5 short-term investments in the UK for quick returns

5 short-term investments in the UK for quick returns: Investors could allocate equal percentages of their investment portfolios to long-term and short-term investment alternatives, particularly if they need rapid returns or a consistent source of income. This article explains the distinction between the two, as well as how to invest short-term to have access to some of the highest or most reliable profits.

Long-term vs short-term investing

Investing is a fundamental aspect of personal financial planning and wealth creation. Whether pursuing long-term or short-term investment strategies, individuals aim to maximize returns while managing risks. These two approaches, long-term and short-term investing, differ significantly in their objectives, time horizons, risk tolerance, and strategies. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, catering to varying investor preferences and financial goals.

Long-Term Investing: Building Wealth Over Time

Long-term investing involves holding assets for an extended period, typically years or decades. The primary goal is to achieve capital appreciation and build wealth gradually. One of the key principles of long-term investing is the power of compounding, where the returns earned on an initial investment generate additional gains over time. This strategy is aligned with the idea that markets tend to recover from short-term volatility and trend upwards over extended periods.

Advantages of Long-Term Investing:

  1. Compound Growth: Long-term investors benefit from the compounding effect, as their returns reinvested generate exponential growth.
  2. Reduced Emotional Influence: With a focus on the big picture, long-term investors are less prone to making impulsive decisions based on short-term market fluctuations.
  3. Lower Transaction Costs: Long-term strategies involve fewer trades, reducing brokerage fees and taxes.
  4. Tax Efficiency: Holding assets for over a year often qualifies for lower capital gains tax rates.
  5. Diversification: Long-term investors can weather market volatility by diversifying their portfolio across different asset classes.

Disadvantages of Long-Term Investing:

  1. Limited Liquidity: Assets may be tied up for an extended period, limiting access to funds in case of emergencies.
  2. Missed Short-Term Opportunities: Long-term investors might miss out on potential gains from short-term market fluctuations.
  3. Market Risk: While long-term trends tend to be upward, there are periods of extended market downturns that can impact returns.

Short-Term Investing: Capitalizing on Volatility

Short-term investing, often referred to as trading, involves buying and selling assets over shorter timeframes, ranging from minutes to months. The primary goal is to exploit market volatility for quick gains. Short-term investors rely on technical analysis, charts, and patterns to predict short-term price movements.

Advantages of Short-Term Investing:

  1. Quick Profits: Short-term traders have the potential to capitalize on rapid price fluctuations and make quick profits.
  2. Flexibility: Short-term strategies allow investors to adapt to changing market conditions and seize opportunities.
  3. Liquidity: Assets can be quickly converted to cash, providing access to funds when needed.
  4. Focused Research: Short-term traders often focus on specific trends and patterns, deepening their understanding of market dynamics.

Disadvantages of Short-Term Investing:

  1. High Risk: Short-term investing is more susceptible to market noise and volatility, leading to higher risk levels.
  2. Emotional Pressure: Frequent trading can be emotionally taxing, leading to impulsive decisions driven by fear or greed.
  3. Transaction Costs: The frequency of trading leads to higher transaction costs, including commissions and taxes.
  4. Limited Compound Growth: Since positions are held for shorter durations, the compounding effect is not as pronounced as in long-term investing.

Choosing the Right Approach: Considerations

The decision between long-term and short-term investing depends on an individual’s financial goals, risk tolerance, time availability, and expertise.

1. Financial Goals: Long-term investing is suited for individuals looking to build wealth steadily over time, such as retirement planning. Short-term investing is more appropriate for those seeking quick profits, but it comes with higher risk.

2. Risk Tolerance: Long-term investors can ride out market fluctuations, while short-term investors must cope with higher volatility and potential losses.

3. Time Commitment: Long-term investing requires less time monitoring the markets, making it ideal for those with busy schedules. Short-term investing demands more frequent attention.

4. Expertise: Short-term investing necessitates a deep understanding of technical analysis and market trends. Long-term investing can be more forgiving for those with limited market knowledge.

5. Diversification: Both approaches benefit from diversification, but it’s crucial to apply it differently based on the investment horizon.

Best 5 short-term investments based on returns

1. Online savings account

When you open a savings account with an online bank, you will normally be paid interest on a regular basis. According to NerdWallet, the average interest rate is roughly 0.5%, which is somewhat more than a typical bank or credit union, which can give as little as 0.01%.

Before you begin your investing adventure, investigate which banks give the best interest rates and select one that is simple to set up. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)* protects most savings accounts in the UK up to £85,000, but this is per financial institution rather than each account. If your bank declares bankruptcy, any savings up to this amount will be restored to you.

2. Short-term bond funds

A short-term bond fund primarily invests in corporate bonds that have maturities of fewer than five years. These pay out interest on a regular basis, generally twice a year. Any financial entity, including governments and firms rated below investment grade, can issue short-term debt.

These bonds have lower interest rate risk than intermediate or long-term funds, although their performance varies depending on the components. Some, for example, include high-yield bonds, which have a higher credit risk. Nonetheless, the Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (BSV) has proven that they perform better than other bonds when the market is in a slump. Please keep in mind that previous success is not a reliable predictor of future outcomes.

3. Stocks and shares

Although the stock market as a whole is considered a riskier investment than the others on our list, it can still yield short-term benefits if the correct stocks are selected. These are often purchased and kept for less than a year, and their prices may change according to seasonality, political conflict, or the broader economy.

For example, investors might profit from the Covid-19 problem by purchasing stocks that have grown in value, such as Costco, Reckitt Benckiser, and AstraZeneca. These all increased in value within months of the virus spreading since they all supply critical services and products to customers. Investors might also profit from cyclical stock market patterns, such as the increase in’meme’ stocks.

4. Cash management account

A cash management account (CMA) is a financial entity (usually not a bank or credit union) where you may manage your short-term investments through a single portfolio. This can include stocks, bond funds, mortgage payments, and other sorts of taxable investments. Cash management accounts enable investors to do all of their tasks without switching applications or platforms.

CMAs are frequently viewed as a viable alternative to traditional checking or online savings accounts. Given that they solely offer online services, some even offer greater interest rates and reduced costs. As a result, some investors may favour this form of account, but others may prefer the more conventional style of in-person conversations.

5. Money market account

A money market account (MMA) is a type of bank account that needs a minimum deposit in order to be created. This is what distinguishes it from a standard savings account. These also tend to pay higher interest rates, which may alarm some investors owing to the possibility of inflation, however this is not the same issue for short-term investors as it may be for long-term investors.

A money market fund (MMF) is a different sort of short-term investment with the same name, but the products differ dramatically. This mutual fund makes short-term investments in government, corporate, and municipal bonds. Investors don’t think of them as safe as MMAs since they aren’t covered by the FSCS, even if they are.

What are the advantages?

  • Many short-term investments are insured by financial bodies such as the FSCS and protected within a reputable bank or credit union.
  • Government bonds and short-term bond funds are part of a highly liquid market, meaning that there are plenty of buyers and sellers to exchange assets. This would mean that an investor can access their short-term cash investment earnings quicker.
  • Short-term investments such as savings accounts often cost nothing or very little to open, meaning that you don’t need to make a large deposit.

What are the disadvantages?

  • Long-term investing generally produces a higher rate of return. Value stocks, growth stocks, and index funds or ETFs are particularly popular among long-term investors for their potential to provide large returns over a period of many years, especially when investing in trending stock market themes.
  • A short-term strategy may not easily build your overall portfolio, and therefore, some investors may instead choose to have a mix of short-term and long-term investments. This helps to balance risk, diversity of assets, and frequency of income.


Remember that investments that are short-term sometimes contain higher risks, so before making any investing decisions, undertake comprehensive research and examine your financial goals and risk tolerance(Read more: Different types of investments). Diversification and smart financial planning are essential for success in the volatile realm of short-term investment in the United Kingdom.

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