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Secure Your Future with these 5 Smart Investment Decisions

Secure Your Future with these 5 Smart Investment Decisions

Whether you’re saving for retirement or just to gain peace of mind, certain investments are better than others. In fact, investing in the wrong assets can actually be detrimental to your portfolio and everything you’ve worked for. With that being said, it’s important that you take an informed approach when making financial decisions in the coming months and years. Let’s take a look at five of the smartest investments you can pursue.

1. Gold and silver

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    When you look back at history and think about the ebbs and flows of global economies, what’s the one thing that’s never failed? The correct answer would be gold. In the more than 5,000 years it’s been used by humans, the value of gold has steadily increased.

    And according to reliable financial institutions, there is currently only enough gold for every person on earth to have one-third of an ounce. However, people are being born much faster than gold is being mined or discovered.

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    That ultimately means that gold will become increasingly scarce and values will continue to grow in the future. It’s the safest investment in the world and always will be.

    While gold is arguably the best investment opportunity, silver is still a safe choice and very lucrative. It’s also true that there’s currently less silver available on the earth than there is gold. That, combined with its relatively low price point, makes silver a no-brainer for investment and future financial security.

    2. Fine jewelry

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      Finally, it’s worth considering fine jewelry. This is a very nuanced investment sector and – much like gemstones – requires you to know what you’re looking for. In addition to the weight of gold, silver and diamonds, you also have to know about things like cut, clarity, quality and age.

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      However, if you do your due diligence prior to buying, you can often earn a hefty return in the end.

      According to Noam Flint of Naturally Colored, a colored diamond manufacturer, “Fine jewelry rarely depreciates and makes a solid financial investment for savvy investors interested in holding on to something for many years or decades.”

      3. Real estate

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        While the recent housing crash may have scared away novice investors, experienced financial experts know that real estate will always increase in value over any 10 year period. Think about it – there’s a limited amount of real estate and a rapidly increasing population.

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        Simply looking at the principle of supply and demand will show you what direction the market will head in over any extended period of time. From tax benefits to steady monthly cash flow, the benefits of real estate investing are numerous.

        4. Home improvements

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          If you’re like most people, your home is your biggest financial asset, and it’s time you start treating it as such. While the actual real estate your house is sitting on will appreciate over time, the physical structure will naturally depreciate if you don’t take care of it.

          Certain home improvements, while they require upfront capital, bring a high ROI when you choose to put your home on the market. Some of the most cost-effective home improvements projects include replacing the front door (113%), adding a deck (87%) and performing a minor kitchen remodel (82.7%).

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          5. Gemstones

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            Investing in gemstones requires a certain level of expertise, but it can be an enjoyable and worthwhile investment opportunity. Over the years, gems like rubies, blue sapphires, emeralds, spinel and topaz have increased in value and in turn rewarded savvy investors.

            While you don’t want to solely focus on gemstones, it can be a nice way to differentiate your portfolio when used in conjunction with some of these other investment options.

            What do you think? Do any of these five investment opportunities sound like they could fit in your portfolio? While it’s impossible to predict exact returns, history shows us that these are some of the safest and most secure investments you can make. Happy investing!

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            Larry Alton

            Business Consultant

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            Last Updated on March 4, 2019

            How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

            How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

            Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

            I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

            Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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            Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

            Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

            Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

            I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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            I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

            If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

            Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

            The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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            Using Credit Cards with Rewards

            Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

            You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

            I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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            So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

            What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

            Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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