LIQUIDITY: Meaning, How It Works & Measured

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Liquidity is how soon an investment may be sold without affecting its price in financial markets. The more liquid an investment is, the faster it may be sold (and vice versa), and the easier it is to sell it for fair value or current market value. This post explains what liquidity, liquidity ratios, and assets mean and how they relate to money.


Liquidity refers to how quickly you can get your money. Simply put, it is having money when you need it.

Liquidity could be your emergency savings account or cash on hand. You can seize opportunities with liquidity. It is complicated. But understanding your assets’ liquidity might help you assess your financial flexibility. Liquidity basics might help you choose assets.

If a terrific bargain comes up and you have cash and quick access to funds, it’s easier to pass. Cash, savings, and checking accounts are liquid assets because they can be changed into cash quickly.

How to Improve Liquidity

With these three simple tips, any organization can manage its cash flow and include it in its long-term plan:

#1. Monitor your liquidity.

“If you want to buy assets or grow, you want to measure where you are today and where you need to be,” Beniston says. He suggests using dashboards to keep track of growth and spot warning signs, such as a rise in debt or a drop in revenue. Monthly, quarterly or semi-annual tracking is possible.

#2. Utilize Liquidity to Plan

Liquidity assessment is important, but it’s even more useful when a company sets goals and measures liquidity with a purpose in mind. With your strategic plan, you can figure out what signs you need to see to reach your growth goals. Revenue targets and debt eradication goals are indications.

#3. Benchmark Against Your Industry

A shipbuilding company with plenty of equipment will be paid less frequently than a shop. By definition, the shipbuilder has less liquidity. That’s why organizations should compare their industry averages.

Types of Liquidity

While making financial decisions, there are a few different types of liquidity that are crucial to take into account.

#1. Accounting Liquidity

Accounting liquidity describes a borrower’s capacity to make timely loan payments. It alludes to a ratio that displays a person’s current obligations, or debts owing, and their capacity to pay those debts over the course of a year.

#2. Markets Liqudity

Market liquidity refers to how easy it is to buy and sell specific securities on financial markets. It tells how easy it is to buy or sell something quickly at a set price, usually on a stock exchange.

Liquidity Assets 

An asset is considered liquid if it can quickly and easily be turned into cash. Cash, money market securities, and marketable securities are examples of liquid assets. Keeping track of the liquid assets that make up a component of one’s net worth can be a worry for both individuals and organizations. On a company’s balance sheet, liquid assets are listed as “current assets” because they can be used right away.

Examples of Liquidity Assets

Liquidity assets include, for instance:

  • Money in coin and paper form (also in foreign currencies, if not too exotic)
  • Cheques
  • Balances in accounts
  • Treasuries banknotes and notes
  • Securities that can be traded on a stock exchange (e.g. shares, ETFs, funds, bonds)
  • Disputed accounts

Importance of a Liquidity Asset

Because they are utilized to fund ongoing operations, liquidity assets are particularly significant and important to businesses: Cash leaves the accounts as an expense and comes back in as income. Liquidity assets are used by businesses to fund investments and pay invoices.

On the balance sheet, all of a company’s assets are split into long-term and short-term categories based on how quickly they can be turned into cash. Short-term assets include assets that can be turned into cash in less than a year, such as cash on hand or assets that can be sold quickly. Accounts receivable with lengthy payment terms are the least liquid asset, whereas cash is.

Formula for Liquid Assets

There is a formula to figure out how many liquid assets there are:

Cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, and other liquid assets are all included.

If you want to learn more about the company’s liquidity position, you can compare the liquidity assets with other numbers, such as:

Current liabilities divided by liquidity assets is the quick ratio.

All of the company’s debts with maturities of one year or less are considered current liabilities (e.g., monthly loan instalments or outstanding supplier invoices).

The quick ratio shows how easily the corporation can cover all of its current liabilities with its liquid assets. The corporation has more cash on hand to finance operations when the quick ratio is higher.

Liquidity Ratios

Liquidity ratios are a group of important financial measurements that show how much a debtor can pay off without having to borrow money from somewhere else. Through the calculation of indicators like the current ratio, quick ratio, and operating cash flow ratio, liquidity ratios assess a company’s capacity to meet debt commitments as well as its margin of safety.

Liquidity ratios are a group of important financial measurements that show how much a debtor can pay off without having to borrow money from somewhere else. Quick, current, and days sales outstanding are examples of common liquidity ratios.

Types of Liquidity Ratios

These are the few types of liquidity ratios

#1. Current Ratio

The current ratio is calculated as current assets / current liabilities.

The current ratio is the most straightforward liquidity ratio to compute and analyze. The lines for current assets and current liabilities are easy to find on a business’s balance sheet. You may find the current ratio by dividing current assets by current liabilities.

#2. Quick Ratio

Marketable securities plus accounts receivable plus cash plus current liabilities equals the quick ratio.

The quick ratio is a measure of how liquid a company is that is stricter than the current ratio. In both, current assets are used as the numerator and current liabilities are used as the denominator.

#3. Cash Ratio.

The cash ratio is equal to current liabilities divided by cash and marketable securities.

The liquidity test is expanded upon using the cash ratio. The most liquid assets of a company—cash and marketable securities—are the only ones taken into account by this ratio. These are the resources a firm can use to meet short-term obligations the quickest.

Importance of Liquidity Ratios

#1. Ascertain your Capacity for Meeting Responsibilities That are Due Soon.

Investors and creditors use liquidity measures to figure out whether a company can pay its short-term debts and how well it can do so. An optimum ratio is 1, but a ratio of 1 is preferable to a ratio of less than 1.

Higher ratios, such as 2 or 3, are preferred by investors and creditors. The likelihood that a business can pay its short-term debts increases with the ratio’s level. A ratio of less than 1 indicates that the business may be in the midst of a crisis and has negative working capital.

#2 Establish creditworthiness

When deciding whether or not to lend money to a business, creditors look at its liquidity. They want to ensure that the organization they lend money to will be able to repay them. Any indication of financial instability may preclude a corporation from receiving loans.

#3. Evaluate Whether a Deal is Worth Making.

Investors will look at a company’s liquidity ratios to figure out if it is financially stable and worth their money. The rest of the business will also have limitations due to working capital concerns. 

Is It Good if Liquidity Is High? 

Liquidity is a measure of a company’s ability to pay its current debts without having to borrow money from outside sources or raise capital from outside the company. When a company has a lot of liquidity, it can easily pay its short-term debts. On the other hand, if it doesn’t have enough liquidity, it may soon go out of business.

Is 401K a Liquid Asset?

Retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s, are liquid assets, right? Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s, for example, are not truly liquid until you are 59 and 12 years old. If you take money out of your account before then, you can be charged taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

What Is a Liquid Millionaire? 

They contend that liquid assets (such as his cash, equities, and mutual funds) are the sole criteria for millionaire status using an alternate approach to wealth classification and analysis. John would be unlikely or unable to liquidate, or sell, all of his assets for money, even if he chose to do so, therefore the worth of his home, car, and personal possessions (such as antiques), shouldn’t count toward his millionaire status.

Why Is Liquidity So Important?

When markets aren’t liquid, it’s hard to sell assets or securities or turn them into cash. For example, you might have a very rare and valuable family heirloom that is worth $150,000. No one will pay even close to your object’s appraised value if there is no market (i.e., no buyers) for it since it is extremely illiquid. It might even be necessary to hire an auction house to find potential buyers and act as a broker, but this will take time and money.

Liquid assets, on the other hand, can be sold quickly and easily for their full value with few costs. In order to avoid a crisis that could lead to bankruptcy, businesses must also have enough cash on hand to pay their bills and other short-term obligations.

How Is Liquidity Measured?

Companies calculate liquidity using a variety of ratios. A corporation may use a variety of ratios to evaluate various aspects of liquidity.

  • Cash ratio: Your capacity to pay off short-term debt with cash or resources that can be converted into cash, such as liquid securities, is shown by your cash ratio.
  • current ratio This ratio gauges how well you can handle short-term debt, usually that which is due in less than a year.
  • Quick ratio for acid-testing: Only the most liquid assets are affected by the acid-test ratio, which assesses the capacity to settle existing outstanding debts as they become due.


The term “liquidity” describes the quantity of money that a person or business has on hand as well as their capacity to quickly transform assets into cash. Whether you’re a firm or a person, the higher the liquidity, the simpler it is to fulfill financial obligations. More savings than debt indicates that a person is more financially stable.

The liquidity of an investment is crucial because it shows the supply and demand for that security or asset as well as how quickly it may be sold for cash when necessary.


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