Investments as Unique as You Are
Investments for all types
The world of investing offers so much diversity that anyone wishing to enter into it should be able to find investment opportunities that match his or her unique needs and interests. Even if you have been investing for many years, you may be interested in new possibilities. Whether you are looking to make more money, choose less volatile options or just add some excitement to your financial life, the options are endless.
Stocks are equity-based investments, meaning that you are essentially purchasing a piece of a company. As a result, you may be entitled to a share of the company’s profits, known as dividends. Stocks are risky investments, however, and Investopedia.com cautions that “many stocks don’t even pay dividends, in which case, the only way that you can make money is if the stock increases in value – which might not happen.”
On the other end of the safety spectrum are bonds, which are debt-based investments, meaning that you are lending money (the price of the bond) to an entity for a set time period. You profit by earning interest on the bond amount. Bonds can be purchased from the government or from private companies. They are considered fixed-income securities, meaning that there is a predetermined payment amount.
Mutual funds are collections of different investments. Investopedia.com says that “mutual funds are all set up with a specific strategy in mind, and their distinct focus can be nearly anything: large stocks, small stocks, bonds from governments, bonds from companies, stocks and bonds, stocks in certain industries, stocks in certain countries, etc.” Theoretically, mutual funds should make you more money than should investments that you choose yourself, which is why you agree to pay a financial advisor to handle mutual funds.
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are similar to mutual funds but are traded more easily because, unlike mutual funds, they do not have to be sold at the end-of-day price or the net asset value. This ease of tradability creates a flexible situation that allows ETFs to invest in many different sectors and in emerging markets. Investopedia.com states that ETFs can also be less expensive than can mutual funds and also offer tax benefits.
Investing With a Self-Directed IRA
Purchasing investments with a self-directed IRA is an emerging form of alternative investing that allows people to invest without paying taxes on money removed from their IRAs. Forbes staff member Deborah L. Jacobs states that “an IRA can legally own real estate and a lot of other alternative investments, too, ranging from private equity and promissory notes to gold, oil and gas and cattle. (It can’t own insurance, collectibles or stock in S corporations.)” A self-directed IRA is necessary for this type of investing, because most IRAs only deal with publicly traded mutual funds, stocks, bonds and CDs. There are many complicated aspects to this type of investing, such as avoiding self-dealing and mixing IRAs with nonretirement funds, so make sure you have sound financial advice before embarking on this path.
Real estate is another alternative investment. If you can get a good deal on a house and can afford to pay the mortgage until the housing market improves, you may be able to sell the house for a higher price than you paid without putting any work into it. Alternately, if you can make improvements to the house to increase its value, you may be able to sell it for a profit on a shorter timeline. Another option that real estate offers is purchasing a property to rent out either as a residence or a business.
You have two possibilities when investing in gold: buying the metal itself or investing in the companies that mine it. Both strategies take advantage of the rise in gold prices that has occurred over the past few years. Elizabeth O’Brien and Ian Salisbury of the website SmartMoney.com suggest investing in mining companies because, “traditionally, when the price of gold rises, gold mining stocks rise faster.”