FEDweek

Refilling the Cash Bucket

Retirees should keep 12-18 months’ of spending money in a cash reserve such as a money market fund. Say you want to spend $20,000 over the next 12 months, in addition to what you’ll get from your federal retirement and other sources. If so, you should keep $20,000-$30,000 in a money market fund, for ready access.

As your cash bucket will be drained, you can replenish it in this manner.

1. Use investment income. Move your interest and dividends into your cash reserve. Investment income in a taxable account will be taxed anyway so it might as well be used for spending.

2. Cash in your winnings. If stocks have pulled ahead of bonds, in your asset allocation, you might sell stocks or stock funds to re-balance your portfolio.

3. Ditch your losers. If your portfolio doesn’t need re-balancing, sell the securities where you have paper losses in a taxable account. You’ll recognize immediate tax losses while deferring taxable gains.