How do I Choose the Best Ways to Invest Money?

Malcolm Tatum

The decision to invest money is usually rooted in a desire to achieve some type of specific financial goal or to generate financial reserves that can be called upon when and as needed. While there are many different ways to go about the task of investing, not all strategies are right for every investor. Fortunately, it is possible to determine how you can invest money to best advantage by looking closely at your reasons for making the investment, your approach to money management in general, and which resources you can reasonably afford to use when acquiring investments.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

It is not unusual for people to invest money as a means of creating financial reserves for use with a specific purpose in mind. For example, parents may invest as a means of creating a nest egg that will allow their children to attend college. Others invest as a way to build reserves for use during their retirement years. The type of investments chosen should make it possible to reach the desired goal. Ideally, those investments have a strong chance of generating a specific amount of return within a given time frame. When this is the case, investors focus their attention on opportunities that are most likely to result in having the cash on hand when the event in question comes to pass.

Within the context of determining what you want to accomplish with the investments, it’s important to consider your general approach to money management. Investors who tend to be somewhat conservative in their spending are likely to also be leery of investment opportunities that carry a higher degree of risk. Here, the best approach is to look into mutual funds, stock options, and bond issues that may not provide the most spectacular returns, but do have a low rate of volatility. This approach makes it possible to incrementally build financial reserves using investments that are held over the long term, without having to be overly concerned about shifts in the market adversely affecting the value of those investments.

For individuals who are willing to assume more risk, it may make more sense to invest money in securities that have the potential to earn a significant return in a short period of time. The idea is to monitor the movement of those investments, selling them once the return is earned but just before the value begins to fall. This approach is more hands-on, and does require the investor to know how to evaluate and project market movements. Investors who enjoy the excitement of investing and are willing to take chances will find this approach much more worthwhile than sticking with conservative investments.

A middle ground approach is to work with a brokerage firm to build a diversified portfolio that is based on safe investments but also has some more speculative holdings within the group of assets. This makes it possible to acquire several different types of investments that carry varying levels of risk. Over time, gains in one area of the portfolio offset losses elsewhere, allowing the investor to still make money. Brokers can help investors learn the basics of structuring an equity portfolio, choosing the right mutual or index funds, and generally arranging the portfolio so that the investor has the best chance to invest money wisely and reach his or her financial goals.

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