I think most people understand the importance of investing their money, but many people never get around to it. There are many reasons for the lack of action, but one of them is the fear of making bad investments.
Not all investments are created equally, some will always be safer than others, while some will always be risker.
There are safe investments that provide decent returns. They exist as long as you know how to approach investing in a reasonable manner.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when investing is to approach the whole endeavour with the wrong attitude.
Many are in a rush for big returns and only consider big risky investments. It’s very common for people to adopt the attitude of “I can’t afford to invest because I can’t afford to lose my investment”, the other common attitude is “there’s no point investing if the returns are so low”
Both attitudes follow the common rule of high risk, high returns and low risk low returns.
The general rule is for investments with lower returns to be safer and the ones with the potential for higher returns to be riskier. This is a blanket statement that has some truth to it, especially for people who don’t have a clue what they are doing.
BUT, and everything has a but.
First we need to fully understand risk in terms of investing. Without understanding risk properly, you will never know how to identify what is actually a risky investment.
When people talk about risk, we normally talk about the chance of failure. In investment terms, this means not making any money, or even losing your investment.
Now, you have to understand that every investment will involve risk. But this doesn’t mean every investment is risky. For an investment to be deemed risky it has to have a higher chance of failure than success.
That’s pretty simple to understand, but you must be wondering “how do I know if an investment has a higher chance of failure than success?”
To understand how risky an investment is, you need to consider three aspects.
- The timespan of your investment
- The larger environment of your investment
- Your own personal ability to absorb risk
The timespan of your investment
The timespan of your investment will influence how risky the investment becomes. The general rule is for longer investments to be less risky than short term investments.
The reason for this is because variables tend to have a smaller effect across a longer period of time.
Index funds follow this rule. The overall stock market will go up and down on an hourly basis but over a decade, the index almost always rises. So if you put money into an index fund and left it there for a decades, there’s a big chance your investment will give you a nice return.
If however you plan to day trade, then you have a lot more things to consider. Selling at 10am might instantly give you a different result if you sell out at 2pm instead.
The general rule goes: The shorter your investment timespan, the risker the investment will be
The larger environment of your investment
An analysis of the great environment your investment takes place in, is also needed to better understand the “riskiness” of an investment.
The external environment is all the variables that can influence your investment, but is not directly part of the investment process. For example, the employment rate of a country is something you should take into account if you’re looking into rental property investment. This is because a low unemployment rate can indicate people’s ability to rent or, maybe their preference to buy instead of rent.
That’s obviously not the only external environmental variable you should take into account for the above example, but you get the idea on how to start identifying variables, or “risk metrics” for your investment.
The general rule goes: The more risk metrics there are and the more evenly influential they are, the less risky an investment is. The same thing applies for the opposite case.
An investment with few risk metrics are their level of influence on your investment is skewed to only a few; the riskier the investment will be.
Your own personal risk assessment
The first two elements mean nothing without this third one.
You must understand how much risk you can tolerate. Without understanding the amount of risk you can take on, you won’t be able to effectively analyse the above two elements to get any useful conclusions.
Sure, you might know that rental property is going to take 15 years before it starts bringing money in, by that time the capital gain on the property would let you cash out if you wanted to. And you also know the unemployment rate is low and the average price of a house is too much for the average salary.
It all seems great and the idea of investing in a rental property looks like a low risk and high (decent) return investment.
But that might not actually be the case until you fully understand your own situation.
This is where a personal risk assessment comes in. The main reason is to identify how much risk can you financially tolerate and how much risk is too much for you. Remember, every investment involves risk, but not all are risky.
And what is risky for you might not be risky for me.
So how do you assess your personal risk tolerance?
In order for you to assess yourself, you need to ask yourself a few questions. How much money do you have to invest currently? This will help you to instantly narrow down your options.
The second question is How idle is that sum of money? meaning how long can you put this capital in your investment before needing to recoup your initial investment back? This is to determine what type of timeframe your situation allows.
Someone who doesn’t have an emergency fund but currently has too much cash sitting around doing nothing, should avoid options that ties their money down to a fixed term. Such as bonds for example.
The third question to ask yourself is How much time do you have to manage your investment?
Not all investments require upfront capital. More and more investments (especially the ones online) need your time and effort more than money. If you have a lot of money to invest but little time to manage then you can easily hire an expert to do the investing for you.
BUT if you have little money to start with and little time to manage your investments, then you investment options instantly narrow down.
The fourth question to ask is How fast do I want to see results and how much do I want to get back?
An investment that takes 10 years minimum to start making any sort of money might be too long for most people. Give yourself a time you would want to see your results by. You’ll also want to ask yourself how much you want to gain in return.
ROi (return on investment) is how you calculate the amount an investment will be able to make in percentage terms. Meaning you are measuring the effectiveness of an investment’s ability to growth your wealth.
You calculate it by taking the money you gained (or estimate to gain) by the time you cash out or whatever time point you want to calculate it by (1 year/ 5 years/ 6 months etc) and minus the cost of the investment. Then you divide this number by the cost of the investment and you will get the ROi
For example: I invest $250 to produce and launch a paperback, ebook and audio book on Amazon’s publishing platforms. After 1 year, that particular investment has made me a total of $1500.
Then it’s (1500 – 250) / 250 = 5
That’s 500% ROi.
Those numbers are very mediocre Kindle publishing numbers. Which is one of the reasons I’m a big Kindle publishing advocate.
But obviously not every investment is going to give you a 500% ROi. Most stocks will see a modest 6 -8% ROi.
Rental properties can get you 10% ROi.
These are the safest investments for high returns, or decent returns with low risk involved.
Now that you understand how to assess the “riskiness” of an investment, here are some options that will be suitable for most people looking for high (decent) returns and low risk investment options.
The numbers I shared in the example above means this one was guaranteed to make it on the list.
The initial investment is anywhere from $250 – 350. and you’ll be looking at a 500% ROi within 1 year. These numbers are one of many reasons why Kindle publishing is one of the best side hustles a person can start.
The time investment required to produce and launch is roughly 1 month. Out of this one month you will probably only need to commit a total of 10 hours of active work. (maybe more if you’re new and still figuring it out)
Kindle publishing is perfect for anyone. But there is a limitation.
The amount of money or time an investment requires will also indicate the amount you get back. So although the ROi is 500% on average. That objective number is only around $1500.
Which isn’t going to change your life too much.
So for Kindle publishing to work, you must produce multiple books. A whole portfolio of books. This in turn, does take money and time.
You should keep that in mind if you choose to start Kindle publishing yourself. You can check out my Kindle course to learn everything you need to start earning passive income from ebooks.
Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
The amount of money required to start is extremely low. You can start Pinterest affiliate marketing with zero money. Or you can choose to invest in a few tools that wouldn’t amount to more than $30 per month.
So the upfront monetary cost for this investment is low.
The time commitment is also low if you automate the marketing system. If you choose not to, than this investment is highly time intensive due to Pinterest’s algorithm.
The money making potential of affiliate marketing on Pinterest is huge, because of how easily pins get shared and circulated on the platform.
A juicer sold on Amazon for $200 will get you a 4.5% commission rate under the Amazon associate program. That’s $9 for every conversion you make.
Can easily make you $20,000+ in a year if you create multiple pins directed to the same affiliate product.
The average pin when marketed correctly can get up to 300 clicks within a few days. The average conversion rate is about 5%. That’s 15 sales for each pin you upload on to the platform.
If you created 365 pins in a year, one for each day. Realistically some will flop but the average will meet the above numbers. Then you can safely assume you will get around 3000+ conversions. That’s $27,000 in a year, for one affiliate product.
Your ROi is [27,000-(30*12)]/(30*12) = 74! That’s a whopping 7400%
High Dividend Stocks
There are several types of stocks, each with very different characteristics. But you only need to care about high dividend stocks to lower your risk and still get decent returns.
These stocks consistently pay dividends to their share holders every year. Sometimes twice a year, sometimes even quarterly. But these stocks consistently pay dividends.
The amount of dividends are also relatively high. The usual range is 5 – 7%. The stock price is typically rather high (not always), and the price never fluctuates a whole lot. (which makes the amount of dividend you get rather stable)
These stocks are the perfect investment for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to manage their investment. They want a “do it and forget it” type of investment they don’t need to be hands on with.
Though, this isn’t a good investment for anyone thinking of cashing in within 1 year, or even 5 years. This investment is for anyone wanting to beat inflation levels and see some modest growth.
You’ll need to keep your investment, and ideally reinvest your dividend payouts back in for several years to see substantial growth. Perfect for steady retirement planning.
This is another long long term investment. If you were looking at investing in property and wanting to cash out within 10 years than it instantly becomes rather risky for most people.
If you plan to play the long term game of at least 2 decades, then it’s instantly almost a sure win.
Property markets behave similarly to index funds, when the overall economy is good, the property market will rise and when it’s bad, well prices drop.
However, just like index funds, they tend to always see increases in value over decades. Fluctuations within the short-term, but almost always on the up when viewed on a longer timeframe.
The above is just focusing on capital gains (the market value of the property). However, you also have the potential for rental income.
If you placed a downpayment you are in no rush to get back, and you managed to secure a mortgage at a rate that is easily manageable. You can effectively pay the mortgage with rental income and simple wait.
Wait until the market is right and the property already increase in value to cash out.
The above strategy is common and almost fail proof if you’re diligent in finding the right property with the right numbers. However, you need a lot of upfront cash, which you have no use for and you need to be awfully patient.
It is however, one of the best ways to store wealth.
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Other resources you should check out:
- The best overseas real estate markets to invest in for retirement
- Top 5 passive income streams for busy individuals
- Frugal spending habits that don’t suck
- Kindle publishing: what is it and how to do you make money from it