Playing It Safe Is Not So Safe After All

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

A recent study found that Americans put a smaller portion of their savings in stock market investments than people from some other countries.

We think we're playing it safe by keeping the bulk of our money in cash instruments like low-interest earning CDs, Treasury bills and money market funds. But with interests rates ranging from 0.5% percent- 2.5 percent you can end up losing money. Inflation can eat away at those precious dollars and leave you living on less money than you started with.

Inflation can be a confusing concept but it doesn’t have to be. Inflation is the overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy. As the cost of goods and services increase, the value of a dollar is going to fall because you won't be able to purchase as much with that dollar as you previously could.

The annual rate of inflation has fluctuated greatly over the last half century, ranging from nearly zero inflation to 23 percent inflation, the Fed actively tries to maintain a specific rate of inflation, which is usually 2-3 percent but can vary depending on circumstances.

The lesson here is that you will earn more with a little more adventure in your soul. Sock away 3-6 months of living expenses in CDs, Treasury bills and money market funds. Invest the rest in the stock market. Too much cash in reserve can represent wasted opportunity for you and your family

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.