments.

Market Risks

One of the primary risks to a short-term investment is the risk of the market volatility. This means that the value of your investment can change quickly and unexpectedly, resulting in potential losses. In order to manage this risk, it is important to stay up to date on the current market conditions, the risk associated with any new investments, and the potential for losses.

Interest Rate Risks

Interest rate risks are another factor to consider when investing in short-term investments. Interest rates can change quickly and have a major impact on the performance of investments. Higher interest rates can lead to higher returns, but at the same time, they can also lead to higher costs. As a result, it is important to have an understanding of the current interest rate environment and to consider any potential changes to the rate when making decisions about short-term investments.

Additionally, there are other risks associated with short-term investments, such as liquidity risks, inflation risks, and political risks. These risks should all be taken into account when making decisions about investing in short-term investments in order to ensure that they are managed successfully.

Evaluation of Short-Term Investments

Investors should routinely evaluate their short-term investments to ensure they meet their needs and fulfill their goals. There are three primary elements when it comes to evaluating short-term investments: determining investment objectives, diversifying a portfolio, and monitoring investments.

Determining Investment Objectives

Before deciding on a short-term investment, an investor should determine the objective of the investment. An investor should assess their risk appetite and financial goals. Questions to ask include, “What return am I looking for?” and “How long am I investing this money for?” By determining the objective and time frame of the investment, an investor can craft a strategy and select the correct short-term investment.

Diversification of Investment Portfolio

Diversification is an important element of any sound investment strategy. Diversifying a portfolio properly can help to spread risk, creating a buffer for any potential losses. For example, if an investor holds only stocks, then a market downturn could result in losses. On the other hand, if an investor holds a mix of stocks and bonds, these losses may be offset by the gains from the bond portion of the portfolio. An investor should make sure to diversify their short-term investment portfolio for maximum return.

Monitoring of Short-Term Investments

Finally, an investor should monitor their short-term investments to ensure they are meeting their desired return and time frame. This can be done through automated alerts or by keeping close track of the performance of the securities. It is important to note that short-term investments are subject to market risks, meaning that the value of the investment can fluctuate significantly. By monitoring the performance of the investments, an investor can make adjustments as needed.

Tax Considerations

Tax considerations are something that all investors must properly consider before investing in any financial instrument. Short-term investments may have some different tax implications than long-term investments, so understanding the tax laws and regulations that apply to your investments is essential.

Potential Taxes from Earnings

The primary way that you may face a tax obligation from short-term investments is through interest or dividends earned. The amount of interest or dividends you earn over the course of the year could be subject to taxes. Depending on the type of investment and the amount of earnings, you may need to factor in taxes when calculating the return on your short-term investments.

Impact of Capital Gains Taxes

In many cases, you may also be subject to capital gains taxes if you sell the investment for more than what you paid for it. Capital gains taxes on short-term investments are typically higher than those for investments held for longer periods of time. The type of account that the investment was held in (e.g. traditional or Roth IRA) and your overall income when filing taxes can also affect how your capital gains are taxed.

It is important to consult with a financial and/or tax professional when considering short-term investments to ensure you understand the tax implications that may be associated with them. This can help you make an informed decision and plan accordingly.


Short-term investing can be a savvy way to increase funds and create a passive income stream. However, understanding the potential risks and rewards of short-term investments is essential before beginning. Through careful research and consideration, short-term investments can be a valuable tool to diversify a financial portfolio.

Summary of Points

In this blog post, we discussed short-term investments and explored the potential benefits, risks, and terms associated with them. We made a comparison between short-term and long-term investments, and uncovered the various types of short-term investments that are available.

Careful Consideration with Short-Term Investments

Short-term investing can provide investors with a liquid source of funds and a way to diversify their investment portfolio. But before entering into a short-term investment, it is important to understand the risks, benefits, and terms associated with them. Additionally, it is important to understand the tax implications of short-term investments as well.

By investing with a well-diversified portfolio and constantly monitoring the markets, investors can take advantage of short-term investments and their potential rewards. However, short-term investments can be a riskier option and should be approached with caution.

  • Understand all potential risks and rewards of short-term investments before beginning
  • Constantly monitor markets when investing
  • Invest with a well-diversified portfolio
  • Consider all tax implications of short-term investments

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