Investing is the best way to increase your wealth, regardless of your age or economic status. Unfortunately, many people associate investments with Wall Street or other intimidating settings. However, many opportunities are available for individuals who aren't employed by big banks or hedge funds.
This article will give you a close look at the most accessible and convenient investment vehicles. Understanding these choices is essential for finding the right fit for your financial needs and goals. In a recent survey, 76% of Americans wished that they had handled their money differently in 2019. Learning what opportunities are available is your first step toward successful money management and wealth growth.
Here is a look at the most accessible investments available to individuals regardless of age, income, or economic status.
High-Yield Savings Accounts
High-yield savings accounts are the same as regular savings accounts, but they pay more interest. These accounts are available at traditional banks or online-only banks. Opening such an account is typically very easy and requires you to make a deposit and provide identity documents.
Good Investment Option For: People of any age who want to keep extra money or emergency funds in an accessible interest-bearing account should consider seeking out high-yield saving products. Also, you do not have to make any investment decisions after opening the account, so it is a good option for those who want a passive strategy.
Risks and Considerations: A high-yield savings account is a low-risk investment option, but the profits are low compared to riskier investments. Also, bear in mind that some banks will require you to deposit a high amount or maintain a specific balance to earn the best interest rate.
Certificates of Deposit
Certificates of deposit (CDs) reward customers for keeping money untouched in a bank for a pre-specified amount of time. The term can last from one month to several years. After depositing the money, you cannot touch it until the term is up. However, CDs pay a higher interest rate than savings accounts.
Good Investment Option For: A certificate of deposit is a good investment option for people who have extra money they do not plan to use in the near future and want a passive investment option that pays more than a high-yield savings account.
Risks and Considerations: Risks are extremely low with a CD, and interest rates are high compared to a savings account (but lower than other riskier investments). The one consideration is that if you withdraw the money before the term is up, you could have to pay a penalty.
Government Bond Funds
Government bond funds are a pooled investment. Rather than getting individual government bonds, you buy into a fund that holds a diversified debt portfolio. You can purchase these funds through a retail brokerage or a mutual fund provider. Some exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available through online stock brokerages focus on government bonds.
Good Investment Option For: Government bond funds are a step up from savings accounts and CDs. Because they are relatively safe investments, they are typically best for older individuals who want a low-risk way to use the savings they have already built. These funds can also work for anyone who is making a portfolio and intends to balance riskier investments.
Risks and Considerations: Government bonds are low-risk investments because they have federal backing. Being part of a diversified fund instead of purchasing individual bonds further lowers your risk. Some funds, however, charge a management fee to investors.
Real Estate and Rental Housing
Real estate investment involves purchasing property either for eventual resale or earning income from renting. One of the most important things first-time home buyers should know is that their house is an investment. People can also purchase investment properties for rental and resale. Real estate can be lucrative, but it is also complex because of market changes and the need to learn about property tax deductions and other issues.
Good Investment Option For: Investing in real estate by purchasing a primary residence is a viable option for anyone with the income to make mortgage payments. Additional properties are an option for investors with a lot of capital who understand the real estate market.
Risks and Considerations: The real estate market can fluctuate, but a home will generally increase in value over time. In addition to mortgages and maintenance costs, you need to consider property taxes. If you cannot afford these payments, you may need to apply for a property tax loan for your home. Homebuyers can also learn about such loans to ensure that they know the appropriate steps to take should it become necessary.
Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Etherium, are digital assets that fluctuate in value. You can buy and sell them using traditional currency on specialized exchanges. Recently, some mainstream online retail brokerages started to offer these products, as well.
Good Investment Option For: Cryptocurrencies are good investments for individuals with high risk tolerance. Since these are newer investment vehicles, there is no widely accepted strategy for successfully realizing consistent profits.
Risk and Considerations: Cryptocurrency is volatile, and it has experienced violent price fluctuations. These rapid movements can lead to large profits or losses. Also, crypto investors need to carefully research trading platforms because some brokers and exchanges are not regulated.
These bonds represent corporate debt. When you purchase them on an exchange or from a broker, you are purchasing the debt that the company promises to pay back with interest. Corporate bonds can have different maturity dates (dates when they need to be paid back in full), and the cost can also be affected by the company’s financial health and the likelihood of full repayment.
Good Investment Option For: Corporate bonds are best for people who want a predictable return and more potential profit than a government bond. These investments require research, including looking up the company’s credit rating.
Risks and Considerations: Corporate bonds are a relatively low risk if you purchase those with a high rating (Aaa to A). The risk and potential profit both increase when you purchase lower-rated bonds (with a Baa or lower rating).
Stocks can increase or decrease in value depending on market conditions. One way to earn money regardless of the price fluctuations is to get a dividend stock, which pays a portion of company profits to stockholders each quarter depending on how many shares they hold. You can purchase dividend stocks through a brokerage.
Good Investment Option For: People who want to purchase and hold investments for a long time may benefit from dividend stocks. They are also ideal for those who are willing to research and find stocks that they think will increase in value over time.
Risks and Considerations: Dividend stocks may lose value over time, which could cancel out any profits from dividends. Also, the share price can affect the amount of the dividend, so you will not always receive the same payout amount.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are combinations of multiple assets, like a mutual fund, but they trade on an exchange like individual stocks. They are, therefore, more accessible to retail investors. ETFs offer exposure to foreign markets, different asset classes, and industries.
Good Investment Option For: Since there are many different ETFs, any investor with a brokerage account can find and purchase funds that fit their investment goals, needs, and risk tolerance.
Risks and Considerations: Because of how they are traded, ETFs are riskier than more-passive forms of investment. At the same time, they also offer the chance for greater profits. Choosing profitable ETFs usually requires experience and research.