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Your Emergency Fund Cash Can Be Put to Good Use

That Cash in Your Emergency Fund Doesn’t Have to Be Idle


When it comes to retirement planning, having a cash reserve is often overlooked. Many people focus on investing their money in order to grow their wealth, but forget the importance of having readily available cash. In uncertain or volatile markets, cash reserves can provide liquidity and flexibility, giving you peace of mind during your retirement years. While it may seem like a large amount to keep in cash, having 12 to 24 months’ worth of expenses accessible can help you avoid liquidating assets in down markets. In this article, we will explore a few ways you can maintain cash liquidity and still earn modest yields on your emergency fund.

Set up a bank sweep

A bank sweep program is a great tool to maintain cash on hand while earning interest. It works by automatically transferring any excess cash from your checking account to a high-yield savings or investment account once your balance reaches a certain threshold. This ensures that your everyday expenses are covered while the excess cash is put to work in an interest-bearing account. On the flip side, if your checking account balance falls below a set threshold, the sweep can transfer money from your savings or investment account back to checking, ensuring you have the necessary liquid cash to meet your expenses. Keep in mind that there may be fees associated with setting up the account and transferring money, so it’s important to consult with your financial advisor to determine if a sweep account is appropriate for your financial needs.

Invest in a money market fund

Money market funds are another option for earning modest returns on your emergency fund. These funds are invested in high-liquidity assets like corporate debt, short-term certificates of deposit (CDs), and government bonds. They are designed for investors who may need quick access to their money, making them a good choice for supplementing your retirement income. However, it’s important to note that money market funds may struggle to keep pace with inflation in a low-interest rate environment. They are not meant for long-term investing and should be used as a temporary solution for earning modest gains on your liquid cash.

Consider a short-term certificate of deposit

A short-term certificate of deposit (CD) can be a useful tool for setting money aside for planned future expenses. While CDs typically have longer maturity terms, there are options available for shorter terms, sometimes as little as 30 days. By investing in a short-term CD, you can earn a fixed interest rate for a specific period of time while still having access to your money when you need it. This makes it a great option for goals like home repairs or a small trip. Keep in mind that early withdrawal from a CD may result in penalties, so it’s important to choose a term that aligns with your timeframe and financial goals.

Related Facts

  • Holding a cash reserve in retirement can help you avoid liquidating assets in down markets.
  • Bank sweep accounts automate the process of transferring excess cash to an interest-earning account.
  • Money market funds provide liquidity and modest returns, but may struggle to keep pace with inflation.
  • Short-term CDs offer a fixed interest rate for a specific period of time, providing quick access to your money.

Key Takeaway

While investing is important for growing your wealth, don’t underestimate the value of having a cash reserve in retirement. It provides liquidity and flexibility in uncertain markets, allowing you to avoid selling assets at unfavorable times. Bank sweep accounts, money market funds, and short-term CDs are all viable options for earning modest returns on your emergency fund while still maintaining access to your cash. By utilizing these strategies, you can ensure that your cash reserves are working for you and not just sitting idle.


As you plan for retirement, don’t overlook the importance of having a cash reserve. Having readily accessible cash can provide peace of mind and flexibility in uncertain markets. By setting up a bank sweep account, investing in a money market fund, or considering a short-term CD, you can earn modest returns on your emergency fund while still maintaining access to your money. Remember to consult with a financial advisor to determine the best strategy for your financial needs and goals. With a well-managed cash reserve, you can weather market volatility and enjoy a more secure retirement.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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