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We’re a lot more risk-averse than we were twenty years ago. Fewer people are investing in the fear that it’s not stable or that they won’t see a return. Whilst getting involved in investing is still a gamble, some investment strategies are much safer and much more trusted than others. Here are some of the most popular and reliable investment strategies that investors are pouring their money into today.
This precious metal has long been a safe haven for investors. As long people associate gold with wealth, the value will continue to rise.
There are many ways to invest in gold. The likes of the Royal Mint have long produced bullion coins and bars made specifically for investing in. However, it’s possible to find physical gold elsewhere such as old gold artefacts, jewellery or gold straight from the mine. Some may prefer to not own a physical asset and invest in shares known as gold exchange traded funds (ETFs). Unit trusts are a similar option.
Getting to grips with the gold industry and the lingo (such as bull points and bear points) is often advised first to ensure you make the right investment. Brokers can help you to know where to invest – whether it be a physical bullion bar or an ETF.
Some of us may have a parent or an uncle that’s keeping a bottle in the cellar as an investment. Indeed, as some wines age, they can triple in value. However, as with any investment, you need to know your stuff.
Some people will buy into a well-known area such as Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne, whilst others will read reviews of a more niche wines and study harvest seasons. Getting the opinion of a wine expert can often be beneficial. Either way you need to do your research in order to ensure you buy a bottle that’s going to be worth something in the future.
Many people wanting to make more than a few quid’s profit will buy more than a single bottle. If you have the storage space, a crate of good wine can be an excellent investment. Only buy what you can afford to lose – fortunately the beauty of wine is that even if it isn’t doesn’t rise in value, you’ll always be able to drink it and get use out of it.
Quite possibly the biggest area for first-time investors is property. There are two main options here – buy and sell later at a profit or buy and rent and then make profit off this rent.
The buy and sell later strategy requires a little more money and patience. Experienced property investors know how to ‘flip’ properties – which involves buying them low and then selling them high within a short amount of time. A property may appreciate over time due to the location or other factors, but generally some extra renovation is needed to help boost the value.
Buying to rent is a different ball game. Here you can get tenants to pay off your mortgage for you whilst making a small profit on top. It’s generally advised to have some money on the side for emergencies – as a landlord you may be required to make repairs or you may have to pay for a period in which there are no tenants living in the property. Using a landlord service to ensure there are always tenants in the property and that their needs are always met can cost a little extra, but is certain to relieve some of the stress.
You’re often best buying through an agency. On top of high street estate agencies, there are now many online agencies dealing in property. Buying independently can sometimes save you money, but you’ll have less choice. Another option is to visit a property auction where you may be able to place a bid on a property and make a profit.
Keeping an eye on fluctuating currency rates can often be a way of making a tidy profit. However, it can also be one of the more risky ventures as an unforeseen political event can often send currency exchange rates into disarray. As a short-term investment strategy, it can be worthwhile.
ETFs are one of the easiest ways to invest in foreign currency. This involves buying a certain amount of foreign currency digitally and then selling it once that currency’s value goes up. Forex trading is another option that involves picking two currencies other than your own, buying one and selling it for another to make a profit. Brokers can often be useful when venturing into forex trading as they may have more knowledge of which foreign currencies are likely to rise and which are likely to drop.
Old currencies are another investment, although not nearly as profitable. Avid coin collectors will pay a lot of money for a rare coin from the past. You do need to sell a few coins to make any real profit, which can make it more a hobby for many people. Having a lot of know-how is essential – coins may have to authenticated by a professional before buying them as there are a lot of fakes about.
In previous years, oil was a safe bet amongst investors. But now with growing fears of climate change and moves to renewable sources, oil is one of the riskiest investments out there. Some predict that there may be another spike in value and that oil prices could double in five years. Others predict that renewable energy’s takeover is unstoppable and that oil prices could halve.
Researching oil companies thoroughly is advised before taking a punt in this direction – a stable company with a good reputation is what you want.
Renewable energy has taken a while to find its feet, but it’s now a booming industry. New wind farms and solar panel startups are cropping up all the time, and future moves to link more household power to renewable sources makes it seem like a very profitable option.
Of course, it does still have its risks. Finding a new sustainable energy startup to invest in is still like investing in any business startup shares – you have to trust the people behind it to ensure the business won’t fold in a couple years. Always do your research into the owners of the business and their previous experience (Have they owned a business before? Have they got experience in renewable energy?) as well as public opinion on sustainable energy within your local area (do the locals want a wind farm built in their backyard? Is there a lot of green awareness?). Brokers may be able to help in this regard as with any time of investment.
When it comes to tech, investing in a startup can be a big risk. Social media seemed off-limits a couple years ago – the rise and fall of MySpace showed how quickly a shortlived a social media trend could be. Facebook has since taken its place, but instead of falling as everyone predicted it’s just continued to rise and this trend sees no chance of stopping any time soon.
As a result, many are now investing in Facebook shares as it continues to prove secure. Twitter has proven less stable with shares dropping and rising sporadically. There are predictions that another company may buy it up in 2017. Could now be the time to invest?
VR is the latest fad when it comes to tech. People are buying headsets and virtual reality games faster than ever before. There are predictions that for the next ten years, VR is destined only to keep growing making it oasis for investors.
Of course, it’s still early days for VR and the risk is still there. Thoroughly researching all hardware and software companies in the field may allow you to make a more informed decision – you don’t want to waste your money on a company that goes bust in two years as other VR giants take over.
Websites such as LendingClub are providing new opportunities for investors wanting to make a little extra money. These sites allow you to give out loans to other users. The user then pays these loans back with interest making you a profit. You can pay a share of a loan and then get the interest percentage back on that share. All in all, there are lots of possibilities both for those able to donate a lot and those only able to donate a little. You also have the freedom to only give loans to the causes you believe in and the users that you trust. Such sites are moderated, giving you some security that the person you’re lending to will pay up. Of course there is still a risk they might disappear off the face of the Earth with your money – the risk is more about human trust than the value of a commodity like many other investments making it all very new even to experienced investors.