Got Extra Money? How Should You Invest It?
Learning the magical art of forecasting the future of an asset can change your life for the better. If you have extra money, invest it. Investing will make it grow. Learning to invest is a journey from bewilderment to fascination. And once you get good at it, you’ll be able to live off your earnings and the interest it accrues for the rest of your life.
Where and How to Invest Money
Be slow. Be cautious. Start with safer investments. Give yourself time to learn how to invest money. Learn how to speak the specialized language. Learn how to decipher the enigmatic charts. And learn with passion and purpose.
Then, when you feel more confident, move on to riskier investments. Use your expanding savings account to prove to yourself that you know what you’re doing. Remember, the greater the risk, the higher the return.
How to Start Investing
Beginners often ask plenty of questions like: How to invest $1,000? What should first-time investors do? Should I raise funds through peer-to-peer lending? They want to know how to coax their money to make more money. As a result, they’re all over the place.
Here’s the thing: forget about buying “investing for beginners” guides, reading “investing for dummies” blog posts, and downloading free “stock market for dummies” e-books. Instead, try to understand the fundamentals about assets, holdings, and securities.
Here are some things you should focus on when learning how to invest:
- Foreign currency
- The stock market
- Penny stocks
- Exchange-traded funds
- Mutual funds
- Index funds
- Real estate
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
1. Where and How to Invest in Foreign Currency
Forex or foreign exchange trading on the currency markets is one of the biggest markets in the world. One way to understand its size is to compare it to the securities market (stocks, bonds, etc.). While the securities market trades at $22.4 billion each day, the trading volume in forex dwarfs this figure. The forex market trades at an unbelievable $5 trillion a day.
How to Invest in Foreign Currency
The math is simple: make money by buying low and selling high. You’ll profit from the price difference. Common currency pairs are the EUR/USD, AUD/USD, EUR/GBP, USD/JPY and GBP/USD. These common currency pairs can be bought and sold on many online platforms and even over the counter.
There are high risk, smaller currencies, that are increasingly popular for currency investors because of the possibility of outsized returns. The Vietnamese Dong, the currency of Vietnam, is interesting because Vietnam is in the middle of an economic boom. In fact, observers believe Vietnam has overtaken China in its economic rate of development. While we can’t predict how the Vietnamese Dong will react to market conditions it’s a currency to watch closely.
After many years of political and social malaise, Iraq’s economy is finally showing signs of improving. Since Iraq has rich oil and gas reserves it could become a major energy producer and exporter thereby buoying the economy and potentially having a major impact on the Iraqi Dinar.
2. Where and How to Invest in Stocks
Investing in stocks can be profitable. Professional traders can earn anywhere from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand a year. The difference in trading results is due to how much they invest in stocks and what type of trading system they use. Your success in the stock market will depend on a few things. One, of course, is winning trades on individual stocks. The other is keeping your losses manageable.
Most new stocks trade in the primary market, which is a high-risk market. But many small traders prefer to trade in the secondary market. This is less risky because it deals with familiar stocks, those traded before.
How to Invest in the Stock Market
Begin by finding a few markets that you would like to specialize in and then educate yourself about them. Start with paper trading until you demonstrate some success in predicting market moves.
3. Where and How to Invest in Penny Stocks
Penny stocks are part of the stock market. They are low-grade securities that sell for less than five dollars a share. When you buy penny stocks, you are investing in small companies. Since their future performance is hard to gauge, it’s a high-risk investment.
How to Invest in Penny Stocks
Penny stocks are often called “the slot machines of the stock market” for a good reason. You have a good chance of losing your money. But you could also get lucky. The stock could pay out a high return on investment. While you don’t need to stay clear of penny stocks, don’t make them your primary choice of investments.
4. Where and How to Invest in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETF)
This is a type of investment fund that’s traded on stock exchanges. An ETF will hold assets like stocks, bonds, or commodities. It operates on the basis of arbitrage.
How to invest in exchange-traded funds:
You would invest using the same mechanisms as stock trading.
5. Where and How to Invest in Bonds
Government organizations and corporations issue bonds to raise money. As an investor, you’ll earn interest each year. After the maturity date, the issuer will repay your original investment.
How to Invest in Bonds
- Find an established brokerage and set up an account.
- You can buy bonds in different ways. You can buy individual bonds, or bond mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds.
- Decide on the time-frame based on when the bond will mature. Verify the issuer’s ability to pay interest and repay principle by reviewing credit rating.
- Consider I, municipal, and corporate bonds. The US government backs I bonds while state and local governments back municipal options. Corporate bonds are different, they offer better returns, but not the same assurance.
6. Where and How to Invest in Mutual Funds
Mutual funds offer the beginning investor many advantages. They are predictable enough for long-term investments, like saving for retirement. They keep a low-cost structure and are amenable to focused investment strategies. They are good for the long haul, for people who are averse to risk. They are not good for short-term investors.
How to Invest in Mutual Funds
- Research well. For general information, review the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website. For specific information use a rating service like Morningstar.
- After you’ve chosen the best mutual funds, read the literature. Peruse the prospectus. Understand the fees and the tax consequences.
- Avoid brokerages. They charge high fees. Prefer to invest through your bank, credit union, or some other trusted financial institution.
7. Where and How to Invest in Index Funds
Index funds match and track a market index. A good example is the Standard & Poor’s 500. This is a stock market index. It includes the market capitalization of the top 500 corporations on the NYSE and NASDAQ.
How to Invest in Index Funds
- Pick an index fund that suits your needs.
- Buy it through a broker or an investment firm.
- Maintain your index fund. It helps to keep your portfolio stable and balanced.
8. Where and How to Invest in Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is based on a peer-to-peer network of computers called a blockchain. Digital currency was not well-known until it proved successful in verifying financial transactions. Now, it has attracted worldwide attention in the financial world.
Cryptocurrency has become popular because it solves many currency verification and regulation problems involved in financial transactions. There are more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies now in circulation.
How to Invest in Cryptocurrency
Suppose you want to invest in a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (the first successful cryptocurrency, introduced in 2009). Here is how you would go about it:
First, use a reputable online Bitcoin service to create a Bitcoin wallet. You would fund your wallet by linking it to your bank account.
Second, buy and add your crypto coins to your wallet after the Bitcoin service verifies your account.
Third, you can use Bitcoin in many ways. You can use it to make retail purchases, sell your coins on an exchange, or sell them to another user. One common investment strategy is to buy from one country and sell to another because Bitcoin prices differ all over the world.
9. Where and How to Invest in Real Estate
Real estate is all about buying and selling land and buildings. It is a popular way to expand an investment portfolio. You can make money by buying and selling a property or through renting out a property to a tenant.
How to Invest in Real Estate
Begin by learning about the real estate market in your area and see what opportunities are available. You may decide to flip a home by buying a distressed property at a low price, fixing it up, and then selling it at a profit. Or you may decide to buy a property and rent it out.
10. Where and How to Invest in Gold
Gold has been a favorite form of investment for most of recorded history. It remains popular to this day. It’s fungible — meaning you can buy it for one purpose but use it for another. It’s also easy to transport and store. And, of course, it’s valuable all over the world.
How to Invest in Gold
Here are the five “golden” rules for investing in gold:
- Decide why you want to buy gold. Do you want to buy gold and sell it for a quick profit? If you do, then buy scrap gold from people and resell it to retailers. Do you want to buy gold as a long-term investment? First, buy gold bullion from a broker (like Treasury Vault). Then keep an eye on the market price fluctuations and sell when it’s profitable.
- Learn how to haggle. The commission rate for gold futures is always open for negotiation.
- Don’t pay too much for gold. Like all assets, the price of gold does go up and down. Be sure and research all different ways of buying gold so you can capitalize on getting the biggest bang for our buck.
- Understand the jargon. A “karat” is not a “carat.” These are not variations in spelling. Carat describes the weight while karat describes its purity.
- Stay safe. If possible, don’t store gold at home. A bank vault is a better option. If you must store it at home, be discreet, keep it out of sight, and lock it in a safe. Staying safe also refers to avoiding getting scammed. Sign up for U.S. Mint consumer alerts.
Final Thoughts: How to Invest to Make Money
It doesn’t matter if you want to invest to buy a house, retire early, or make a million dollars, the process is the same. The difference is in how much you invest, how long you invest, and how much risk tolerance you can handle.
Study a few investments, master them, and then spread your funds over a diversified portfolio. Diversify with forex, stocks, bonds, gold, and real estate, or any other combination you like. Learn more about investing here on this site, then contact us for more information on some of the investment opportunities we offer. We’re happy to help.