What Is An Example of A Short-Term Investment? Definition & What To Know

Written By Ben Broadwater

Updated November 8, 2023

Considering your time horizon, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and interest rate goals, what is an example of a short-term investment that meets your criteria?

There are many short-term investments to choose from. However, today we will only address some of the more common examples.


Short-term investments are financial investments that can be easily converted to cash, typically within five years. They are typically suitable for needs or goals that are more immediate or in the near future, such as saving for a down payment on a house, a new car, or a vacation.

what is an example of a short-term investment

Short-term investments offer a variety of benefits, including:

  • Liquidity: Short-term investments are typically highly liquid, meaning they can be converted to cash quickly and without penalty. This is important for investors who may need to access their money on short notice.
  • Low risk: Short-term investments are generally considered to be lower risk than long-term investments, such as stocks. This is because they are typically backed by the government or a financial institution.
  • Potential for return: Short-term investments can still offer the potential for a return on investment, although it will typically be lower than what is possible with long-term investments.

What Is An Example of A Short-Term Investment? – 5 Investment Options

There are a variety of different short-term investments available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common examples include:

High-Yield Savings Accounts

High-yield savings accounts are offered by online banks and credit unions. They typically pay interest rates that are several times higher than what traditional brick-and-mortar banks offer. For example, the national average interest rate on a savings account is currently 0.46%, while some high-yield savings accounts offer interest rates as high as 5%.

High-yield savings accounts are a good option for investors who want to earn a modest return on their money while still having easy access to it. Most high-yield savings accounts allow you to make unlimited withdrawals and transfers without penalty. However, some banks may limit the number of free ATM withdrawals you can make each month.

Money Market Accounts

Money market accounts are another type of savings account that offers higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts. However, they typically have higher minimum balance requirements and may have fees associated with them. For example, some money market accounts may require a minimum deposit of $1,000 or more. They may also charge monthly maintenance fees or fees for excessive withdrawals.

Money market accounts are a good option for investors who want to earn a slightly higher interest rate than a traditional savings account and who are willing to meet the higher minimum balance requirements and potential fees.

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Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CDs are offered by banks and credit unions. They offer a fixed interest rate for a specific period of time, typically ranging from a few months to several years. In exchange for agreeing to leave your money on deposit for the specified period of time, you earn a higher interest rate than you would on a traditional savings account.

CDs are a good option for investors who want to earn a guaranteed return on their investment for a specific period of time. However, it is important to note that CDs typically have early withdrawal penalties. This means that if you need to withdraw your money before the maturity date, you may have to pay a fee.

Government Bonds

Government bonds are issued by the federal government and are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. They are considered to be one of the safest types of investments available. Government bonds are typically sold at auction and can be purchased through a broker.

Government bonds offer a variety of maturities, ranging from a few months to several decades. The longer the maturity, the higher the interest rate. Government bonds are a good option for investors who want to earn a guaranteed return on their investment and who are willing to hold their investment for a longer period of time.

Treasury Bills

Treasury bills, also known as T-bills, are short-term government bonds that mature in one year or less. They are considered to be even safer than government bonds, but they typically offer lower interest rates. T-bills can be purchased through a broker or directly from the Treasury Department.

T-bills are a good option for investors who want to park their money for a short period of time and earn a safe return. They are also a good option for investors who are waiting to invest in other assets, such as stocks or real estate.

How To Choose the Right Short-Term Investment

When choosing a short-term investment, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Time horizon: How long do you plan to invest your money? This will help you determine which types of investments are suitable for your needs.
  • Risk tolerance: How much risk are you comfortable with? Some short-term investments, such as stocks, are riskier than others, such as government bonds.
  • Liquidity: How important is it to you to be able to access your money quickly and without penalty? Some short-term investments, such as CDs, may have early withdrawal penalties.
  • Interest rate: How important is it to you to earn a high return on your investment? Short-term investments typically offer lower interest rates than long-term investments.

It is also important to compare the different features and fees associated with different short-term investments before making a decision. This includes comparing the interest rate, minimum balance requirements, early withdrawal penalties, and other fees.

What Is An Example of A Short-Term Investment? – Final Thoughts

Short-term investments can be a good way to save for your short-term goals while also earning a modest return on your money. When choosing a short-term investment, it is important to consider your time horizon, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and interest rate goals. It is also important to compare the different features and fees associated with different investments before making a decision.

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