Is Investing in Art a Good Idea?

Investing in art can be a good idea, but there are a number of options and factors to take into account, such as: the type of art investment you might choose (i.e. art funds vs. individual works of art), the art market climate, your familiarity with artists and trends in the art world, and more.

Generally speaking, art is considered an alternative investment. The art market does not move in sync with traditional stock and bond markets, and therefore owning art in some capacity can provide portfolio diversification. But like any alternative asset, investing in art also comes with risks.

The art market is highly illiquid, art itself is not well regulated, collectors’ tastes are fickle — and thus what determines the value of certain works of art can be harder to predict than, say, shares of stock. So while investing in art could be a smart move, it requires careful research and a deep understanding of this asset class.

How Big Is the Art Market?

Most people are familiar with the high-priced sales of some pieces of art. Works by well-known and historically revered artists can sell for millions — as can contemporary works by artists who are increasingly popular. But despite a few big headliners, the art market is fairly small.

According to a 2023 industry report, global art sales increased by a modest 3%, to $67.8 billion in 2022. Sales were more robust in the United States in 2022, with 8% growth to $30.2 billion year over year. The U.S. is the world’s largest art market, with the U.K. and China being second and third largest.

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Is Art a Good Investment?

Whether art is a good investment to a large degree depends partly on the work of art. For example, just as there are blue-chip stocks, there are blue-chip artworks that typically command higher prices and offer the potential for steady appreciation (although given the volatility of the art market, there are no guarantees).

But investing wisely in art also depends on the investor, and the vehicles they choose. For example, investing in individual art — similar to investing in individual stocks — requires a deep familiarity with that product and its market, as well as understanding the risks involved.

While you can invest in individual works of art, the value of any piece of art depends on its rarity, whether the artist is in demand, the historical and cultural significance of the work, as well as trends and market conditions.

However, these days investors can also choose to invest in art through art-related funds (similar to mutual funds), and fractional shares of art, which is analogous to investing in fractional shares of stock.

It’s also important for would-be investors to understand the role of collectors.

Art Collectors vs. Art Investors

The difference between art collectors and art investors is important to grasp. Most types of asset classes attract investors alone (with some exceptions, e.g. collectibles). Typically you don’t hear about people collecting stocks or mutual funds, for example.

In the case of the art market, however, collectors can play a role in art market trends as well as valuations. While investors, particularly high net-worth investors, may also influence sales, many collectors are long-time participants in the art market with years of familiarity with the ins and outs of many sectors, artists, dealers, galleries, domestic and international art fairs, and more.

Collectors may be steeped in a certain era or style (e.g. medieval religious statuary or Impressionist paintings), and committed to owning works long-term — for decades, or even generations.

By contrast, art investors may aim to acquire works that will gain value in a relatively short period (i.e. within a few years). This is where different types of art investment vehicles can come into play.

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What Makes a Good Art Investment?

Investing in art requires a certain mindset, and doing your due diligence to size up what constitutes the best opportunities for you, depending on your goals. It’s also important to understand some of the newer investment vehicles.

Individual Works

Investing in individual works requires knowledge of the artist, their current status (e.g. are they in demand or have they fallen out of favor?), the relevance or importance of a given work, and a sense of whether it’s overvalued or undervalued.

The risks of choosing individual works include the possibility of buying a fraudulent piece, the cost of owning and maintaining the work (including storage and insurance), and the uncertainty of knowing whether any given work will hold its value.

Buying individual works can also come with added charges, similar to investment fees (e.g. commissions and other costs). And given the fragility of most art, there is also the risk of physical damage or total loss.

Fractional Shares of Art

Owing to the high cost of purchasing and owning blue-chip works of art, it’s possible to buy fractional shares of art. This option is relatively new, but fractional shares of art are available on a growing number of platforms.

There are various systems for buying fractional art shares. One common way it can work: Investors purchase fractional shares of a work by a specific artist. The platform handles the maintenance and storage of the art, which is held for a period of time and then sold, ideally for a profit. If the sale is profitable, investors get a percentage of the gain, net of fees, commensurate with the percentage of the work they own.

The risk of buying fractional shares of art is that, as with any investment, there are no guarantees of a return. In addition, this is a financial strategy — fractional owners never have the pleasure of actually possessing the work.

Art Funds

Similar to traditional mutual funds and ETFs, an art fund is a type of pooled investment fund. But unlike conventional funds, art funds tend to be a long-term proposition. Art funds are structured typically as closed-end funds, but with a twist: investors typically contribute their capital over a period of three to five years, often with no returns for another specified time period (terms vary).

These funds are highly illiquid, and (in addition to the unpredictability of the art market itself) there are substantial risks to locking up your capital for what could be years, for an unspecified return upon redemption.

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Risk Tolerance

Individual investors interested in exploring this type of alternative investment need to consider many factors, especially their stomach for risk. While all investments come with some degree of risk, the spectrum is wide when it comes to art, and there are many unknowns.

Perhaps the biggest factor is the capriciousness of the art world as a whole. For a couple of years, digital art, especially non-fungible tokens (NFTs), spiked in popularity and many people sold digital art at a profit — only to see demand plunge, taking prices along with it.

It’s a cautionary tale. Yet there is always the potential for a rebound, if digital art regains its appeal, or “antique” NFTs become a thing.

Investing in art also includes risk factors specific to owning fragile physical items, as well as the risk of total loss of capital if the investment you choose falls out of favor, or turns out to be a fake — or if a given fund manager makes a bad call.

Recommended: What Every Investor Should Know About Risk

Pros and Cons of Investing in Art

Taking all of the above into consideration, it’s important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of investing in art.

Advantages

Art offers the potential for substantial returns.

There are many new opportunities for investing in art; would-be investors can consider art funds, fractional shares of art, and more.

Investing in art may offer portfolio diversification.

Some countries may offer tax breaks on art sales.

If you enjoy art and the art world, this type of investing can offer the potential for fun, travel, and aesthetic gratification.

Disadvantages

The art world is volatile and there is no way to know for sure what a given artist or work may be worth now or in years to come.

It’s difficult to authenticate works of art, and the risk of forgery is high.

Investing in art-related funds, stocks, or fractional shares are still relatively new types of instruments, and terms (fees, redemptions, illiquidity) may not be favorable.

Many types of physical artworks can be damaged or destroyed.

The current tax treatment of art gains in the United States is higher than long-term capital gains rates.

Pros

Cons

Potential for gains Risk of losing money owing to art market volatility
New ways to invest in art; i.e. art funds, fractional shares Like some alternative investments, art is not heavily regulated by the SEC
May provide portfolio diversification Highly illiquid and opaque
Some countries offer tax breaks on art sales Art gains subject to higher taxes than long-term capital gains
Owning art is aesthetically gratifying Risk of damage and loss

Returns on Art Investments Over Time

Just as the art world is expanding to offer new options to investors, it’s also adopting certain investment world conventions, such as art indices. Now investors can consider the data provided by an index such as the Sotheby Mei Moses Index, which was modeled on the Case-Shiller Index for home prices.

That said, individual artworks are not securities — they are non-fungible and highly illiquid — and as such evaluating the “performance” of specific works or even certain sectors over time is difficult. Even taking into account the evolution of fractional art shares and art funds as investment vehicles, the lack of transparency around pricing (as well as regulation) can make it difficult for investors to make a satisfactory risk-reward assessment.

Unfortunately, this lack of transparency is part of the risk when investing in alternative assets.

The Takeaway

Investing in art offers some advantages, not least of which is the enjoyment of researching and purchasing individual works that fulfill a personal taste or passion. In addition, art is an alternative investment, meaning that it doesn’t move in tandem with traditional markets. As such, it can offer portfolio diversification.

But like many alternative assets, art can be highly volatile and illiquid. As a whole, although art investment opportunities have expanded into art funds and owning fractional shares of artworks, art as an investment is not transparent or well regulated. That said, for the right investor, this asset class may provide unique opportunities.

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FAQ

What is the best art to invest in?

The best art to invest in is art you know well and has a value you feel confident in. That might be an individual piece by a certain artist, or it might be fractional shares in well-known or even famous works. Whatever route you choose, treat it like any other investment: do the necessary research, and understand the potential risks and rewards.

Will the art you choose increase in value?

As with any type of investment there are no guarantees. Some works of art appreciate steadily over time, some enjoy a sudden rise in value if market trends are favorable, while other art you might invest in could rapidly lose value. This is why it’s essential for any investor interested in art to fully understand how these alternative assets might fit into your portfolio, or not.


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Alternative investments, including funds that invest in alternative investments, are risky and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments often employ leveraging and other speculative practices that increase an investor's risk of loss to include complete loss of investment, often charge high fees, and can be highly illiquid and volatile. Alternative investments may lack diversification, involve complex tax structures and have delays in reporting important tax information. Registered and unregistered alternative investments are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds.
Please note that Interval Funds are illiquid instruments, hence the ability to trade on your timeline may be restricted. Investors should review the fee schedule for Interval Funds via the prospectus.

Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
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Guide to Yankee Certificates of Deposit

Guide to Yankee Certificates of Deposit

A Yankee certificate of deposit is a special type of CD that’s issued domestically by a branch of a foreign bank.

Yankee CDs, sometimes referred to as YCDs in finance, have several features that set them apart from other types of CDs, including higher minimum deposit requirements, short terms, and a lack of FDIC protection.

For those reasons, it’s helpful to understand how a Yankee certificate of deposit investment works and the potential risks involved.

What Is a Yankee Certificate of Deposit?

To understand what a Yankee certificate of deposit is, it’s helpful to know how a certificate of deposit works in general.

A regular CD is a deposit account that requires investors to lock up their cash for a fixed period of time (typically a few months to a few years), and in exchange pays a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account and as much or more than a high-yield savings account.

CDs purchased at a bank are generally FDIC insured up to $250,000 (CDs bought at a credit union are insured by the National Credit Union Association up to the same amount).

By contrast, a Yankee certificate of deposit is a CD account that’s issued by a branch of a foreign bank in the U.S., to U.S. customers. In general, the term of a Yankee certificate deposit is less than a year, and the minimum deposit required is more in line with a jumbo CD.

So, for example, a Canadian bank that has branches in the U.S. could offer Yankee CDs to U.S. residents. Even though the CDs would be issued by a foreign bank, they would still be subject to U.S. regulation by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Board. But a Yankee certificate of deposit would not be federally insured.

Foreign banks that operate in the U.S. can issue Yankee CDs in order to generate capital for making loans or investments. These CDs can be purchased at issuance or on the secondary market.

Recommended: What is Liquid Net Worth

How Yankee CDs Work

As noted above, Yankee CDs work much the same as other types of deposit accounts that are CDs. There are some differences, however, with regard to:

•   Minimum deposits

•   Interest rates

•   Maturity terms

•   Investment risk

Minimum Deposits

Though you might be able to invest in a standard CD with $500 or $1,000, a Yankee certificate of deposit investment might require an initial deposit of $1 million or more. Scotiabank, for instance, issues its Yankee CDs in increments of $250,000 while UBS requires a $1 million minimum deposit for Yankee CDs offered through its Stamford, CT, branch.

A CD of this size issued by a U.S. institution could be categorized as a negotiable CD or NCD. NCDs have a face value of $100,000 or more. But Yankee CDs are not negotiable CDs because they are not FDIC insured.

Fixed and Variable Rates

Interest rates for Yankee CDs may be fixed or variable, which is another difference from other CDs which typically offer a fixed rate, making them more predictable instruments for fixed-income investors.

Shorter Terms

Maturity terms for a Yankee certificate of deposit tend to be shorter (one to three years, depending on the issuer), while regular CDs can have terms ranging from 28 days up to 10 years. The investor cannot access their cash until the CD matures, without triggering an early withdrawal penalty.

Potential Risk

Perhaps the biggest difference between Yankee CDs and other types of CDs is the level of risk involved. Generally speaking, CDs are considered to be safe investments since they offer a practically guaranteed rate of return, and deposits are federally insured up to a certain amount. Yankee CDs, on the other hand, carry certain risks including credit risk and the possibility of lower-than-expected returns if you’re choosing a variable-rate option.

Recommended: Average Savings by Age

Why Does a Yankee CD Matter?

Yankee CDs are not something the everyday investor is likely to be concerned with. After all, most people don’t have $1 million or $50 million to invest into a single CD.

If you’re able to invest in a Yankee CD, however, it’s possible that you could earn a higher rate of return for your money. That could be important to you if you’re working on building wealth and want to diversify your portfolio.

Are CDs smart investments? They can be, if you’re comfortable leaving money in a CD account until it reaches maturity. Again, with a Yankee certificate of deposit you may be looking at a one- to three-year wait until the CD matures. So given the higher deposit requirements involved, it’s important to consider how comfortable you are typing up larger amounts for that long, and what kind of return you can expect.

From a banking perspective, Yankee CDs matter because they’re a source of capital for foreign banks, which may need U.S. dollars to cover domestic obligations.

Yankee CDs: Real World Example

Scotiabank is one example of a Canadian bank that offers Yankee CDs to U.S.-based savers. The bank, headquartered in Toronto, offers both floating-rate and fixed- rate Yankee certificates of deposit. The bank’s floating-rate products have maturity terms ranging from two to three years, with minimum deposits of $250,000 and target principal amounts ranging from $50 million to $90 million.

The fixed-rate Yankee CD earns an impressive yield and requires a minimum deposit of $250,000, with a target principal amount of $100 million. The maturity period for this CD is also two years. Scotiabank offers these CDs exclusively to institutional investors who are accredited.

Special Considerations for Yankee CDs

There are two important things to keep in mind with a Yankee certificate of deposit investment. First, investors assume a certain amount of credit risk with these CDs.

The quality of these CDs is determined by the credit rating of the issuing bank. Banks with lower credit ratings may be more likely to default on financial obligations, including the payment of interest to CD holders. Tying up large amounts of money in Yankee certificates of deposit issued by banks with questionable credit ratings could therefore be risky.

Second, it’s important to keep in mind that FDIC protection does not apply to these CDs. Ordinarily, CDs issued at FDIC-insured banks are protected up to $250,000 per depositor, per financial institution, per account ownership type, in the rare event that the bank fails. With Yankee CDs, you don’t have that reassurance that your money is safe should the worst happen.

How to Open a Yankee CD

Opening a Yankee isn’t that different from opening any other type of CD. Here are the main steps involved:

•   Locate banks that offer Yankee CDs in the U.S.

•   Compare the Yankee certificates of deposit available, including the minimum deposit and interest rate.

•   Complete the application to open an account.

•   Make your initial deposit.

As noted, it’s important to choose a financial institution with good credit ratings. So you may want to take the additional step of checking credit ratings to measure the bank’s financial health and strength.

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Alternatives to Yankee CDs

If you’re looking for CD options that may be more accessible than Yankee CDs, there are some other possibilities. You could use any of the following to reach your savings goals:

•   Standard CDs. A standard CD is a regular CD offered by a bank or credit union that pays interest and has a reasonable minimum deposit.

•   Jumbo CDs. Jumbo CDs are similar to standard CDs but have larger minimum deposit requirements. For example, you may need $10,000 or more to open a jumbo CD.

•   No-penalty CDs. A no-penalty CD allows you to withdraw money from your CD before its maturity date without triggering an early withdrawal penalty.

•   Bump up CDs. Raise your rate or bump up CDs allow you to raise your interest rate once or twice during the CD term. This type of CD might be attractive if you expect rates to rise.

•   Add-on CDs. An add-on CD allows you to make additional deposits to your account after your CD has been opened. Ordinarily, CDs don’t allow additional deposits.

You may also consider CD-secured loans if you’re interested in a CD product that can help you build credit. With a CD-secured loan your CD serves as collateral. Your money stays in the CD until maturity, earning interest. Meanwhile, you make payments to the loan which can be reported to the credit bureaus.

Once the CD matures, you can withdraw the principal and interest or roll it into a new CD. You also get the benefit of on-time payment history, which can help to improve your credit score.

The Takeaway

A Yankee certificate of deposit is issued domestically by a branch of a foreign bank to U.S. investors. Yankee CDs are designed to help investors earn a solid return while allowing foreign banks to raise capital via U.S. investors. Due to their high minimum deposit requirements (as much as $1 million or more), these CDs may be better suited to some investors than others; they’re sometimes restricted to institutional investors.

Yankee CDs may offer competitive rates, but they are not federally insured like most U.S.-issued CDs.
If a Yankee CD doesn’t suit your needs, you might want to consider alternatives, such as a regular CD or a high-yield checking account or checking and savings account instead.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.


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FAQ

Can you lose money on a certificate of deposit?

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are generally a safe, secure way to save money. It’s possible, however, to lose money with a Yankee CD if the bank that issued it is unable to meet its financial obligations and pay interest to investors as scheduled.

What are the cons of a certificate of deposit?

Certificates of deposit may offer lower rates of return compared to other investments, which means your money might have less potential for growth. With bank CDs, savers may face early withdrawal penalties if they take money from their accounts before the CD matures.

How do I redeem a certificate of deposit?

If your CD is reaching maturity or you need to withdraw money for any other reason, you can visit a branch to redeem your CD or do so online if your bank allows it. You’ll need to specify how much money you want to withdraw and where that money should be sent if you’re redeeming CDs online.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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4.60% APY
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

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Guide to a Retirement Money Market Account

Guide to a Money Market Account Held Within a Retirement Account

When you open an individual retirement account (IRA) or 401(k), you can generally choose from a variety of different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, options, real estate, and more. You may also be able to put some of the money in a money market account, where it will typically earn a higher annual percentage yield (APY) than in a traditional savings account yet still remain liquid.

While you might choose to keep most of your retirement savings in potentially higher-return investments, it may make sense to keep some of your retirement funds in a money market account, since it is a relatively low-risk place to store cash. Even if the return may be lower than other investments, it’s predictable.

Another reason to have some of your retirement money in a money market account is to serve as a holding place as you sell investments or transfer money between investments.

Unlike a regular money market account, a money market account that is offered as a component of a retirement account is subject to the benefits and restrictions of those accounts. Here’s what else you need to know about retirement accounts that offer a money market component.

What Is a Money Market Account That Can Be Used for Retirement?

While there is no such thing as a “retirement money market account,” some retirement accounts allow you to keep some of your money in a money market within the account. The money market account (MMA) could be within a traditional, rollover, or Roth IRA, a 401(k), or other retirement account, which means those funds are governed by the rules of that account.

If the MMA is a component of a traditional IRA, that means you can contribute pre-tax dollars (up to certain limits), your money can grow tax deferred, and you won’t be able to withdraw funds before age 59 ½ without paying taxes and penalties.

Money held in the money market component is liquid. This is usually where money is held when you first transfer money into your retirement account, or when you sell other investments in your account. You can use the funds in the money market to purchase investments within the retirement account.

Recommended: The Different Between an Investment Portfolio and a Savings Account

What Is a Money Market Fund?

Bear in mind an important distinction: A money market fund, which is technically a type of mutual fund, is different from a money market account. A money market fund is an investment that holds short-term securities (and is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC). For example, these funds may hold government bonds, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, cash and cash equivalents.

A money market account is essentially a type of high-yield savings account and it’s FDIC insured up to $250,000.

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How Does a Money Market Within Your IRA Work?

If you are starting a retirement fund that has a money market component to it, you’ll want to make sure that you understand how these money market accounts work. One major way they differ from regular money market accounts is that they are governed by a retirement plan agreement.

This can place some limits on what you can do with the money. Typically, that will mean that you can’t withdraw the money until you have reached a certain age. But one advantage is that the money in the account will grow tax-free or tax-deferred (depending on what type of retirement account it is in).

For example, a money market account in a Roth IRA would follow different rules than money in a traditional IRA.

•   You can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA, but a Roth IRA is funded with after-tax money.

•   You can’t withdraw money from a traditional IRA until you’re 59 ½, except under special circumstances.

•   Because contributions to a Roth are post tax, you can withdraw your contributions at any time (but not the earnings).

Advantages of a Money Market Account Held Within a Retirement Account

•   Since these accounts are held at a bank, they are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. By contrast, money held in a brokerage account is not FDIC-insured.

•   The money market component can be used to store proceeds of the sales of stocks, bonds, or other investments.

•   Many money market accounts offer the ability to write checks against the account (just keep in mind that withdrawals are subject to restrictions).

Disadvantages of a Money Market Account Held Within a Retirement Account

•   Money market accounts offer a relatively low rate of return compared to what you might be able to earn in the market over time.

•   Opening this type of money market account requires opening a retirement account.

•   You may not be able to withdraw money until retirement age without paying a penalty.

Money Market Account Within a Retirement Account vs Traditional Money Market Account

The biggest difference between a money market account that is a component of a retirement account vs. a traditional money market account is where they are held. Unlike a regular money market account, the money market component is held inside a retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA account.

While you can generally access money in a traditional money market account at any time, early withdrawal from a money market that is part of a retirement account can trigger taxes and penalties.

Recommended: What is an IRA and How Does it Work?

What Should I Know About Money Market Accounts Held Within IRAs?

If you are wondering how to save for retirement, there are a few things to keep in mind before opening a retirement account with a money market component.

The most important is that money put into the money market component is subject to the same conditions as any other money you invest into a retirement account. You generally will not be able to access it without penalty until you retire.

You’ll also want to bear in mind that these are low-risk, generally low-return accounts. The money that you deposit, or money that is automatically transferred, is not going to provide much growth.

In some cases, when you open a retirement account, the funds will be automatically deposited in the money market component. In these instances, be sure to check that the money in that part of your account is then used to purchase the securities you want. Given the relatively low yield of an MMA, you may only want a certain portion of your savings to remain there.

Opening a Money Market Account That Is Part of an IRA

If you want to put some of your retirement savings in a money market account, you likely won’t be able to open the account separately, as you can with a traditional MMA.

Instead, you would open a retirement account with your bank, brokerage firm, or company provider. Depending on your IRA custodian, they may automatically include a retirement money market account as an investment option inside your IRA account.

Does It Make Sense to Put Retirement Funds in a Money Market?

There are many different types of retirement plans, so you’ll want to make sure to choose the options that make the most sense for you. While it might make sense to put some money into the money market component of your 401(k) or IRA, you might not want to put much money in it.

The reason for this is due to the relatively low interest rate that money market accounts pay. In some cases, the interest rate may be lower than the rate of inflation. If so, the money kept in the money market component will lose purchasing power over time.

The one exception to this rule would be retirees who are currently living off of the money in their retirement accounts. These investors already in retirement will often want to keep some of their money in money market accounts so they have to worry less about market volatility.

Alternatives to Money Market Accounts Held Within Retirement Accounts

There are any number of low-risk alternatives to money market accounts within retirement accounts, including vehicles outside a retirement account, such as a high-yield savings account. For similar alternatives within a retirement account, you could consider investing in bonds, bond funds, and other lower risk investment options.

The Takeaway

A money market account is often a component of a retirement account, such as an IRA or 401(k). This type of account has the advantages of being FDIC-insured and fairly liquid. However, it may not earn enough interest to outpace inflation. Many investors will want to keep the money in their retirement accounts in investments that can provide higher rates of return. That said, one advantage to keeping some of your retirement funds in a money market is that it can become part of the low-risk, cash/cash equivalents portion of your portfolio.

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FAQ

Can you keep some of your retirement funds in a money market account?

Yes, some retirement accounts offer a money market component. To keep some of your retirement savings in a money market account, you’ll need to open up an individual retirement account (IRA), 401(k), or other type of retirement account. Many retirement account custodians will include a money market account as one “investment“ option for your account.

What is the difference between an IRA and a money market account?

A standard money market account is similar to a regular savings account. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is an account that allows you to save for retirement with tax-free growth or on a tax-deferred basis. An IRA account can be used to invest in a variety of different ways. Many IRAs will have a money market component to them.

What is the difference between a money market account and a 401(k)?

A money market account is similar to a savings account in that the money is liquid and earns interest. A 401(k) is a special tax-advantaged account designed to help people prepare for retirement.

With a 401(k), contributions are typically tax-deductible and the money grows tax-deferred until retirement. By contrast, a money market account is funded with after-tax dollars, and there are no tax benefits associated with these accounts. The only exception is if the money market account is a component of a retirement account. In that case, it is governed by the rules of the retirement account it’s in.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Eggs on a seesaw

How Often Should You Rebalance Your Portfolio?

Rebalancing your portfolio refers to tweaking the specific mix of assets and investments an investor owns. Once an investor has put together their portfolio, they’ll be faced with the question of how often to rebalance that portfolio to maintain an ideal mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets, in order to maintain a degree of diversification.

Generally, investors can rebalance their portfolios as often or as little as they want. It all depends on individual circumstances and goals.

What Is Portfolio Rebalancing?

Portfolio rebalancing is a way to adjust the asset mix of investments. It means realigning the assets of a portfolio’s holdings to match an investor’s desired asset allocation.

The desired allocation of investments in an investor’s portfolio — a combination of assets like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, and real estate — should be made with individual risk tolerance and financial goals in mind.

For example, an investor with a conservative risk tolerance might build a portfolio more heavily weighted towards less volatile assets, like bonds. The conservative investor may have a portfolio with 60% bonds and 40% stocks. In contrast, a younger investor may be more comfortable with riskier assets and build a portfolio with more stocks. The younger investor’s portfolio may have an asset allocation of 70% stocks and 30% bonds.

Over time, however, the different asset classes will likely have varying returns. So the amount of each asset changes — one stock or fund might have such high returns it eventually grows to be a more significant portion of the portfolio than an investor wants.

For example, if the younger investor aims to have 70% stocks and stock prices go up drastically during a year, the portfolio may consist of 80% stocks. That’s when it could be time for the investor to rebalance to maintain the target allocation of stocks.

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Why You Should Consider Rebalancing Your Portfolio

Investors may want to rebalance their portfolios as a method to maintain their target asset allocation. This can help investors stay on track to reach long-term financial goals.

The target asset allocation is a plan outlining the percentage of each asset class an investor wants to hold in their portfolio. A target asset allocation is based on investor goals and risk tolerance.

It might be tempting to think that if a specific asset has outperformed, one should keep a higher portion of their portfolio in that asset and not rebalance. But if an investor doesn’t rebalance, the portfolio may eventually drift away from the target asset allocation. This might be a problem because it can change the amount of risk in a portfolio.

How Often Do You Need to Rebalance Your Portfolio?

Investors can rebalance their portfolios whenever they want, depending on personal preferences. However, some investors rebalance their portfolios at set time points, whether monthly, quarterly, or annually.

For many people, it makes sense to use these time markers to examine the asset allocation of their portfolios and decide if their investments need adjusting. This time-based approach makes it easier to get in the habit of rebalancing.

The downside of rebalancing at set calendar points is that investors may risk rebalancing needlessly. For example, if an investor’s portfolio drifted just 1% from stocks to bonds at the end of the quarter doesn’t mean they should rebalance. Rebalancing a portfolio with little asset drift might lead to unnecessary transaction costs and other investment fees.

In contrast, other investors rebalance at set allocation points — when the weights of assets in a portfolio change a certain amount. An investor may rebalance a portfolio when the target asset allocation drifts a certain percentage, like 5% or 10%.

Determining how often an investor should rebalance their portfolio also depends on how active they want to be in their investment management and what stage of life they’re in — maybe those closer to retirement will want to rebalance more frequently as a risk-avoidance strategy.

💡 Quick Tip: When you’re actively investing in stocks, it’s important to ask what types of fees you might have to pay. For example, brokers may charge a flat fee for trading stocks, or require some commission for every trade. Taking the time to manage investment costs can be beneficial over the long term.

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How to Rebalance Your Portfolio

An investor can rebalance a portfolio themselves by selling some assets that are above the target asset allocation and using the proceeds to buy up securities that are below the target allocation.

Investors who plan to rebalance their portfolios should keep track of quarterly and monthly statements from their brokerage and retirement accounts. These statements will give an investor a sense of the value of a portfolio and the overall asset allocation. Once the investor has a handle on rebalancing to reach a target allocation, they’ll need to buy and sell shares or securities to maintain their ideal asset allocation.

However, there can be a fine line between prudent rebalancing and potentially harmful overtrading. While many people like to be involved and actively manage their portfolios, the downside is that active trading can lead to trading at the wrong time. Further, buying and selling shares may incur fees, which eats into the gains or any strategy an investor is trying to execute by rebalancing.

Different Types of Portfolio Rebalancing

There are several ways to rebalance investments for different goals and life stages. Three major strategies include rebalancing to ensure investments are still diversified, using so-called “smart beta” strategies, and rebalancing retirement accounts.

Rebalancing for Diversification

The most basic form of rebalancing is maintaining a diversified portfolio. Over time, a portfolio can become less diverse, as different assets have different rates of return and make up a more significant percentage of the invested money. This is where rebalancing comes in.

For example, assume an investor has a $100,000 portfolio composed of $60,000 in stocks and $40,000 in bonds. After one year, the value of the stock holdings increased by 30%, while the bonds grew by 5%. This portfolio now has a value of $120,000: $78,000 worth of stocks — 65% of the portfolio — and $42,000 worth of bonds — 35% of the portfolio. In this case, the investor would sell enough stocks to get back down to 60% of the portfolio, or $72,000, and buy bonds to get the allocation up to 40%, or $48,000.

An investor would likely have more detailed and sophisticated allocation goals in the real world, but this example illustrates how some simple arithmetic can guide rebalancing.

Smart Beta Rebalancing

Another approach to asset allocation is known as smart beta, a strategy that combines passive index investing with more discretionary active investing strategies. Smart beta rebalancing is typically done by portfolio managers of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

With passive index investing, an investor buys a fund consisting of stocks that track the performance of a benchmark index, like the whole S&P 500. The stocks in these index funds are weighted based on their market capitalization. The managers of the index funds handle the rebalancing of holdings when market caps shift.

Smart beta is rules-based, like index investing. But instead of tracking a benchmark index weighted towards market cap, funds with smart beta strategies hold securities in areas of the market where managers think there are inefficiencies. Additionally, smart beta funds consider volatility, quality, liquidity, size, value, and momentum when weighting and rebalancing holdings. In this way, smart beta adds an element of active investing to passive investing. And as with index investing, investors can employ a smart beta strategy by buying smart beta mutual funds or ETFs, though they come with higher fees.

Rebalancing Retirement Accounts

In many cases, retirement savings are in investment accounts. Investors need to be aware of the allocation and balances of their retirement accounts, whether they’re 401(k)s, IRAs, or a combination thereof.

The principles at play are similar to any portfolio rebalancing, but investors need to consider changing risk tolerance as they get closer to retirement. Generally, investors will adopt a more conservative target asset allocation as they near retirement. Target date funds typically work by automatically rebalancing over time from stocks to bonds as investors get closer to retirement.

For investors to stay on top of this themselves, they’ll need to know how they want their investments allocated each year as they get closer to retirement and then use quarterly or annual rebalancing to buy and sell securities to hit those allocation targets.

The Takeaway

Rebalancing an investment portfolio can help investors stay on track to meet their long-term goals. By ensuring that there is a steady mix of assets in their portfolio, they can stay on top of their investments to work with their risk tolerance and financial needs.

There are ways investors can rebalance their portfolios on their own and use different strategies. Rebalancing, allocation, and diversification are important concepts for investors to understand, and may help investors generate returns aligned with their goals over the long term when used wisely.

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


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What Is Market Overhang?

What Is Market Overhang?

Market overhang is a market phenomenon whereby investors hold off trading a stock that’s seen a drop in price, because the expectation is the price will drop even further. A market or stock overhang can be precipitated by the awareness that a large block of shares — say, from an institutional investor — is about to hit the market, potentially driving a stock’s price down.

But it can result from other factors as well. Although the event has not happened, investors may hesitate to sell or buy shares in anticipation of price drop — and this can further depress the stock price. While there is also a business use of the term “overhang,” for investors, it may be useful to focus on how market overhang works in finance, specifically.

Market Overhang Definition

In its broadest use, an overhang describes a somewhat artificial market condition brought on by an anticipated shift in supply and demand (aka the price of a stock). Market overhang has a couple of uses in the business and finance worlds, and in an IPO market as well.

What Is an Overhang in Business?

An overhang in a business context can refer to the practice whereby a company, typically an industry leader, delays the release of a new product in order to stoke greater consumer demand for that product.

A familiar example might be the release of a new technology product or video game. The anticipation of the new release may cause consumers to avoid buying other products as they wait for the arrival of the new one. The overhang may result in lower purchases for existing products — and higher purchases of the newly released product. While this practice can be considered manipulative, it’s not uncommon.

What Is an Overhang in Finance?

More commonly: An overhang in finance is used to describe a dynamic that’s specific to how investors’ expectation about supply and demand can impact a company’s share price.
A market overhang is when a stock’s price declines because investors expect a further price drop on the horizon. Thus, some shareholders may hesitate to sell their shares, because that could further drive down the share price. Other investors may also hesitate to buy shares because of the anticipated price drop.

The business use of the term and the finance use describe different situations, but the common element is how investors’ anticipation of a future event can impact a company’s revenues or share price.

Needless to say, a market overhang can cast a shadow over a company’s performance, influencing share price, liquidity, and more, especially if the situation is prolonged. In many cases, though, market overhang is relatively short-lived and temporary. The difficulty for investors is knowing when the overhang, like bad weather, is finally going to pass. To that end, it helps to know some conditions that can cause a market overhang.

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💡 Quick Tip: How to manage potential risk factors in a self-directed investment account? Doing your research and employing strategies like dollar-cost averaging and diversification may help mitigate financial risk when trading stocks.

How Market Overhang Is Created

There are a few conditions that can lead to a market overhang. Often these conditions can overlap.

A Stock Decline

The first is where a stock is already declining, perhaps owing to a change in key economic indicators or market conditions, and there is a buildup of selling pressure as investors hesitate to let go of their shares in a down market. This type of market overhang may be resolved once there are signs of price stability (even if it’s at a lower level).

The Role of Institutional Investors

Another type of stock overhang can be created by institutional investors — or companies that manage investments on behalf of clients or members of a firm. Institutional investors tend to have a larger stake in a particular stock compared with individual investors. This means that when the institutional investor plans to sell a large portion of their shares, a market overhang could kick in when investors become aware of this possible sale.

The anticipation of a large block of shares entering the market could drive prices down, and thus investors might hold off trading this particular stock — affecting its price, even before the institutional investor has made a move.

The stock overhang might be worse if it occurs during a price decline. In that case, investors may see the decline in share price, become aware that a large investor may sell a block of shares (which could further depress the price), become even more wary of buying or selling the company’s shares.

IPOs and Market Overhang

A third way that market overhang may occur is after an initial public offering (IPO). An IPO market can be a hot market, after all, and a company may get significant press coverage as its IPO approaches, which can drive up the stock price.

But if the IPO isn’t a big hit, and the share price isn’t what investors hoped (in IPO terms), there might be a bit of an overhang as investors wait for the lock-up period to end. The lock-up period is when company insiders can sell their shares, potentially flooding the market and further lowering the price.

Understanding the Effects of Market Overhang

Market overhang can last for a few weeks or even months — sometimes longer. The chief impact of a market overhang is that it can artificially depress the price of a stock, and if the market overhang is prolonged, that can have a negative impact on company performance.

As noted above, a market overhang typically ends when a stock price stabilizes. Unfortunately that often occurs at a lower price point than before the shares began to decline.

Example of Market Overhang

While some consider the market overhang phenomenon more anecdotal than technical, it’s something to watch out for. It could present an opportunity. And it doesn’t require a complicated, technical stock analysis to understand.

For example, let’s say a large tech company is trading at $300 a share. But there are reports that the company has been facing some headwinds, and it may undergo a rebranding and repositioning. In the face of this change and uncertainty, it’s natural that it might impact company performance and the share price might wobble a bit. But then, if enough investors are concerned about the company’s “new direction,” there could be a bigger shift in trading behavior that might further depress the share price in advance of the company pivot — creating an overhang.

While this isn’t ideal for current shareholders, a market overhang like this could be a “buy” opportunity for other investors. It depends on a number of factors, and it’s always important to understand market trends as well as company fundamentals. But it’s possible that some investors may view the company as a good prospect, despite a currently undervalued share price, and buy shares with the hope they might rise to their previous levels.

Why Market Overhang Matters

Market overhang is a valuable phenomenon for investors to be aware of, largely because it reflects many of the basic tenets of behavioral finance, which is the study of how emotions can impact financial choices. A market overhang could be viewed as the result of loss aversion and herd mentality — two well-documented behavioral patterns among investors.

Loss aversion is, as it sounds, the wish to avoid incurring losses. Herd mentality is, not surprisingly, the tendency for investors to behave as a group: buying or selling in waves. You can see how these two very human impulses — to protect oneself from losses, and to follow the herd — might create a market overhang.

The good news, though, is that investors are capricious and markets can be volatile, which means the market overhang will usually pass, and the stock will regain its normal momentum, whatever that may be. As an investor watching the market change, it’s up to you whether a stock overhang might present a buy opportunity or a sell opportunity — if you need to harvest some losses, for tax purposes.

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What Market Overhang Means for Shareholders

Market overhang affects different shareholders differently. Since institutional investors tend to be the ones who create market overhang, they also tend to have the upper hand on what it means for their investments.

Regular investors might worry that some of their shares are losing value. But with the ebbs and flows of the stock market, a price can rise and fall at various times throughout the year — even throughout a given day. Fluctuation is normal and this is part of the risk in investing in the stock market. Consider waiting out the storm to make an informed decision. There’s a chance the stock could rise to new highs and your investment will be worth even more.

The Takeaway

A market overhang is a type of trend that is considered more behavioral in nature, but it can be worthwhile for investors to keep it in mind when a stock isn’t performing as expected. In some cases, when investors anticipate an event that could drive down a stock’s price, they may hold off on trading that stock, further depressing the price and creating a market overhang. In that sense, a market overhang can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Institutional investors can create a market overhang, for example, when they contemplate selling a large portion of their holdings. This might spook other investors, who likewise decide not to trade their shares, creating a sort of temporary downward spiral in the share price. But because two common investor dynamics are at play here — the fear of losses, and the desire to comply with what other investors are doing — the emotions are usually temporary, and the market overhang passes.

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