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Short Term Investment Definition, Examples & Options

If you want to invest money for the short term, you’re probably seeking a secure location to store money before you need to retrieve it in the not-too-distant future. Since the COVID-19 situation dragged on, investors were forced to hoard cash due to choppy markets and a faltering economy. Things are still uncertain as the economy is currently dealing with rising inflation and a likely recession, among other problems. The greatest long-term investments offer potentially larger returns, while short-term investments reduce risk at the expense of those opportunities.

Instead of wasting money on a potentially risky investment, you’ll ensure that you have cash on hand when you need it. Safety is therefore the most crucial factor that investors should look for in a short-term investment. Continue reading this article and you will know about short-term investment, short term investment definition. Examples of short-term investment and what is considered short-term investments. Advantages and what are short-term investments and tips for the investment, etc. 

Short term investment definition

Investments that can be quickly converted into cash are considered short-term investments. Any investment instrument that will reach maturity within a year or that is anticipated to be liquidated within a year falls under this category. Marketable securities and money market funds are two examples of these vehicles. Since they can be quickly liquidated, the majority of regularly traded investments can be categorized as short-term investments. A business often invests a significant portion of its spare cash in short-term securities so that it can earn a modest return while still having quick access to the money for its operating needs. There have some examples of short-term investment given below. 

  • Example 1

Millions of investors are prepared and eager to buy the shares from you, and the stock price is simply determinable.

Second, the investment must be converted or sold by management during the next three to twelve months. Due to the fact that it is reliant on management’s objectives, this is a bit of a gray area. For instance, management may elect to buy Apple, Inc. shares with the intention of selling them in the coming months. However, if the market falls, management may decide to hold onto the shares for a longer period of time.

The shares of Apple would initially be classed as a short-term investment in this scenario, but if management changes its mind and decides to maintain them for a longer amount of time than the present accounting period, the shares are reclassified as long-term investments.

  • Example 2

Allen needed money to pay off his $5,000 debt in the following five months. Despite his strong wages, he could not spend so much of his monthly income to support his household. He decided to invest in CDs that would mature in the following three months as a result. The investor received $7,000 at the conclusion of the term, of which he paid $4,000 and added the remaining $2,000 to cover other family expenses. Such alternatives function and assist people in this manner.

  • Example 3

Let’s say Company A chooses to buy Amazon shares as a short-term investment option. It intends to use this money to cover the payroll, including incentives, after three months. However, the market decreases when the securities are sold to convert the assets into cash, so management decides to hold onto the assets for a few more years until the market stabilizes and the prices increase as anticipated. Although firm A made a short-term investment in this situation, its choice to hold onto the shares for a longer period of time a few years turns it into a long-term investment. 

What are short-term investments?

From the short-term investment definition, we say that there are two basic prerequisites for short-term investments. They must first be easily convertible into currency. As a result, ambiguous investments in closely owned businesses cannot be categorized as short-term investments. It is not a marketable security if it cannot be quickly and easily traded. Consider purchasing shares of a publicly traded corporation.

How Short-Term Investments Work

Both businesses and individual or institutional investors want to preserve their money while also providing a return akin to that of a Treasury bill index fund or another comparable benchmark. A short-term investment account will be on a company’s balance sheet if they are in a solid cash position. As a result, the business can afford to put extra funds into securities like stocks, bonds, or cash equivalents to earn interest rates that are higher than those found in regular savings accounts.

A corporation must meet two fundamental criteria before classifying an investment as short-term. It must first be liquid, such as a stock traded often on a large market or U.S. Treasury bonds. The management must also want to sell the investment within a limited time frame, like 12 months. Short-term investments also include marketable debt securities (sometimes known as “short-term paper”) with maturities of one year or less, such as commercial paper and U.S. Treasury bills. Investments in ordinary and preferred shares are examples of marketable equity securities. Corporate bonds, or bonds issued by another company, are a type of marketable debt security, but in order to be deemed liquid, they also need to have quick maturities and be regularly traded.

What makes a good short-term investment?

Even though they may share a variety of characteristics, good short-term investments often exhibit the following three characteristics: knowing those characteristics we have to understand what is considered short-term investments. 

  • Stability: Good short-term investments don’t vary in value as much as many stocks and bonds do. The funds are usually insured by the FDIC or backed by a government guarantee, so they will be available when you need them.
  • Liquidity: A successful short-term investment typically has high liquidity, which means you can get your money out of it quickly. In the case of some CDs, you’ll be informed when the funds are accessible, and you may always redeem the CD, albeit it frequently has a penalty unless you choose a no-penalty CD.
  • Low transaction costs: Unlike, for instance, purchasing a home, a good short-term investment doesn’t cost a lot of money to enter or exit. This is particularly crucial when the yields on short-term investments are low.

What is considered short-term investments?

The following are some typical short-term investments and tactics utilized by businesses and individual investors:

  • Certificates of deposit (CDs): Banks provide these deposits, which often pay a higher interest rate because they secure the money for a specific amount of time. Typically, these intervals span from a few months to five years. The FDIC insures them for a maximum of $250,000.
  • Money market accounts: These FDIC-insured accounts offer returns that are higher than those of savings accounts, but they also demand a minimum commitment. Remember that money market mutual funds are not FDIC-insured, in contrast to money market accounts, which are.
  • Treasuries: These government-issued bonds are available in a variety of forms, including notes, bills, floating-rate notes, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).
  • Bond funds: Offered by qualified asset managers/investment firms, these funds are preferable for a shorter time horizon and may provide higher returns for the risk. Just be mindful of the costs.
  • Municipal bonds: Due to their frequent exemption from income taxes, these bonds, which are issued by municipal, state, or non-federal government entities, can give greater yields.
  • Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) Through one of these lending platforms that connect borrowers and lenders, the extra money can be used.
  • Individuals may find freedom and a wide range of financial alternatives with Roth IRAs. Roth IRA contributions, but not earnings, may be withdrawn at any time without incurring penalties or additional taxes.

Advantages of Short-Term Investment

Short-term investments, which might last from a few months to a year, are those that are intended to provide sizable returns quickly. It is more concentrated on covering the costs that will be incurred soon. Those that favor short-term investments are not interested in patiently waiting years for their money to multiply.

  • Flexibility

The flexibility that comes with short-term investing is one of its major benefits. With this kind of investment, you do not have to keep your money in one place for a long time, as is the case, for instance, for the many people who choose to buy a corporate bond with a maturity of between 10 and 30 years. This investment requires a lengthy holding period before it matures. 

  • High Liquidity

You have the advantage of being able to withdraw your money whenever you want if there is an urgent requirement while investing money in the stock markets with a short-term outlook. The benefits of returns may not be extended if you want to withdraw your money before maturity in the majority of other investment types, which may need a lock-in term.

  • Invest in derivatives as well to profit from declining markets.

If you carefully arrange your investments, you can make short-term gains in bad markets as well. Trading products known as derivatives take their worth from the ensuing equities in the cash market. By initially selling at a high value and then afterwards buying at a lower value, derivative instruments like futures and options can help you profit from the bearish market trend.

  • Returns

The potential for high profits is another benefit of short-term investing. With this kind of investment, you frequently see excellent returns after only a short while. Following the sale of the security to lock in your gains, you search for another investment opportunity.

  • Realistic Results

Many investors prefer to be able to see real outcomes from their investments. It may take a long time before you see any rewards from a long-term investment, which is demoralizing.

Short-Term Investments vs Long-Term Investments

The difference between short-term and long-term investments may be clear-cut. However, there are a few things to consider that might assist investors in determining which is best for them and when:

  1. While long-term alternatives take several years to grow and produce returns, short-term investing possibilities mature sooner.
  2. For people who need quick access to financing, the temporary investment option is a perfect choice. Long-term investments, on the other hand, are intended for long-term plans.
  3. When one chooses to invest for the short term, there is less chance that the market volatility will have an impact on the investment as it matures and prepares for withdrawal in a few days or months. Long-term investments, on the other hand, are more volatile because they are held for a longer period of time.

Tips for investing money for a short-term investment 

If you are investing for a period of five years or less, your process should be different from that of someone investing for a period of decades. Instead, you should approach short-term investing using the advice provided below:

  • Set realistic goals. It’s crucial to set realistic expectations because the potential returns from short-term investments will be lower than those from long-term ones.
  • Think about safety. In general, you should prioritize safety over return when making short-term investments. You should always have access to your money.
  • The additional risk might not be worth a small increase in return. It can be simple to try to achieve a little extra return at the cost of a lot more risk when short-term investments are generating such low returns. But pay attention to why you are making short-term investments.
  • Depending on your demands, choose your investment. On that CD, you might be able to make a little additional money. But what happens if you need the money before it matures? Adapt the type of investment you make to your needs.
  • Short-term investments vary widely. You won’t lose any principal because the FDIC is backing bank products. However, short-term declines in market-based products are possible, even in secure ones like short-term bond funds. Know the dangers associated with your investing.


When making short-term financial investments, each factor requires equal consideration and weight. If you think a short-term investment is not for you, you can also opt to invest for the long term or trade intraday. Compared to longer-term investments like stocks or stock funds, short-term investments are typically rather safe. However, make sure you know what you’re investing in. As we can see, short-term investments have numerous benefits for business owners and investors. In fact, even with investments that are somewhat short-term, you may still generate a significant amount of money. If you’ve done your research and have the appropriate team on your side.


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