Nest Egg

DEFINITION of 'Nest Egg'

A substantial sum of money that has been saved or invested for a specific purpose. A nest egg is generally earmarked for longer-term objectives, the most common being retirement, buying a home and education. It can also refer to money kept aside as a reserve to deal with unexpected emergencies such as a medical problem or urgent housing repairs. “Nest egg” has been used to refer to savings since the late 17th century. The term is believed to have been derived from poultry farmers’ tactic of placing eggs – both real and fake – in hens’ nests to induce them to lay more eggs, which meant more income for these farmers.

BREAKING DOWN 'Nest Egg'

The foremost investment objective of a nest egg is generally preserving capital, since it represents funds that have been accumulated over a considerable time. However, the portfolio should also have a growth component to offset the effects of inflation over time. A nest egg should typically be invested in relatively conservative instruments such as certificates of deposit, bonds and dividend-paying blue chips. The exact allocation of these securities within a nest egg should be based on asset allocation principles as well as the investor’s risk tolerance and comfort level.

It would be folly to invest nest egg proceeds in certain volatile investments in hopes of achieving a high rate of return. These investments include commodities, small-cap stocks and currencies, since their inherent volatility makes them less suited for conservative investing.

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