Updated: Sep 1, 2018
So I really want to talk about several investing issues in this blog post. But first, before I start I want to say that I am not a financial advisor so take what I am saying with a grain of salt. Please just use the information in this blog post as another data point to be compiled along with other investment data which you collect to form your own investment style. Obviously, everything I am saying here is just my opinion, just my thoughts on investing based off of my experience having been involved in various markets for many years. Okay, with that out of the way, the first issue I would like to talk about is the need to just be invested, to be involved, to have your money working for you. Now I am not advocating that you should just invest in anything, you still need to do the work required to find good investments that fit your risk tolerance. What I am saying is that for most people they just should not leave their money sitting in a savings account earning interest. Just look at the list below, the highest rate you are going to get is a little over 1% which does not even come close to keeping up with inflation. So if you just keep your money in savings accounts you will be losing money (buying power) year after year. You could also put your money in a CD or money market account and get a little more but most likely you would just keep up with inflation.
Now depending on your age or risk tolerance, you may prefer to just keep your money in a savings account, CD or money market account and that is fine. We all have to decide what our risk tolerance is, investing is not for everyone, what I am saying is that for most people especially for younger individuals you are really missing out if you do not invest at least a portion of your savings. This brings up another issue, the need to save, as a country the US trails many other countries when it comes to personal savings but I won't get into it here as I cover this in a couple of other blog posts.
So as I have said a couple of times I would say the first step in deciding what to invest in is to determine your risk tolerance. You will need to take into consideration your age and your overall appetite for risk. The next thing I would do is to diversify, personally, I just wouldn't put everything into the stock market. My personal belief is that it is best to spread your investable funds into a wide range of investments. Below are a few investments you could use to diversify your portfolio. I have investments in most of them.
Real Estate (actual property or through Fundrise)
Crowd Funded Lending Platforms (Prosper or Lending Club)
Private Start-up companies (you can now invest in private start-ups through Seedinvest, StartEngine, Micro Ventures and others)
I realize the last one may shock some people or even a lot of people but I strongly believe that cryptocurrencies have a place in many investors portfolios. I would say they would belong in the riskier section of your portfolio but I do believe that a portion of your portfolio should contain some cryptocurrencies. Also, it will be up to each investor to determine which cryptocurrencies to invest in and how much of your portfolio you dedicate to cryptocurrencies. Even in the crypto space, there is a wide range of risk, what I would refer to as the large-cap crypto's (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Monero) along with a few others I would say carry a little less risk. In my opinion, you can categorize cryptocurrencies much the same as stocks are, with Large-Caps, Mid-Caps, Small-Caps, and pennies. Then you have ICO's (Initial Coin Offerings) which are like IPO's (Initial Public Offering) for stocks. I would categorize ICO's as probably one of the riskier investments in crypto's, although I personally have done pretty well with them.
I would say the next step once you determine your risk tolerance is to educate your self about what you want to invest in. The absolute worst thing you can do is to just start buying without knowing why you are buying or without having a detailed investment plan ahead of time, trust me, been there, done that! It generally does not end well.
Another tip would be to get acquainted with other investors, join chat rooms, pick their brains, learn from their mistakes. The more informed you are prior to putting your money at risk the better off you and your money will be. Also just to be clear, every investment carries some risk, it does not matter what you invest in unless you are just putting your money into a CD or Money market account. There are only varying degree's of risk but along with risk comes reward.
Another suggestion I would have would be to start out slow and take your time. There is no hurry to rush into any investments, the markets will always be there. If you are constantly worrying about your investments or can't sleep at night then you have too much money at risk. On the other hand, though you don't want to play it too safe either, it's all about finding the right balance.
So to sum everything up I would say above all get involved, get educated, get diversified, and get you some crypto!
Until the next blog post.