by Brian Bagnall
Are you searching for your ideal way to grow your investments? You’ll want them to earn passively at the highest rate of return possible, while still making sure your money is safe so that you can live the retirement lifestyle you want to live.
It’s a dream many chase, but only a few manage to achieve. That’s evident by the number of people who are retiring broke.
It’s a shame, too, because it really isn’t that hard to set up a real, hands-free, growing stream of passive income that delivers high returns safely and securely. Those that have lived long before us knew how to do it. And it’s responsible for building the fortunes of many of today’s millionaires and billionaires.
Anyone with a bit of money to invest can get involved, and you don’t need an advanced math degree or a gambling spirit to grow your money safely and securely.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common investment strategies.
Stocks & Mutual Funds
A lot has been said about stocks; they have strong proponents and boast of many self-made millionaires, but at the same time many more investors have lost it all. The fact is, few stock investors ever strike it big. Do you personally know of anyone who struck it big on a stock?
There are several common myths about stock market returns. Some believe an investor can expect an annual rate of return of 10%. Some say it’s 12% and others say as high as 15%. Unfortunately for many investors, this just isn’t true. The facts are that the average annual rate of return for the stock market measured over a period of 100+ years has been 6.3% annually. This is a far cry from the 10% to 15% many investors are expecting. This chart illustrates this:
Even the greatest stock investor to ever live, Warren Buffett, agrees:
Investing in stocks sounds very hands-off at first, but once you dig into the details it sounds a whole lot more like…well, running a business. Even though investing in stocks is better than leaving your money sit in a checking account or investing in bonds or CD’s, Investors should be well studied in daily financial news to assess the state of their portfolios, paying careful attention to quarterly earnings, commodity prices, unemployment reports and interest rates, to name a few.
Generally, investing in individual stocks is a task best done by investors with more time on their hands. You might eventually be able to make a killing investing in stocks but it takes years of hard work—same as in the job world.
Or you can leave it to a stock broker to invest your money. However, a stock broker doesn’t have any legal responsibility to do what’s best for you. Brokers make their money when they buy and sell your stocks and they get bonuses for pushing certain stocks, so it’s in their best interest to keep turning over your portfolio.
Mutual funds represent another way to invest in stocks. In addition to stocks, mutual funds can contain bonds or other cash alternatives. Basically, your money is pooled, along with the money of other investors, into a fund, which then invests in certain securities according to a stated investment strategy. Fees for mutual funds can be excessive. Common fees are the fund manager’s fee, a front-end load upon initial purchase, a back-end load upon sale,as well as early redemption charges.
Stocks and mutual funds have no guarantees – a bankrupt company can liquidate all its shares and leave investors with nothing. Also, a company can lie about it’s profits and losses like Enron did and wipe out your investment account overnight.
Just like stocks, you’ll hear a lot of passionate opinions on both sides about annuities. Let’s cut through some of the confusion.
An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that requires the insurer to make payments to you, either immediately or in the future. You buy an annuity by making either a single payment or a series of payments. Similarly, your payout may come either as one lump-sum payment or as a series of payments over time.
Make sure you consider the financial strength of the insurance company issuing the annuity. You want to be sure the company will still be around, and financially sound, during your payout phase. As with stocks, you have to worry about the insurance company going bankrupt.
Here are some of the drawbacks of annuities:
- They are very expensive. There are fees for the insurance, charges built into the investments, mortality and expense risk charges, administrative fees, fund expenses, and fees if you try to get out of the annuity (called surrender charges) that are in effect for years or longer. Annual fees can be 3-4%.
- Your money can be tied up forever. After-tax annuities can’t be undone and your money must remain in one forever.
- They offer mediocre insurance coverage.
- Brokers and insurance agents get big commissions on annuities and they can be driven to sell them to you. That’s always a good reason to be wary. Commissioned sales people are NOT required to put your interests before their own interests.
- One of the biggest overall drawbacks for the average person is that they are hard to understand. You have to decide between deferred and immediate options, variable, fixed, and equity-indexed versions. Even if you understand the options, you can still choose the wrong one. The SEC even says most financial advisors don’t understand what they’re selling when it comes to annuities.
Since annuities are sold by insurance companies who have the best number crunchers on the planet, you can be sure that you’re not going to come out ahead when making a deal with them. Generally speaking, investors can do far better for themselves elsewhere.
Turnkey Real Estate
The old saying is almost right: “you have to spend money—or time—to make money.” As we’ve covered, stocks, mutual funds, and annuities require you to spend both time and money to make money. Real Estate does too, but with some large scale differences. Real Estate only requires an initial investment and the very occasional email—as little as once a year, when everything goes smoothly.
Real estate has probably made more people and families wealthy than any other investment. When you own something of real substance that real people need, the income is all but guaranteed. You need to be investing in the right properties, of course, and all homes need ongoing maintenance, but it’s easy to make the task of finding and maintaining profitable properties completely hands-off.
Turnkey real estate investing is a truly passive way to earn a steady and growing income, and it couldn’t be easier to get started.
In turnkey real estate, someone else does all the property hunting, identifies the best investment properties, then purchases them and fixes them up. They’ll put a management company in place and often even sign tenants to a lease, then sell the property to an investor who likes the idea of a monthly rent check coming in, but doesn’t want the hassles that come with one-on-one land-lording.
There are also tax advantages that come with real estate income that don’t apply to income earned through other business ventures — which virtually all “passive” income streams are — meaning you get hands-off earnings that the IRS keeps their hands off of, too!
The housing hiccup of the past decade left many wary about entering the real estate realm, but if you look at fifty years of history instead of ten you’ll see that no investment is as secure a way of building wealth. Fewer investors means better returns for those that jump in, with returns of 10% common and many properties returning 13% or more annually.
Any worthwhile passive income stream requires at least a little bit of learning. You need to know what your money’s doing even if you’re not doing anything yourself. You can learn more about turnkey real estate and generating a truly passive income in this web class, and get started building your work-free future today!