The Fed's Financial Accounts: What Are Uncle Sam's Largest Assets?

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.

Note: We've updated the quiz based on the latest release of Q4 2022 Financial Accounts of the United States (previously referred to as the Flow of Funds Accounts).

Pop Quiz! Without recourse to your text, your notes, or a Google search, which line item is the largest asset in Uncle Sam's financial accounts?

  • A) Checkable Deposits and Currency
  • B) Total Mortgages
  • C) Taxes Receivable
  • D) Student Loans

The correct answer, as of the latest quarterly data, is D) Student Loans. For a brief period in 2020 the answer to this was A) Checkable Deposits and Currency due to a decline in student loan balances because of CARES Act forbearances. Checkable Deposits and Currency soared as a result of massive stimulus and reduced consumption from the COVID pandemic.