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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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            Published on September 17, 2018

            How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

            How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

            Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

            With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

            So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

            1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

            It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

            You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

            So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

            2. When you want something big, wait

            Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

            It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

            We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

            A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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            So, you get the itch.

            You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

            Here’s where you have to take a step back.

            Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

            Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

            It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

            The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

            3. Live smaller than you can afford

            You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

            You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

            That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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            Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

            Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

            The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

            But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

            4. Practice smart grocery shopping

            Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

            But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

            Create a grocery budget

            Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

            Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

            I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

            Make a list… and never deviate

            Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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            You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

            These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

            Eat before going grocery shopping

            It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

            If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

            After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

            Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

            However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

            This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

            5. Cancel your gym membership

            Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

            The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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            Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

            I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

            Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

            Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

            For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

            Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

            There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

            It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

            I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

            Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

            The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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