If you are looking for an easy way to make money from home, there is no better place than investing in stocks. But how do you know which stock to choose when it comes down to making a decision? What if you have never invested before? How can you get started without losing all that hard earned cash?
The good news is that we're here to help! Here's what you need to know to start investing today with just $1000 or even less! Read more below...
Nowadays most people want their investments to be as safe as possible so they don't lose any money during market fluctuations. This means that some securities may not always provide the highest interest rates but rather lower risk levels. That said, finding a "safe" investment isn't really such a difficult task. There are many different options available out there but here are three examples that you might consider.
1. Bonds - bonds come in two forms (bonds guaranteed by the government and corporate bonds). Both offer similar returns and low risk however only US treasury bonds guarantee 100% of the principal amount at maturity whereas other types of bonds usually offer 80 percent. Treasury bonds also carry higher credit risks compared to non-US issued bonds. For this reason, some experts suggest investors avoid them altogether. In addition, remember that each bond has its own unique features like redemption date etc. If you plan on holding onto these investments for a long time then you'll definitely want to check into those details prior to getting involved.
2. Bank Accounts - another great option for someone who wants to keep his/her money liquid is opening up a bank account. The main advantage over other products is that banks typically pay higher interest rates due to liquidity concerns. Also, since you won't see much growth potential, you could easily put away small amounts throughout the year instead of waiting until tax season. However, one disadvantage is that you aren't going to earn anything extra through dividends after you've paid taxes. As far as safety goes, your funds are FDIC insured meaning you have zero worries in case something happens.
3. Certificates Of Deposit (CDs) - CDs are basically savings accounts where you deposit your money. You'd receive regular payments based on a fixed rate of return i.e. 6%. Usually, these deposits last anywhere between 3 months to 5 years depending upon the company issuing it. So if you are planning to use this type of investment for longer periods of time then you would likely benefit from having larger deposits. One thing worth mentioning though is that CD rates decrease every once in awhile, especially during times of economic uncertainty. Another drawback with CDs is that you cannot withdraw early unlike other kinds of banking products. Lastly, since you are limited to earning a certain percentage per month, you wouldn't be able to make huge gains if the markets are doing well.
As mentioned earlier, there are tons of options available when choosing the right kind of security for yourself. It is recommended that you seek professional advice before deciding whether to go with stocks, mutual funds, annuities, real estate, or others. However, here is a quick summary of common alternatives out there: Stocks & Shares - represent ownership shares in a public corporation and trade on the open exchange, offering greater liquidity and transparency. Mutual Funds - similar to stocks except managed professionally by fund managers who strive to beat benchmarks. Real Estate - purchases property and receives rental income from tenants. Annuity - pays off periodically over a set number of years.
It seems almost impossible to find the perfect alternative to traditional finance. After all, everyone knows that the old school method doesn't work anymore. With new technology, big data analytics, and social media platforms, the world of finance has transformed completely. Today, there are several innovative methods used by financial professionals across the globe to achieve superior results. Below are a few smart strategies you might want to consider.
1. Robo Advisors - these automated systems manage your portfolio using proprietary algorithms. They are designed specifically to take care of trading, rebalancing, asset allocation, monitoring, reporting, research, and analysis. Typically, robo advisors charge fees ranging from 1%-4%, which tends to be cheaper than human advisers. A notable downside is that it takes quite a bit of effort to learn how to properly utilize the system. Therefore, it requires extensive training and education.
2. Indexing vs Active Management - index funds are considered passive management styles because they simply track a market benchmark e.g. S&P 500. On the other hand, active management entails actively picking specific companies to buy and sell within a given period of time. Although it offers more control, this approach does require a lot of expertise and skill. Keep in mind that the latter incurs high transaction costs.
3. Social Media Platforms - nowadays, individuals tend to share their opinions via various social networks. These posts often include information related to personal finances such as salaries, debts, spending habits, and net worth. By analyzing these posts, researchers have been successful in predicting future market movements. Financial institutions have taken note of this trend and created software programs called "social sentiment indicators" to monitor user sentiments. Once again, these tools allow users to gain insights regarding their current situation while providing recommendations.
4. Online Banking Tools - online banking allows customers to perform everyday tasks remotely including checking balances, paying bills, transferring funds, depositing checks, and withdrawing money from ATMs. Some providers also give access to free mobile apps allowing clients to manage their accounts anytime and anywhere. Compared to face-to-face transactions, remote services tend to cost half as much.
5. Automated Trading Systems - computers automatically execute trades based on instructions provided by traders. Since humans play little part in the process, it saves lots of human resources and cuts back administrative expenses.
6. Peer-To-Peer Lending Services - P2PLS enables borrowers to obtain loans directly from lenders. Borrowers sign agreements stating that they will repay the loan plus interests whenever due. Unlike payday lending shops, lenders generally maintain positive equity positions thus avoiding losses incurred from bad debt. Moreover, these services encourage borrowing since consumers save money on closing costs, processing fees, and other associated charges. To top it all off, P2PLS provides flexible repayment terms to suit individual needs.
7. Bitcoin - bitcoins are digital currencies owned exclusively by members of a particular network. Similar to gold coins, bitcoins serve as store of value and medium of exchange. Their popularity has increased rapidly ever since bitcoin was launched in 2009. According to recent reports, approximately 2 million bitcoins were mined annually around 2014. Currently, you can purchase bitcoins using USD, EUR, GBP, RMB, or JPY. While prices fluctuate constantly, bitcoins currently sit around 30$ apiece.
8. Venture Capitalists - venture capitalists invest in promising startups in order to create large corporations. Over the past decade, VC firms have helped launch numerous tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, Uber, Snapchat, Tesla Motors, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb, Dropbox, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumblr, Quora, Zillow, Spotify, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Skype, Square, GoPro, Oculus Rift, Flipboard, Netflix, Amazon, Dell, Pandora Radio, Evernote, Groupon, YouTube, and countless others.
9. Crowdfunding - crowdfunding refers to fundraising campaigns whereby entrepreneurs solicit donations from general public. Generally, donors pledge contributions towards pre-defined milestones. Examples include funding for product development, marketing, travel plans, and legal matters. More recently, companies like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, RocketHub, Donate Now, Fundable, Revolut, Patreon, WePay, Stripe, among others have emerged.
In light of growing instability, rising inflationary pressures, and volatile global economies, more and more people have begun turning to private assets for protection against unforeseen circumstances. Hence, savvy investors have become interested in alternative sources of income such as commodities, cryptocurrencies, collectibles, natural resource rights, REITs, and precious metals. Despite being risky ventures, some of these opportunities have proven lucrative in the past decade. Below are a couple examples.
Gold & Silver - gold and silver bullion bars and coins are tangible assets and therefore hold intrinsic value. Gold and silver jewelry too is popular amongst collectors worldwide. Prices remain relatively stable and there exists a wide range of investment choices.
Cryptocurrencies - Bitcoins have garnered significant attention lately. Cryptocurrency mining involves solving complex mathematical problems in order to verify transactions made on blockchain networks. The reward for successfully completing a block is known as a hashrate. At present, the total hashrate stands at roughly 25 exahashes per second. When calculating profits, miners must factor in electricity usage, hardware depreciation, operational costs, and maintenance expenses.
It's a common question that comes up when people are starting out or thinking about investing their own money early in life. As an investor myself (and also somebody who has invested his entire career), here are some general guidelines we think are important to consider before putting any cash into investments:
1) What kind of investors would be interested in this asset class?
2) How much time can you afford to wait until seeing returns from those assets?
3) Are there other things to keep in mind while considering how to maximize your portfolio?
With these three questions answered, it's easier to decide where to start investing and what type of action plan to follow in order to achieve long-term financial success. Here are five strategies to get started:
If you're just getting started as an individual investor, then maybe all you've got is a ten thousand dollar savings account. You'll need to determine which one of these options suits your situation better.
Saving Account - This is probably the most obvious choice if you have no other investments at hand, but don't expect to see significant growth over time. If you choose not to make purchases from investment funds, you won't earn interest either. Your only option might be to withdraw the whole amount every year.
CDs/Bonds - A lot like holding onto cash itself, CDs and bonds offer little potential upside since they tend to fluctuate based on market conditions. However, unlike cash itself, CD and bond values usually remain stable so you may be able to lock them up for a longer period of time without worrying about inflation. It does take discipline and patience though, because you may end up waiting years to see anything back. The downside is that when rates go down, prices fall too.
Mutual Funds & ETFs - These two choices provide more flexibility than simply "holding" cash, allowing you to buy stocks and bonds directly through mutual fund companies and exchange traded funds (ETF). While both types allow for trading within certain parameters, the biggest advantage to choosing mutual funds or ETFs is that you typically receive higher dividends compared to purchasing shares yourself. With stock markets being volatile lately, however, dividend income isn't guaranteed even after taking fees into consideration. In addition, many firms charge high annual expenses such as sales charges or 12b-1 fee, which eat away at gains. Finally, due to the nature of buying these products straight from brokers, price discovery gets delayed by several days, making timing difficult.
Stocks - Owning actual stock allows you to participate in the ups and downs of the underlying company you support. Unlike mutual funds or ETFs, you actually hold ownership of part of the business, and thus stand to gain greater rewards if its performance improves. But owning shares means handing over control of how your money is managed to someone else, and depending on the state of the economy today, could possibly mean losing your shirt altogether. There are plenty of risks associated with owning stock directly, but if done correctly, it offers great reward. When looking for good stocks to purchase, look for companies with steady earnings and low debt levels. Also, try to avoid highly leveraged businesses that rely heavily on external funding sources.
In summary, each of these four options gives you limited possibilities to generate returns over time, but provides different benefits. Depending on your personal preferences, pick one that fits your needs well.
Once you know what kind of investor you want to become, it's time to figure out where to place your money next. Based on our experience and research, we recommend following these steps to find the best location to meet your objectives:
Step 1: Decide whether you want to focus on equities (stocks), fixed income (bond), or alternatives (mutual funds, ETFs, etc.)
The first step is deciding between focusing on equities or alternative investments. Stocks represent real ownership in a company's profits. Because of this risk factor, they tend to offer faster results than alternatives, but come with more responsibility. For example, if a particular stock goes belly-up, you lose everything. Alternatives work similarly to stocks except instead of giving full power to management, they give shareholders equal voting rights along with a liquidity feature known as share repurchase programs. Thus, they often seem less risky initially, but require you to manage decisions made elsewhere rather than letting others handle matters. That said, alternatives can still result in big losses just like stocks, so it's really a matter of finding the right balance between stability and opportunity.
Another aspect worth noting is that alternatives aren't necessarily bad places to park your money during times of economic uncertainty. During periods like 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the S&P 500 experienced dramatic drops in valuation. Even worse, many small cap stocks were wiped off the map completely. On the contrary, some alternatives performed quite nicely despite volatility. Over the course of history, some of the world's largest and safest banks had gone bankrupt, yet their stock went up in value post bankruptcy. So, how did these large corporations continue operating smoothly under adverse circumstances? Simple...they didn't panic! They continued running their operations according to their normal routines, while smaller competitors failed miserably. Therefore, if you feel comfortable managing risk, then stick with stocks. Otherwise, if you prefer the peace of mind that comes with alternatives, then perhaps explore these opportunities further. One last thing to remember, regardless of where you decide to place your money, always diversify across multiple avenues. Don't let your eggs rest solely in one basket, otherwise you run the risk of having them cracked entirely.
Step 2: Research companies carefully to ensure you understand exactly why they perform the way they do
Now that you've decided whether to pursue stocks or alternatives, it's time to learn about specific companies. Before jumping headfirst into something, always use resources to inform your decision. Do thorough background checks on your prospective holdings using reliable online tools such as Hoovers or SEC EDGAR filings. Once you know what you're dealing with, ask friends and family members to weigh in on the topic. If possible, seek professional advice from industry experts or advisors. And finally, whenever possible, visit companies personally once you're ready to pull the trigger. By doing this, you'll have a firsthand understanding of what it takes to create wealth and build a successful enterprise.
Step 3: Take short term vs. Long Term Goals into Consideration
After researching various companies, it's time to analyze and compare their prospects with your future plans. Is this going to be a temporary position or a permanent move? Does it fit with your lifestyle and personality? Will you want to stay involved for awhile or indefinitely? Knowing these answers beforehand will help narrow down your search field and save valuable time later. After all, nobody wants to spend months searching for a job that doesn't exist anymore!
Step 4: Find out how much time you have left until retirement
Next, calculate how far away you are from retiring and divide that number by twelve to obtain approximately how many years you have remaining. Now, break down your goal into quarterly increments to determine how quickly you'd like to reach that milestone. Next, add up how many years it would take to hit each quarter individually and multiply that total by 5% per annum, representing yearly compound growth rate needed to accomplish your overall objective. Then, subtract the difference from your current age multiplied by ten and round down to nearest integer. That will tell you roughly how old you'll need to be to retire given your present situation. This calculation method was developed by Robert Kiyosaki and used throughout Rich Dad Poor Dad to show readers how fast they could potentially grow their net worth.
Step 5: Choose an Investment Strategy that works with your timetable
Finally, choose an appropriate investment style that matches your timeframe. For instance, if you want to retire soon and haven't saved very much, you shouldn't allocate too much towards aggressive growth ventures such as hedge funds or private equity deals. Instead, aim to preserve capital by sticking to traditional methods like bank accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), bonds, and index funds. Alternatively, if you have a lengthy timeline ahead of you and wish to accumulate lots of liquid assets, then you should definitely steer clear from conservative investments and concentrate on building a fortress of safe assets. To illustrate, if you want to retire in 35 years, you should be placing 80 percent of your assets into safe securities and 20 percent into moderate ones.
That's it! Follow these simple rules and you'll surely find your path toward achieving financial freedom. Remember, it's never too late to start saving money, and it certainly beats living paycheck to paycheck. Allocate enough to cover emergencies, set aside extra for taxes, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
If you've got some money saved up but don't know what to do with it, we have an answer for you! There are plenty of things that you could be doing with that extra cash – paying down debt or saving for an emergency fund come immediately to mind. But there's another option as well: investing your savings into something productive. Here's how to get started.
This post originally appeared at The Simple Dollar.
The first thing to consider when deciding where to invest your $10,000 is whether this particular chunk of capital is going to grow over time. If so, then you'll want to choose investments which offer higher returns than inflation. This means choosing asset classes like stocks or bonds (depending on your risk tolerance). You'll also need to pick a timeframe, since growth assets tend to perform better during long periods of economic expansion while income-oriented investments generally fare better during recessions. For example, if you're looking to make gains from today's economy, you may want to choose more volatile stock funds. On the other hand, if you plan to keep your money invested until retirement, you might prefer a bond fund instead.
Once you’ve determined your preferred asset class, you can begin researching specific companies within those categories (e.g., "small cap" equities) which provide the highest expected rates of return based on their market performance. To find these numbers, simply go online and search Google using phrases such as "[asset class] [timeframe]" + "[name of company]. Of course, you can also use Yahoo Finance or Morningstar to research any specific investment options before making your decision. Once you locate a few potential investments, compare them against one another by visiting their websites' free investor calculators. These tools allow you to see how much each individual investment would earn compared to others after different amounts of time.
Finally, remember to factor in taxes into all calculations. Depending upon your country of residence, tax laws vary considerably between nations. In the United States, federal taxes eat away roughly half of every dollar earned through wages, salaries, interest payments and dividends. When estimating how quickly your investment dollars will grow, take these taxes into account. For instance, let's say you'd like your investment to beat inflation by 2% per year. According to Bloomberg, the US government currently takes 28 cents out of every dollar received via dividend distributions. That means if you were to reinvest your dividends back into new shares, they wouldn't yield enough to beat inflation by two percent over five years — even factoring in lower corporate taxes. It's important to remember that taxes aren't carved in stone, however, as both Congress and presidential administrations change them on a regular basis. As such, it's wise to consult a financial advisor who understands local taxation rules and has access to various strategies for minimizing tax liability.
One common misconception among novice investors is that high earnings mean low volatility. While that used to be true historically, the world of finance has changed dramatically over recent decades thanks largely to technological advancements. Today, many people think that having lots of money parked in bank accounts leads to greater stability. However, it turns out that the opposite is often true. By putting your money into mutual funds, index funds, ETFs, etc., you actually reduce its overall exposure to fluctuations in price. Furthermore, because most experts recommend holding onto your stocks for no less than three years, you'll effectively lock in your profits for longer than was possible prior to modern portfolio theory. Finally, if you look closely at historical data, you'll notice that certain stocks have tended to outperform others repeatedly throughout history. Investing in these kinds of winners is called “value investing.”
In short, it seems that the old adage "sell when prices drop and hold forever" really works. Even Warren Buffett recommends buying great businesses and waiting for them to produce strong results rather than trying to guess which stocks will rise and fall. Since his book The Snowball, Buffett has continued to preach the virtues of value investing, suggesting that anyone interested check out his own Berkshire Hathaway Inc. He notes that he's made hundreds of millions over the past several decades by picking quality businesses and ignoring their short term movements.
While the general advice above still applies, there are times when it makes sense to diversify your holdings even further. One example is when you feel uncertain about future trends in global markets. Another is when you feel stressed due to current events. Still yet, there are occasions when it makes sense to put your money into hard assets like real estate or commodities like gold.
For example, if you live in a region prone to natural disasters, it may make sense to buy insurance products designed specifically to help residents rebuild after disaster strikes. Or perhaps you believe that the next recession will hit sooner rather than later. Then again, maybe you think that the coming decade will bring peace and prosperity to humanity. Either way, owning tangible goods gives you direct control over your finances without requiring someone else to manage them for you.
Investors have been asking themselves this question ever since Benjamin Franklin suggested keeping ten pounds in paper currency versus 100 lbs worth of metal coins. Nowadays, economists continue to debate the merits of fractional reserve banking. Some argue that banks shouldn't lend too freely lest they cause widespread panic and devalue the nation's currency. Others maintain that excessive reserves create moral hazard problems whereby banks become overly complacent about lending standards and fail to protect consumers adequately. Whichever camp you belong to, the bottom line remains the same: you probably won't lose sleep over whether your bank holds 5%, 50%, 500% of its customers' deposits. After all, if your bank suddenly went belly-up tomorrow, the FDIC would pay off your outstanding loans automatically. No matter how big those debts happened to be, everyone involved would survive unscathed.
On the other hand, you should care deeply about the size of your investments. Why? Because they represent thousands of hours of labor spent creating wealth. Whether you build houses, cars, boats, iPads, iPhones, laptops…or anything else, human beings must spend countless hours working toward completion. And unlike physical items, your investments require ongoing maintenance, management, marketing, sales, customer service, etc. All told, they typically involve far more effort than just handing over your money. So unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands, it doesn't make sense to pour small fortunes into penny stocks or worthless business ideas. Instead, focus on the bigger picture and aim to achieve significant success in terms of generating substantial passive income streams.
To learn more about investing, please read our archives here. Have questions regarding this article? Leave them below and we'll respond ASAP.
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