A million dollars is a lot of money, but if you don’t invest it wisely, then it will not take you very far. Sure, you can buy a lot of things right now with that sum of money, but you have many expenses to account for. On top of that, inflation will cause the purchasing power of your money to shrink over time. If you just choose to leave your million dollars in a savings account, it won’t be able to grow at a rate that beats inflation.
You probably don’t want to work for the rest of your life, so you need to take decisive action now to ensure that you have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement. The best way to do that is to invest your money wisely so that your accumulated wealth can grow as the years pass.
Investing may seem somewhat scary, but as long as you understand the basics, you can set yourself up for future success. You may think that you’re not old enough to care, or you might believe that you are too old for investing to make a difference. However, when it comes to investing, your age doesn’t matter; the best time to start is now. There's no time to waste, so this comprehensive guide will walk you through your investment options so that you can make the best financial decisions for your future.
See Why Gold Is Our Favorite Investment To Fight Inflation
Important Economic Concepts That You Should Understand
When people refer to the market, they might be talking about a variety of things. Generally, a market is a place where things are bought and sold. Markets can be physical locations, or they can exist in virtual space. As long as money, goods, or services are exchanged, it doesn’t matter where it takes place; it’s still a market.
When someone mentions the real estate market, they’re probably talking about the general economic trends in a specific area. There is no single real estate market. Instead, these markets are regional, and they can vary widely between different places. For example, the real estate market in London is a lot different from the real estate market in Miami. Although property values are probably rising in both areas, different factors, norms, and economic realities affect prices in each market.
This regional variation exists in most markets. For example, the clothing market in India may be very distinct from the clothing market in Germany. People in Germany tend to receive higher wages, so they may be able to afford more expensive clothes. Meanwhile, people in India may not have the same fashion preferences as people in Germany. Consequently, some products would do better in Germany than in India, and some companies may be more prosperous in India than in Germany. Investors understand the significance of these differences, and they will consider such factors when choosing to invest in different markets.
In the United States, when people talk about the stock market, they may be referring to the New York Stock Exchange. The New York Stock Exchange is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time every working day. Prices are officially updated while the New York Stock Exchange is open, but you can still trade stocks at any time.
Supply and Demand
Demand is the average willingness to pay for a specific item. When demand for a good or service rises, more people want it, so they are likely willing to pay more for it. Supply simply refers to the amount of a good or service that is available for purchase. Market equilibrium is where demand and supply perfectly intersect, and it describes the average price that people are willing to pay for a good or service at a given moment.
Of course, if the market equilibrium of a product is somewhere around $100, that doesn’t mean that everybody is going to pay that exact price for the product. Some buyers may be content to pay more, and some sellers may be willing to sell for less. Supply and demand always change, so prices always vary, and the equilibrium point just reflects the average price of a particular good, service, or financial product in a specific area.
Inflation is the natural tendency for prices to rise over time. As the economy grows, more money enters circulation, so people are willing to spend more on goods and services. When you were younger, you may have only needed a dollar to afford a cheeseburger. However, due to the rising costs of beef, bread, condiments, labor, and other inputs, that same cheeseburger may cost three times as much today.
In the United States, inflation usually hovers around 2% every year. However, that is not a rule, so the inflation rate can easily change. If your assets are not growing at a higher rate than inflation, then you’re effectively losing money over time. Some countries experience higher inflation, and some countries experience lower inflation. Deflation is possible, but it is extremely rare, and it usually results from serious economic downturns.
Liquidity refers to the ability to exchange a product for cash, goods, or services. Naturally, your national currency is the most liquid asset in your country. If you’re in the United States, then the U.S. Dollar is the asset with the highest liquidity. You can exchange it for almost any legal good or service within the country, and every business in the country has to accept it as a valid form of payment.
Products with low liquidity include stocks, bonds, and real estate. Liquidity varies immensely between stocks. For example, you may have no problem finding someone who is willing to purchase a Facebook stock, but it may take several hours or days to find a buyer for something more obscure. If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, then you know how long it takes to convert real estate into cash. Between finding a buyer, getting inspections, dealing with the mortgage company, and all of the other minute details that go into selling a home, it may take months or years to convert your property’s equity into cash that you can easily spend.
Therefore, you should make sure that a portion of your wealth exists in the form of liquid assets. After all, you won’t be able to pay your bills or deal with an emergency if all of your funds are tied up in real estate. By keeping enough cash on hand, you’ll be in a better position to handle everyday expenses.
Gold Is Our Favorite Safe Investment With High Liquidity!
Pay Your Taxes
The government does not tolerate tax evasion. Even if it’s unintentional, you could face financial penalties and even time in prison for failing to properly pay your taxes. Investing can make your tax situation a little more complex, so you should reach out to a good accountant every tax season to make sure that you’re handling your taxes properly. Also, accountants know all of the little exceptions, credits, and loopholes in your area's tax codes, so they might be able to help you save a lot of money.
Manage Your Finances With the Help of a Professional
Not everyone is an investing genius, and that’s perfectly fine. Nobody expects you to know everything about investing. You want to see your money grow so that you can secure a brighter future. Therefore, it may be worth reaching out to a financial advisor. With their experience and knowledge, they will give you a broader understanding of your financial situation and investment options. Although you have to pay for a financial advisor’s services, they will likely help you earn more than enough money to offset the cost.
What About Precious Metals?
Precious metals are a great way to hedge against inflation, and they are also highly liquid. You can easily convert gold, silver, and other precious metals into cash, and their prices generally rise over time. Because precious metals are so important in various industrial applications, prices are expected to climb as companies buy more precious metals to produce their products.
Gold Can Protect Against Inflation
Among all of the precious metals, gold is probably the most stable, liquid, and lucrative. If you want to buy or sell gold, then you can probably find a vendor within ten minutes of your home. You will not get rich overnight by investing in gold, but it can prove very profitable over several years or decades.
Do you own a smartphone, laptop, or some other digital device? If you do, then you already own a very small amount of gold. Without gold, the microchips in these products couldn’t function, and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy these modern technological advances. Two decades ago, most people didn’t have a computer, phone, tablet, or any other digital device. However, in this day and age, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have at least one of these items.
The proliferation of modern digital devices won't stop, and since gold is such an integral aspect of these devices, demand for gold will continue to rise. Consequently, gold is a great way to beat inflation while protecting your portfolio from market volatility. Even if the stock market crashes, gold will still be valuable. The typical investor should allow gold to account for around 20-50% of their portfolio. However, you are free to invest more if you want to hedge against the risks associated with stocks, bonds, and other assets.
Stability, liquidity, and profitability aside, gold is also among the most secure assets on the market. You don’t need a fancy trading app or digital infrastructure to access, purchase, and sell gold. Instead, you can keep it on your property or store it in a safe deposit box at the bank. That way, you just need to turn a key and open a door whenever you want to access your wealth.
As long as you don’t blabber to the entire world about your hidden stash of gold, there is an extremely low risk of your gold being stolen. In contrast, stocks, bonds, and paper investments exist on digital ledgers. While that makes trading and accounting for these assets extremely convenient, it also makes them vulnerable to hacking and manipulation. If anything were to happen to the internet or power grid, then it would be very difficult to access your paper investments.
Silver and Other Metals
Silver is less expensive yet much more volatile than gold. Consequently, you should expect more drastic losses and gains over shorter periods. You can make a good amount of money by purchasing and selling silver at the most opportune moments, but you can also lose a lot of wealth if you’re not careful.
Platinum is quite volatile, and it’s also pretty expensive. Unless you’re willing to take big risks, you should be wary of platinum. Palladium is extremely valuable, and its price tends to grow at a steady pace. However, it is not nearly as liquid as gold or silver, so it may take longer to find a serious buyer.
The Coin Market
Rare and ancient coins can be extremely valuable to collectors, but the coin market is so unstable that it’s probably not worth the risk. Unless you are super interested in history, you should probably put your money towards something else. Coins are much less liquid than bullion, and fraudulent coin dealers set up shop all over the place, so coins aren't the safest investment.
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Most investors put the bulk of their money into stocks. Many investment experts claim that stocks should account for up to 80% of an investor’s portfolio. However, if you’re not comfortable with that much risk, then you can always put your money towards safer assets.
On the surface, stocks are very simple. You have to buy a stock at a low price, and you should wait to sell it at a high price. However, to earn the most money, you have to constantly check data, read the news, and analyze the market. The price of a stock can change in minutes, so it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the market.
Stocks come in a wide range of ever-changing prices, and some are much more volatile than others. Newer companies are more likely to go out of business, but they also have the potential to make a ton of money. While well-established stocks tend to be more stable, any small misfortune can make a powerful stock’s price suddenly plummet.
To illustrate this point, let’s pretend that a particular national restaurant chain has expanded extensively over the last decade. In turn, its stocks have skyrocketed in value. People love the restaurant, and most investors agree that it will continue to grow in popularity for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, despite the optimism, if a single location were to be struck by a sudden E. coli outbreak, then the stock’s price could sink overnight. All of that goodwill and optimism would be erased in mere minutes, and investors would lose a lot of money.
When purchasing stocks, you should pay close attention to relevant market factors and try to think of the company’s trajectory from a business perspective. For example, typewriter sales have been steadily declining for decades, so it may not be a good idea to invest in a company that primarily produces typewriters. Conversely, maybe you’ve heard whispers of typewriters making a big comeback as a part of some retro niche market. In that case, you would want to research those claims and invest in the best typewriter companies to profit more at the peak of the typewriter boom.
ETFs are like stocks, but they cover entire regions, commodities, or industries instead of individual stocks. You can almost think of ETFs as bundles of stocks that share certain similarities. Because ETFs don’t completely rely on any single company’s performance, they tend to be more secure and predictable than individual stocks. If you were to buy shares in a company that produces corn chips, then the health of the stock would depend on that company’s management, operations, and other unique factors.
Even in a booming corn chip market, a factory fire, mismanagement, or some other unforeseen situation could suddenly halt production. In turn, the stock's value would decrease. However, a corn chip ETF would not be as vulnerable to such unplanned incidents.
Although one company may underperform, in a healthy market, most companies would grow, so the value of the ETF would rise. ETFs are typically safer than stocks, but they are not without their risks. After all, certain events and policies can affect entire sectors and commodities. Thus, when trading ETFs, it’s important to look at broader economic trends that could affect the ETF's commodity, industry, or region as a whole.
Foreign Exchange Market
Over 160 official national currencies are in circulation across the globe. Each currency has its own value, risks, and advantages, and demand for different currencies changes every day. Much like stocks, you can trade currencies at different prices to earn a profit. As an example, let’s look at a theoretical exchange between Russian Rubles and Japanese Yen.
In this example, some experts think that the Russian economy is about to experience severe inflation. Meanwhile, the Japanese economy is projected to remain stable. A savvy investor hears about this, and she figures that the value of the Russian Ruble will decline due to the country’s impending economic issues.
Knowing that the Japanese Yen will likely maintain a more stable price, she exchanges thousands of Russian Rubles for Japanese Yen. When the economic disaster finally strikes, the value of the Russian Ruble decreases dramatically relative to the value of the Japanese Yen. In turn, when she exchanges the Japanese Yen back for Russian Rubles, she gets more Russian Rubles than she had originally invested.
Because of her smart investment, she could profit while protecting herself against inflation. However, if the economic situation would have developed differently, then she could have lost a lot of money. When you invest in the foreign exchange market, you should pay close attention to international relations, macroeconomic trends, weather patterns, epidemiological news, and other things that can affect countries on a broad scale. You can safely allocate about 10% of your portfolio to the foreign exchange market, but because it’s so unpredictable, you don’t want it to be a massive part of your overall strategy.
We Recommend To Start With A Safe & Profitable Investment (Gold)
When you purchase a bond, it’s like you’re giving a company a loan. They will pay you interest at regular intervals, and at the end of the term, they will return the principal investment. Some bonds extend over many months, and other bonds won’t mature for years or decades.
Long-term bonds may have better conditions, but they could be less profitable as the economy changes. As long as the company doesn’t go out of business, they will buy the bond back at a set date. In the meantime, you can’t really do much with a bond. Therefore, once you buy a bond, you just need to wait for it to mature, so they don’t require a lot of attention.
Cryptocurrencies have turned many investors into millionaires, but they’ve caused even more investors to file for bankruptcy. The cryptocurrency market is very new and exciting, but it is extremely unpredictable. The mere mention of a cryptocurrency by a popular public figure can drastically change its value.
Because cryptocurrencies are so new, regulators haven’t had time to make relevant laws to account for them. Consequently, it’s hard to tell how certain countries will handle cryptocurrencies in the future. Some governments have even considered banning cryptocurrency trading within their borders altogether, so cryptocurrencies aren’t really a great long-term investment.
Unless you’re willing to accept a ton of risk and uncertainty, it’s not a good idea to put a significant amount of money into cryptocurrencies. However, cryptocurrencies can actually be very useful for travelers. Cryptocurrency ATMs are everywhere these days, and as long as you have a phone that can scan a QR code, you can quickly exchange your cryptocurrency for cash. Furthermore, some businesses even allow you to purchase goods and services with cryptocurrencies, so some cryptocurrencies have very high liquidity.
Property values have been steadily increasing across most of the world. Thus, under most circumstances, a house is a very good long-term investment. Of course, you should research the neighborhood and local economic trends before buying property. For example, if people are actively moving away from an area, then you may want to buy property somewhere else.
Furthermore, you want to take local weather conditions into account. A home in an area with a lot of natural disasters may require a lot of expensive maintenance, and insurance rates will probably be higher. To offset your mortgage and maintenance costs, you may want to rent the place out. In that case, unless you want to spend a lot of time chasing people for rent and dealing with other issues, it may be better to simply pay a property management company to handle all of those tiny details for you.
Watch Your Wealth Grow
If your wealth isn’t actively growing, then it’s either stagnating or shrinking. A good investment strategy is vital for a comfortable retirement, so you should start investing sooner rather than later. By intelligently investing your money now, you can enjoy a more stable and carefree future.
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