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Need Cash? Your Brokerage Account May Offer a Handy Solution

By Tiffany Lam-Balfour

Life happens. At some point, you might need quick cash for a down payment or to cover an unexpected expense, but may not be sure whether it warrants raiding your emergency savings. You could sell some of your investments, but depending upon the market, it might not be the best time to take profits. If the market’s up, you’ll raise cash, but probably also acquire a capital gains tax bill. If the market’s down, selling might lock in a loss when you didn’t want to.

But there’s another option to consider: using your brokerage account for financing. Having a securities-based line of credit, or SBLOC, could provide you with access to cash so you can grab on to an investment opportunity or make ends meet when you’re stuck in a jam.

Besides being quick, SBLOCs can also be a cost-effective option, given the current low interest rates, says Stuart Blair, director of research at Canterbury Consulting in Newport Beach, California.

“An investor will need to determine the maximum amount of leverage they are comfortable with and develop a number of worst case scenarios to test their fortitude and mettle,” Blair says.


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