What Does A Cash Flow Problem Mean?

Cash Flow Problem Meaning

Definition: Spending more money than one is currently earning; not having money.

Origin of Cash Flow Problem

This expression quickly became popular in the 1950s. It is unclear exactly how it originated. However, cash originated in the 1500s, and flow comes from the Old English flowan and is also hundreds of years old.

This is a popular term in business and accounting. In these fields, it has many nuances beyond how ordinary, everyday speakers use it.

Examples of Cash Flow Problem

problems with cash flowIn the below dialogue, one friend is talking to another about financial problems at his job.

Ezekiel: Hey, Maggie. How’s it going?

Maggie: Not bad. I just thought I’d stop by to see if you wanted to join my other friends and me for dinner at that new restaurant.

Ezekiel: Well, I’d like to, but, unfortunately, I didn’t get paid this month. I can’t really afford to eat out at the moment. I can join next time!

Maggie: How come you didn’t get paid? Did the company lose your check?

Ezekiel: I wish. It’s actually worse than that. They are having cash flow problems. They didn’t pay any of the employees this month. They say they’ll pay next month, but who knows if that’s true. We think they might have to lay off a bunch of people.

Maggie: I’m sorry to hear that!

Define cash flow problemHere is another example in which one friend is talking about his home budget.

Mila: Are you okay? You look stressed.

Tyrion: I am a little stressed. You know how I always relied on my family’s wealth to pay my bills?

Mila: Yeah. Did that change?

Tyrion: At the moment, they are having cash flow problems. They may get more money in the future, but, at the moment, it looks like I’ll have to get a job in order to pay for my rent and utilities.

Mila: Well, I don’t feel too sorry for you. I’ve always had to work to pay my bills.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about how to earn money quickly and easily.

  • Don’t let a temporary cash-flow problem hunker down your finances. By taking some of these steps, you can earn more money without overexerting yourself. –New York Daily News

This excerpt is about an arena that is losing money. The city wants to use money from keno to help support it so that taxpayers don’t have to.

  • Groesser said the arena is making money but that some months are busier than others, which creates a cash flow problem when covering expenses. Some council members said they wanted to know more about the arena’s monthly finances. –Washington Times


A cash flow problem means not having access to monetary funds.