Courtesy Photo-Matthew Thornton Chronicle News Finance Blogger
Disclaimer* I am not a macroeconomist nor am I making millions in investments. This article is a 101 on some of the many options you have investing. Also some of the benefits and downfalls. Always remember, there is no one size fits all approach to ANYTHING. Make sure you are reviewing your personal views, beliefs and obversion to risk before jumping into any investment. With that said, on with the article.
Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Mana, Ripple, Dogecoin and Bitcoin. Unless you've lived under a literal rock for the last couple of years at least one of these names should ring a bell. Cryptocurrency has been thrust onto the financial centerstage. Many people have jumped on this and many other investment vehicles since the start of the pandemic. Some are oldies, but goodies others are wee babies. All may help better your financial future. Before that can happen you need to explore some options.
Cryptocurrency/NFT: Finance's current power couple. Crypto has been around for a decade plus. Now with over 20 million Americans and around 106 million worldwide investing in one or more types of cryptocurrency any doubts of staying power should be silenced. It is however the Wild West out there. With no true federal regulation and over 10,000 types of crypto to choose from its easy to get loss in the ocean. However, with high risk comes high reward. If you’re willing to live with the ups and downs of a new, volatile investment tool its definitely worth wading into. The true game changer of crypto is the block chain technology. Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. This decentralizes all the information and allows access to any and everyone. This same technology is changing how art and collectibles are distributed, archived and sold. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a blockchain that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files. Being saved on blockchain technology, this offers a new alternative to going through the red tape of copyright and trademarking. These new technologies are giving more power to the common man. Allowing access to finance, investing, entrepreneurship capabilities for those that don’t have thousands of dollars to start with.
Stocks: Evolving with the times stocks have become easier to use and reach with apps like Stash, WeBull and Robinhood. You can invest as little as a dollar in your favorite companies to begin building a portfolio. These apps also offer information on growing your investment acumen. With these apps it's hard to reach someone when something goes wrong. When something goes wrong that may mean you can’t trade, which means your money might be on hold. Which happened to traders on Robinhood with Gamestop stock. If you don’t want to go in by yourself there are professionals that will help with putting your money into investment vehicles for you.
Real Estate: Old faithful of investments. People will always need land and a place to live. Right now everyone is looking for their own. Homes are going for in some cases 30K over asking price. The pandemic slowed things to a crawl for several months at the beginning, but the housing market came back like a lion. Low mortgage rates and people working from home allowed for 2020 to be the biggest year in existing home sales since 2006. With the weather getting warmer things should stay hot in 2021 for the housing market.
Forex: Ever wanted to trade a Dollar for British Pound? Of course, who hasn't? You can access the Foreign Exchange Market (Forex) and do just that. Not just different types of currencies, but also precious metals like gold and silver. This is one I haven’t really gotten into. When selling jewelry I used to keep up with the price of gold and silver. This is something tangible that will always have some sort of value and not strictly based on the faith in companies like the stock market or the whims of social media like cryptocurrency.
A friend posted a great quote on Facebook. "You can't save yourself into wealth, you have to play offense." Hiding money in your mattress or leaving it sitting in savings will not move the needle into the black. Just make sure to do your research, follow your gut on what makes sense for you and be patient. The markets constantly fluctuate. Don’t make a money move on a temporary emotion to a drop in value. Make an investment plan and stick to it. This is a crazy time all around, finance is no different. Make sure your plans work for you, don’t allow them to work you.