If your ol’ granddad could see you now. Or if he can, from whatever rocking chair or cushy retirement home he’s spending time in… if he could only understand the breadth of options you have before you when it comes to investing your money.
Then again, maybe he can. Because today’s investment world is accessible to anyone with a few bucks and the wherewithal to understand the choices. Even dear old grandpa, who may be more on the ball when it comes to money than any of the rest of us.
The world of investing doesn’t look remotely like it did as little as 15 years ago. Not only because of the advent of online investment brokerages that put the power of the stockbroker into the hands of individual investors, and at a fraction of the cost, but because the number of ways to invest your money can literally boggle the mind.
Especially if your mind happened to have lived through the Great Depression. Buckle up, granddad, it’s not the big scary financial world of your youth anymore.
The biggest investment risk there is, it can be argued, is to not invest at all.
So when it comes to investing your money, the question isn’t if, it’s how.
The stock market, on the one hand, is the same old buy-low-sell-high place, still a little scary if you don’t know what you’re doing, but with much lower costs thanks to online resources and a climate that is much less tolerant of corporate abuse and information hoarding.
Mutual funds have overtaken individual stock portfolios, spreading risk and consolidating markets in a way that has become the bread and butter of most retirement vehicles.
If that’s not to your liking, the internet has also fueled a new level of accessibility into other markets, such as foreign currencies, precious metals (especially gold), and collectibles, the latter thanks to the social revolution that is eBay and Craigslist.
Investing in real estate? Never before has there been such a volume of data as there is today online.
Even your bank is in the investment game. Most banks offer inexpensive – and sometimes even free – investment counseling and brokerage services, and with online banking you have an unprecedented level of access to, and control of, your money.
The More Things Change…
But with all these resources, the choice remains on the table: how should you invest your money?
And on that count, very little has changed since grandpa’s day. Because the answer is found in weighing the two eternal questions of investing – how much risk are you willing to assume, and what are your needs and goals when it comes to liquidity and investment return?
As it was in grandpa’s day, this is the place to begin your investment journey. Because that equation has changed little over the years. Those two questions still rule the entire universe of investing. Or at least, they should.
With so many options on the table, there’s really no reason to not find the optimal investment for virtually any combination of answers to those two key questions. Because the information is out there, a few clicks away, and at a level of depth never before possible.
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