There’s a cheeky expression on Wall Street that says the best time to invest is “yesterday,” followed by “today.” The principle behind this axiom is that the longer you can keep your money invested, the more you can benefit from the power of compound interest.
If you’ve got $100,000 to invest, the best place to put that money will depend on a number of factors. Before you invest it, you should take the time to design a clear road map and get your other financial affairs in order. Here are some suggestions as to the preliminary steps you should take, along with recommendations for where to invest that $100k today.
Before You Invest
Even if you have $100,000 of available funds, you should take some steps before you invest it all. Getting your financial house in order first is a way to ensure that you can enjoy the fruits of your investments.
Clearly Define Your Investment Objectives and Risk Tolerance
The cornerstones of your financial plan should be your investment objectives and risk tolerance.
Your investment objectives are how you want your money to grow — broadly defined, you can choose from speculation, growth, or income. Your risk tolerance defines how much volatility you are willing to stomach.
It’s important to be realistic about how much risk you are comfortable with so that you won’t get scared out of the investments you pick.
Pay Off Your High-Interest Debt
Debt is the killer of any savings or investment strategy. If you earn 10% on your investment but are paying 18% interest on your credit card debt, you’re still losing 8% per year. Pay off all of your high-interest consumer debt before you divert your money towards investments.
Build an Emergency Fund
Having an emergency fund prevents you from having to go into debt to cover financial surprises. Ultimately, this means you may have to draw down your investment fund to pay for emergencies, which will prevent you from consistently building your wealth.
Where To Invest
Now that you’ve got your financial foundation covered, it’s time to put your investable money to work. Here are six opportunities you could discuss with your financial advisor regarding the best places to earn today.
Index funds are probably the easiest, most cost-efficient way to invest in the broad market — and they may very well be the best for the average investor. At least, that’s what the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett — known as the “Oracle of Omaha” — believes.
The billionaire has directed that 90% of his estate be invested in S&P 500 index funds after he passes, and he stated multiple times that low-cost index funds are likely the best choice for the average investor.
Exchange-traded funds are nearly limitless in their variety, and most can be purchased for zero commission from a number of brokers. With one investment, you can access a completely diversified portfolio — or one focusing on a single sector of the market — and you can sell your shares at any time on the open market.
If you think oil prices, interest rates or the dollar have peaked, you can own ETFs that bet against these areas. Similarly, if you think that the selloff in tech stocks has been overdone, you can buy any number of ETFs that focus on different areas of the tech sector.
Dividend-paying stocks can hold up better than the broad market in a recession, which many economists believe the American economy is already in. Companies that pay high dividends generally are well-known brands with consistent cash flows that provide products consumers need in any economic environment, such as food, beverages or household products.
Companies in this sector include names such as Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson, currently paying dividends of 2.95% and 2.6%, respectively.
Investors looking to maximize their investment gains might turn to growth stocks. While many growth stocks are riskier than the market as a whole, they can offer higher potential long-term returns as well.
As of early Nov. 2022, many of the most familiar names in the growth stock world, from Microsoft and Apple to Netflix and Meta, were down 22% to 75% in 2022 alone. For those that will recover, this could make an excellent entry point for long-term investors.
Diversification is critical to reducing risk in a portfolio, even one composed solely of stocks. If you want to remain 100% in the stock market but want to reduce your risk, look at buying stocks that move up and down at different times.
For example, in 2022, oil stocks have posted a great rally while the overall market, and tech stocks in particular, have been hammered. Thinking of stocks in terms of these types of opposing movements can help reduce the overall volatility of your portfolio.
Savings Accounts, CDs and Short-Term Bonds
For conservative investors, 2022 has offered the first chance to earn a decent yield in years. Many online savings accounts now pay 3% or more, while short-term CDs and bonds pay over 4%. For those looking to preserve their capital while still earning a return, this can be a good option.
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