Liquidity Vs. Illiquidity: Understanding their Differences and How It Can Affect You

What is Liquidity? 

The ease with which assets can be changed into cash is called liquidity.

An asset is said to be liquid if it is simple to buy and sell it. Short-date government gilts, for instance, have a high level of liquidity since they are simple to sell on bond markets.

If it is challenging to acquire and sell an asset, it is considered to be illiquid. For instance, a house is a relatively illiquid asset because selling one takes time and money. As a result, the price of a home may have altered significantly by the time you find a buyer, particularly during boom and bust periods.

Liquidity: How important is it?

An investor could require both liquid and illiquid assets. For example, you need liquid assets for any unanticipated short-term catastrophe. Illiquid assets, however, can present a significant income and a higher opportunity for capital gains.

For instance, if you deposit money in a current account, you may access it immediately, but interest rates are often modest. However, you must notify the bank seven or thirty days before withdrawing funds from a time deposit account. As a result, your savings become less liquid, but the bank makes up for it by offering a higher interest rate.

Liquidity Types

The market, bid-ask spread, and accounting are just a few varieties.

Market Liquidity

This form describes the extent to which assets can be purchased and sold at current prices with little change to the asset’s actual worth. Real estate is typically less liquid than the stock market, an example of a market with high liquidity.

Bid-Ask Spread

The difference between what a bidder is offering (the bid price) and what a seller is prepared to take is known as the bid-ask spread (ask price). The bid-ask spread represents supply and demand. It is the primary liquidity indicator. The need for an item will often be larger if the bid-ask spread is small. On the other hand, if the bid-ask spread is vast, the demand will typically be lower.

Accounting Liquidity 

This relates to how straightforward it is for a person or business to use their liquid assets to settle their debts when they become due. Strong liquidity should be the goal of any business. Their liquid assets should outweigh their current liabilities in a favorable ratio.

The ability of a corporation to fulfill its financial commitments is referred to as liquidity in the fields of finance and accounting. The liquidity metrics that are most widely used include:

Current Ratio: Current assets minus the current liabilities make a current ratio.

Quick Ratio: The proportion of current liabilities. Simply the most liquid assets (cash, accounts receivable, etc.).

Cash Ratio– Cash on hand to current liabilities


When the money supply rises, liquidity tends to follow and falls when the money supply decreases. As a result, people and businesses are more willing to trade cash for a wider variety of assets as long as it doesn’t exceed the amount required to meet fundamental needs.

The accounts with the largest liquidity are cash savings accounts. You don’t need to convert any assets while using this approach, and the reports provide a variety of quick and simple withdrawal methods.