What Are Liquid Assets? Definition, Examples, Importance

What Are Liquid Assets? Definition, Examples, Importance

If a debt suddenly becomes due, the simplest way to meet that obligation is with cash. Physical currency is the only truly liquid asset, since it represents capital in its most accessible form. Because funds deposited in checking or savings accounts can generally be accessed almost immediately, they are also considered a liquid asset. A business that has a large proportion of liquid assets on its balance sheet is better able to pay for its obligations in a timely manner, and so is considered a good credit risk. A lender is more likely to loan funds to an entity with liquid assets, since these assets can be used as collateral on a loan.

Note that some items may have less liquidity based on terms of the vehicle. For example, some CDs can not be broken or require a substantial penalty for early termination. A liquid asset is cash on hand or an asset that can be easily converted to cash. In terms of liquidity, cash is supreme since cash as legal tender is the ultimate goal. Assets can then be converted to cash in a short time are similar to cash itself because the asset holder can quickly and easily get cash in a transaction exchange. Apart from cash, examples of liquid assets include marketable securities and money market instruments, among others.

Examples may include stocks, bonds, preferred shares of stock, index funds, or ETFs. In the case of banks, financial assets include the worth of the outstanding loans it has made to customers. In the case of an investment or asset management company, the financial assets include the money in the portfolios firm handles for clients, called assets under management (AUM). For example, BlackRock Inc. is the largest investment manager in the U.S. and in the world, judging by its $6.84 trillion in AUM (as of June 30, 2019). However, digging into Disney’s financial liquidity might paint a slightly different picture. At the end of fiscal year 2021, Disney reported having less than $16 billion of cash on hand, almost $2 billion less than the year before.

  1. Cash equivalents refer to any balance sheet item, such as bank accounts, that can be readily used to pay off bills in the short term.
  2. Analysts and investors use these to identify companies with strong liquidity.
  3. Without cash, a company can’t pay its bills to vendors or wages to employees.
  4. They may have to sell the books at a discount, instead of waiting for a buyer who is willing to pay the full value.
  5. Companies may also have obligations due from customers they’ve issued a credit to.
  6. Or maybe you’re a personal business owner with cash flow issues who’s on the hook to fulfill a large purchase order.

One of the best places to keep an emergency fund can be a high-yield savings account. Once you have a solid emergency fund in place, you can begin to use less liquid assets to achieve your longer-term financial goals. Liquid assets are usually current assets that can be converted to cash quickly while retaining their market value. These assets comprise the current asset portion of your balance sheet and are expected to be converted or used within a year. These factors can be important for individuals and investors when allocating for liquid vs. non-liquid assets and making investment decisions. Generally, several factors must exist for a liquid asset to be considered liquid.

Liquid assets to net worth ratio

Market liquidity refers to a market’s ability to allow assets to be bought and sold easily and quickly, such as a country’s financial markets or real estate market. Liquid assets can prove to be very helpful and important in case of financial emergencies. An asset which can be easily transformed into cash in less time and with no loss or little loss in value is known as a liquid asset. Liquid assets are usually compared with cash as the value remains the same whenever sold.

Knowing the total value of your liquid assets can be especially helpful if you’re struggling to pay for something in a sudden pinch. These liquid stocks are usually identifiable by their daily volume, which can be in the millions or even hundreds of millions of shares. On the other hand, low-volume stocks may be harder to buy or sell, as there may be fewer market participants and therefore less liquidity.

Completely liquid assets, like cash, may even fall victim to inflation, the gradual decrease in purchasing power over time. Assets come in a variety of types, and are spread across a spectrum of liquidity. Even among certain asset types, liquidity can vary — some real estate assets may be more liquid than others, for example. Liquidity is really a gauge of how much access an individual or business has to cash.

Financial Asset Definition and Liquid vs. Illiquid Types

The general rule of thumb is that if a business has six months of liquid assets to meet short-term obligations and cover operating expenses, it is in a good position financially. Liquid assets like checking and savings accounts have https://personal-accounting.org/ a limited return on investment (ROI) capability. ROI is the profit you receive from an asset divided by the cost of owning that asset. They may provide modest interest income but, unlike equities, they offer little appreciation.

Financial Liquidity By Asset Class

Excluding accounts receivable, as well as inventories and other current assets, it defines liquid assets strictly as cash or cash equivalents. Cash on hand is considered to be a liquid asset because it can be readily accessed. Cash is a legal tender that a company can use to settle its current liabilities. The money in your checking account, savings account, what is the meaning of liquid assets or money market account is considered liquid because it can be withdrawn easily to settle liabilities. Money market accounts usually do not have hold restrictions or lockup periods (i.e. you are not permitted to sell holdings for a specific period of time). In addition, the price is broadly communicated across a wide range of buyers and sellers.

Cash is the most liquid asset, and companies may also hold very short-term investments that are considered cash equivalents that are also extremely liquid. Companies often have other short-term receivables that may convert to cash quickly. Unsold inventory on hand is often converted to money during the normal course of operations. Companies may also have obligations due from customers they’ve issued a credit to. The things a business owns that contribute to its profitability but are not easily converted into currency are called fixed assets. Common examples of fixed assets include real estate, vehicles and equipment.

Real estate, including buildings and land, is one of the most common examples of an illiquid asset. Is your car rare, expensive, or custom (in which sellers may be disinterested)? There are many factors to contribute, although most cars can generally be sold quickly.

Some things you own such as your nicest shirt or food in your refrigerator might be able to sold quickly. Others such as a rare collectible coin or custom painting of your family may be a bit more difficult. The relative ease in which things can be bought or sold is referred to as liquidity. The above mentioned is the concept that is explained in detail about liquid assets. Now that your liquid assets are in order, are you ready to take a step toward homeownership? One thing you’ll notice is that most of the assets above have somewhat consistent prices and stable markets.


Nous nous préparons pour une saison 2024 passionnante ! Restez à l’écoute pour quelques changements majeurs et informations d’inscription. Rejoignez-nous pour notre soirée d'information du printemps le 9 avril.


We are getting ready for an exciting 2024 season! Stay tuned for some big changes and registration information. Join us for our Spring Info Night on April 9th.