Almost 1 in every 2 Americans aren’t investing their money. That means every dollar those people are making requires them to exchange time for money which is going to put them in a precarious situation come retirement.
We don’t blame people for not investing. For many, it’s a matter of not having the means or the education to do so.
In this post, we’re going to be focusing on the education piece so by the time you finish reading, your “what should I do with my money” questions will be answered, assuming you have aspirations to invest.
Keep reading and discover everything you need to know to get the ball rolling on making your money work harder for you!
Understand What Investing Is
The first step to investing your money is knowing what investing is. Put simply, investing money means parking your money in places where it can predictably grow with limited intervention. That growth is typically achieved through two means; interest and appreciation.
Investments that grow through interest grow by a specified rate (say 2%), typically at regular intervals. A CD account is a good example of an investment vehicle that would see that kind of growth.
Investments that grow through appreciation gain value via the market deeming that an asset is becoming worth more over time (usually because of scarcity). Buying a home and reselling it 10 years later would net your gains via appreciation, barring a local or widespread recession.
Know Your Goals
One of the biggest considerations to mull over before entering an investment vehicle is your goals. What do you hope to achieve through your investments? Are you trying to get rich in 10-years? Are you simply trying to build a nest-egg to retire on over the next 50 years?
Your goals surrounding investing will dictate the amount of “risk tolerance” your investments have.
Somebody that wants to get rich quickly through investing might put their money into aggressive day trading. Somebody that wants to net steady, secure returns to retire on in 50 years might put their money into a diversified 401K.
Explore Your Investing Options
Armed with a working definition of what investing is and some insight into your goals, it’s time to start parking your money. But what are your options?
Investing options are plentiful and go beyond what we have the time to discuss in this short post. Below, however, are a handful of options you might consider:
Trading stock options or actual stocks is a common means of investing that people in all age groups with varying types of goals partake in. The process of trading actual stocks boils down to buying companies when they’re valued at a certain dollar amount per share and selling those shares when they’ve appreciated.
Stocks are volatile investment vehicles that require attention to pick successfully. The key for most long-term investors when it comes to stock success is a diversified portfolio and, on occasion, assistance from a trading professional.
Real estate is a physical asset you can invest in that has proven itself to be a massive wealth builder for millions. Once you have real estate holdings, there are a few ways you can get returns on your purchase.
As a more stable option, you might rent residential or commercial real estate to tenants. To find more immediate, dramatic returns, you could fix and flip residential properties.
A classic example of an appreciation-driven investment is collectible investing. An investor in this racket might purchase a model of car today and then resell it years later at a significantly higher price.
Collectible investing is speculative and depending on the asset, can be expensive.
If you have money parked in a savings account that bears interest, you are investing right now! Granted, savings account interest rates aren’t likely to pay your way through retirement.
Other interest-bearing accounts that can do more for you include CDs, 401Ks, and IRAs.
Perhaps the most overlooked investment that can drive serious value is an investment in one’s self. We’ve seen people win and lose in the stock market but those that invest in job training, their education, or confidence rarely regret their spending.
Think about what you can invest in that can forward the quality of your life and prioritize putting your resources there.
Take Risks Seriously
The more risk your investment presents, the more upside it will carry. While that may seem like a trade-off that’s attractive, know that people have lost everything to risky investments and you could meet the same fate.
To avoid falling prey to predatory or just plain bad investments, talk to a financial advisor, if possible, before making moves. They can walk you through what you can expect from the investment vehicles you’re considering and may be able to steer you in a more positive direction.
If you don’t have access to a financial advisor, consider discussing your “what should I do with my money” questions and aspirations with knowledgeable family members or friends.
Never Stop Asking “What Should I Do With My Money?”
The foundational aim of this post was to help people that are asking themselves “What should I do with my money,” and find places to park their ancillary income. While we hope you now have ideas to that end, keep in mind that exploring ways to invest should be a constant pursuit.
Stay curious about what opportunities are out there, always assess your risk, and be bullish about growing your money through smart moves!
For more insight on how to invest, check out additional content in our financial-focused blog.