5 Tips & Strategies for Your Uninvested Brokerage Cash
Spotted some uninvested cash in your brokerage account lately? Think of it not as idle change, but as a golden opportunity knocking at your door, or as a pathway to future financial prosperity. If you’re ready to make a move towards that prosperity but are still unsure where to start, we’ve outlined five strategies tailored to turn that dormant cash into a thriving investment.
Understanding What Uninvested Cash Is
When attempting to withdraw funds from platforms like Robinhood, for example, you've probably encountered the term “uninvested cash.” This refers to the money in an investor's brokerage account, accumulated from stock sales, dividends, and other sources of income.
On your brokerage statement, this appears prominently in the holdings summary. However, it's essential to understand that this isn't immediately accessible cash. It doesn't represent your actual buying power. To ascertain the precise amount available, one must account for deductions such as margin collateral and unsettled trades.
Key Strategies for Maximizing Your Uninvested Cash
Here are five strategies to ensure your uninvested cash doesn't remain stagnant:
Let it Sit
The simplest approach is to let your uninvested cash remain untouched. A cash sweep program is a standard feature offered by many brokerages. It's designed to automatically transfer, or "sweep," any uninvested cash from a client's brokerage account into an interest-bearing account.
This could be a money market account, a bank deposit account, or other short-term investment options that the brokerage firm partners with. While this provides some return, it's worth noting that the typical Annual Percentage Yield (APY) hovers around a mere 0.01%.
Leverage a Cash Management Account (CMA)
Offered by brokerages and non-banks, CMAs are the Swiss Army knives of finance, blending the best of checking, savings, and investment. Cash management accounts usually come with better interest rates than most traditional savings accounts, as well as with a much larger selection of investment tools.
Establish a Payment Account
Instead of letting your cash accumulate negligible interest, consider a payment bank account. This will ensure seamless transfers between assets, and make it so that your cash is basically always working for you. Whether it's groceries, bills, or vacations, a linked payment account ensures your cash isn't languishing.
Diversify with ETFs, Stocks, or Bonds
For investors who are looking to make their unused cash work for them in the long term, investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks or bonds can be a highly lucrative option.
Bonds and stocks will allow you to pick specific sectors or individual companies that you believe will appreciate in value, while ETFs provide exposure to a variety of different asset classes. This diversification strategy enables you to reinvest your stock sale gains back into the market, ensuring that your uninvested brokerage cash continues to grow over time.
Consider Ultra-Short Bond Funds
For a balance between risk and return, ultra-short bond funds are worth exploring. Investing in fixed-income securities with maturities under a year, they offer steady income with relatively low risk. However, they're not FDIC-insured, so thorough research is paramount.
Uninvested brokerage cash, while idle, presents numerous opportunities. The strategies above range from passive interest accumulation to aggressive investment, and choosing the right one comes down to your personal goals and risk tolerance.
Remember, unlike retirement accounts, brokerage accounts don't offer tax benefits, so consulting a tax advisor is always a wise move.
What is brokerage cash?
Brokerage cash, often termed uninvested cash, refers to the funds deposited in a brokerage firm that are not yet invested. This uninvested cash usually comes from dividends, stock sales, or direct transfers.
Is brokerage cash accessible on Robinhood?
While uninvested funds appear on your Robinhood statement, immediate withdrawal isn't possible. Deductions like margin collateral and unsettled trades need accounting, and accessing these funds requires a transfer to a checking or savings account. Conversely, your buying power, the bottom-line sum, is readily available.
How can I optimize my brokerage cash?
Uninvested cash can be channeled into bills, shopping, interest-bearing accounts, CMAs, stocks, or ultra-short bond funds. While earning interest is an option, with prevailing APYs around 0.01%, it's not advisable to let significant sums remain uninvested for extended periods.
Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.
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