Elon Musk Says the Storm Is Coming and to Stash Cash: The Top Low-Risk Cash Ideas for 2023

Last year was the proverbial train wreck meets the dumpster fire. All the major indexes closed lower to end 2022, with the Nasdaq leading the way. The tech-heavy index closed down a stunning 33% last year, while the S&P 500 barely dodged bear market status by closing 19.44% lower. The Dow Jones industrials fared the best, down 8.82%. It marked the worst year for stocks since the 2008 financial crisis.

So things look like they will be getting better in 2023 right? Well, perhaps not, according to Elon Musk. The Twitter and Tesla chief executive and principal owner said that he feels that the next 18 months could be very rocky, and he advised investors to hoard cash and keep their powder dry.

While good advice, as interest rates likely are close to the top, they probably still are going higher. Inflation, which appears to have peaked, is also still at a very disruptive 7% year-over-year rate. That is not good for most of us, who likely did not get a 7% raise to cover the increase in prices.

Many strategists on Wall Street are in the same camp as Musk, and most think we do indeed have a recession emerging. However, many feel that the second half of 2023 could be the turning point for stocks and the economy, instead of Musk’s 2024 prediction. While the advice to hoard cash is solid, it is a lot easier for one of the richest men in the world than for the average investor.

We decided to look for cash-related ideas that could be helpful to those who want to play it safe after a wretched 2022 but who may want to have liquidity so they can be ready to get in the game when the market looks like it is ready to bounce back. With rates on the short end the highest in years, conservative investors finally may have hit the perfect storm jackpot.

American Express High-Yield Savings

Insured up to $250,000 this is one of the best ideas for investors seeking safety and liquidity, and the ability to move funds in and out (with restrictions) between the American Express account and a personal checking or savings account. Yielding a very solid 3.3% with no charges to investors, this is an outstanding cash idea for those seeking to preserve capital while getting a competitive interest rate yield.

Short Maturity U.S. Treasury Securities

Buying U.S. Treasury debt is another very solid idea now, but this is not as easy as buying high-yield savings accounts. Investors looking to own government securities likely will need a brokerage account, and a broker who knows how to put in orders for Treasury debt. With that in mind, look at the current yields now. These are the closing prints for 01/03/2023.

  • 3-month: 4.37%
  • 6-month: 4.78%
  • 1-year: 4.75%
  • 2-year: 4.40%

It is important to remember that the T-bill securities with maturities of a year and less are bought at a discount and accrue to the par pricing on expiration, while the two-year note pays dividends every 6 months.

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