Investing may seem intended mainly for wealthier, older people or those further in their careers than you. But that is not the case. Investing can be the best way to grow your money when handled responsibly. To have a comfortable financial future, investing is crucial for many people. However, some people may wonder what the best investments are for 2023. Due to inflation and other factors, it may seem very risky to place stock in anything. But, some top investments include high-yield savings accounts, short-term certificates of deposit, and dividend stock funds. Having a diverse range of assets and a long-term plan also helps. Short-term lows in stock and bond markets due to war should not sway your decision to invest too heavily.
Listed below are the top 3 selection lists for investments in 2023.
- Index Funds
Experts highly recommend low-cost index funds since they have low expense ratios (fees) that are excellent for all investors. S&P 500 index funds are a good place to start and track the top 500 companies on the stock market. Also, they are a safer investment since they broaden your investments over hundreds of companies.
- Small Cap Stocks
Small cap stocks are from companies with market capitalization under $2 billion. Disney, Amazon, and Johnson & Johnson are some examples of small-cap stocks. They are similar to index funds since they are reliable and safe. However, they can endure economic downturns over the long term. You can purchase shares directly through your brokerage.
- Real Estate
Even if homeownership is not your forte, you can invest in real estate through real estate trusts (REITs). REITs enable you to buy shares of a real estate portfolio with properties all over the country. They are publicly traded and can have high dividends and long-term gains. Additionally, things that could be hard to access for individual investors will be easier for you to get (commercial real estate and multi-family apartment complexes).
Cryptocurrency is a digital electronic-only currency that acts as a medium of exchange. It has become very popular over the last few years, as dollars flew into the asset and pushed prices up. This drew even more traders to the property. Bitcoin is the most widely known form of cryptocurrency, and its price fluctuates significantly. From a price below $10,000 a coin at the start of 2020, Bitcoin skyrocketed to around $30,000 at the beginning of 2021. It then doubled above the $60,000 mark before falling dramatically in 2022.
This year has been rough for cryptocurrency since most top cryptos have declined drastically. But, many cryptos, such as Bitcoin, are coming off all-time highs. So, people who bought years ago and held (HODL) may still have some nice gains despite the recent plunge. In contrast to other assets, cryptocurrency is not backed by the FDIC or a government or company’s money-generating power. Its worth is solely gauged by what traders will pay for it.
2. Series I bonds
Savings bonds are provided to individual investors by the U.S. Treasury. A popular option in 2022 is the Series I bond. It helps protect against inflation. Also, the Series I bond pays a base interest rate and adds a component based on the inflation rate. That means that if inflation rises, so does the payout. But the reverse is true as well. If inflation falls, so will the interest rate. The inflation adjustment resets every six months. Remember, Series I bonds earn interest for 30 years if they are not redeemed for cash.
Series I bonds are best for risk-averse investors who do not want to risk any default. These bonds are also good for investors who wish to protect their investments against inflation. However, investors can only buy $10,000 in any calendar year. But you can apply up to an additional $5,000 in your annual tax refund to purchase Series I bonds.
As for risk, Series I bonds protect your investment against inflation, a downside to investing in most bonds. Like other government-issued debt, these bonds are among the safest in the world against the risk of default. If you want to acquire Series I bonds, you can buy them directly from the U.S. Treasury at treasurydirect.gov, and the government will not charge you a commission.
3. S&P 500 Index Funds
For higher returns than more traditional banking products or bonds, S&P 500 index funds are a good alternative. But, they do come with more volatility. The funds are based on about five hundred of the largest American companies, meaning they comprise many of the most successful companies in the world. Amazon and Berkshire are two of the most prominent member companies in the index.
Like most funds, S&P 500 index funds offer immediate diversification, which allows you to own a piece of all those companies. They include companies from every industry, which is why they are more resilient than many investments. Gradually, the index has returned about 10 percent annually. You can purchase these funds with low expense ratios (how much the management company charges for running the fund), which are some of the best index funds.
S&P 500 index funds are an excellent choice for beginner investors since they provide broad and diversified exposure to the stock market. They are best for stock investors seeking a diversified investment and who can stay invested for at least three to five years. S&P 500 index funds are one of the less-risky ways to invest since they consist of the market’s top companies and are highly diversified. But, they still include stocks so that they will be more volatile than any bonds or bank products.
You can purchase S&P 500 index funds from any broker that allows you to trade ETFs or mutual funds. ETFs are generally commission-free, so you will not pay any extra charge. However, mutual funds may charge a commission and require you to make a minimum purchase.
4. High-yield Savings Accounts
A high-yield savings account pays you interest on your cash balance. And similar to how savings accounts earn pennies at your brick-and-mortar bank, high-yield online savings accounts are great vehicles for your cash. You can earn much higher interest rates at online banks with fewer overhead costs. Also, you can access the money by quickly transferring it to your primary bank or even via an ATM.
High-yield savings accounts are excellent for risk-averse investors. It especially works for those who need money in the short term and wants to avoid the risk that they will not get their money back. Banks that offer these accounts are FDIC-insured, so you will not have to worry about losing your deposit. While high-yield savings accounts are considered safe investments, you may lose purchasing power over time due to inflation (if rates are too low).
5. Rental Housing
Rental housing is a great investment if you are willing to manage your properties. Despite increasing mortgage rates, it might still be a good time to finance a new property, even though the unstable economy might make it harder to run.
To proceed on this route, you must select the right property, finance it, buy it outright, or maintain it and deal with tenants. You can do well if you make smart purchases. However, you will not be able to indulge in buying and selling your assets in the stock market with a click or tap on your internet-enabled device. You may have to endure the occasional 3 a.m. call about a broken pipe.
If you hold your assets over time, steadily pay down debt and grow your rents, you will likely have a powerful cash flow when it is time to retire. Rental housing is a great investment for long-term investors desiring to manage their properties and generate regular cash flow. But with any asset, you can overpay for housing. Housing prices soared in 2020 and 2021 despite the economy’s struggles due to low-interest rates and a tight housing supply. Also, a lack of liquidity can be a problem if you need to access cash quickly.
To access rental housing, you will need to work with a real estate broker to find rental housing. Or you can work on building a network that may be able to find better deals for you before they hit the market.
6. Dividend Stock Funds
Dividends are portions of a company’s profit paid to shareholders quarterly. With dividend stocks, you can gain on your investment through long-term market appreciation and cash in the short term.
Intermediate and advanced investors benefit more from buying individual stocks (whether they pay dividends or not). Individuals who need income and can stay invested for a long while will find dividend stocks appealing. However, invest in companies with a solid history of dividend increases rather than those with the highest current yield. You can avoid any possible upcoming trouble and reduce the risk by having a diverse collection of assets.
If you want to buy them, dividend stock funds are available as ETFs or mutual funds from any broker that deals in them.
7. Value Stock Funds
Value stock funds are a great option for people to put their investment dollars. These funds invest in value stocks, which are more bargain-priced than others in the market. Also, value stocks tend to fare better as interest rates rise. Investors comfortable with volatility related to investing in stocks will appreciate value stock funds more. They also need to have a long-term investing horizon (three to five years), which will help ride out any bumps in the market.
Value stocks are safer than other stocks due to their bargain price but are composed of stocks. Therefore, they will fluctuate more than short-term bonds. Value stocks are not insured by the government either. If you wish to buy one, value stock funds come in two major types: ETFs and mutual funds. ETFs are generally commission-free and have no minimum purchase requirement. In contrast, mutual funds may require a minimum purchase, and online brokers may charge a commission to trade them.
8. Short-term Certificates of Deposit
Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a higher interest rate than savings accounts. Banks issue CDs and short-term CDs may be better options if you expect rates to rise. This allows you to reinvest at higher interest rates when the CD matures.
These deposits usually have a time frame of several weeks to several years for maturity. Since these are “time deposits,” you cannot withdraw the money for a specified period without penalty. Financial institutions pay you back regularly for CDs; once they mature, you get your original principal back along with any accrued interest. Due to their safety and higher payouts, CDs are a good choice for retirees who do not need immediate income and can lock up their money for a bit.
Risk-averse investors can invest in CDs since those who require money at a specific time and can tie up cash in exchange for a bit acquire more than they would find in a savings account. While CDs are safe investments, they carry reinvestment risk (the risk that when interest rates fall, investors will earn less when they reinvest principal and interest in new CDs with lower rates. Inflation and taxes can dramatically erode the purchasing power of your investments. Banks and credit unions offer CDs, even though you may not be able to find the best rate locally. Shop around first before making a decision.
9. Nasdaq-100 Index Funds
Nasdaq-100 index funds are excellent for investors who want exposure to some of the biggest and best tech companies without picking winners and losers. They also do not have to analyze specific companies. The fund is based on Nasdaq’s 100 largest companies (so they are among the most successful and stable). Apple and Meta Platforms are other examples that comprise a large amount of the total index.
Nasdaq-100 index funds offer immediate diversification, so your portfolio is not prone to the failure of any single company. They are an exceptional selection for stock investors who desire growth and are willing to deal with volatility. However, like any publicly-traded stock, this stock collection can also go down. While Nasdaq-100 has some of the strongest tech companies, they are usually the most highly valued, and the high valuation means they are prone to falling quickly in a downturn. Nasdaq-100 index funds are available as ETFs and mutual funds. Most brokers permit people to trade ETFs without a commission, while mutual funds may charge a commission and have a minimum purchase amount.
10. Short-term Corporate Bond Funds
Sometimes, corporations raise money by giving bonds to investors. These can be packaged into bond funds that own bonds that hundreds of corporations could produce. Short-term bonds have an average maturity of one to five years. That means they are less prone to interest rate fluctuations than intermediate or long-term bonds. Corporate bond funds are a superb choice for investors seeking cash flow (retirees) or individuals wanting to reduce their overall portfolio risk and still earn a return.
Short-term corporate bond funds can be helpful for risk-averse investors who want more yield than government bond funds. But like other funds, short-term corporate bond funds are not FDIC-insured. Investment-grade, short-term bond funds usually reward investors with higher returns than government and municipal bond funds. However, there is more risk along with the great rewards. There is always a chance that a company’s credit rating will be downgraded or run into financial trouble and default on bonds. Ensure your fund consists of high-quality corporate bonds to reduce that risk.
To get corporate bond funds, you can buy or sell them with any broker who allows you to trade ETFs or mutual funds. Most brokers permit you to trade ETFs for no commission. Still, others may require a commission or minimum purchase to get a mutual fund.
11. Short-term Government Bond Funds
Government bond funds are mutual funds or ETFs that invest in debt securities supplied by the U.S. government and its agencies. Like short-term CDs, short-term government bond funds will not expose you to great risk when interest rates rise, as they did at the start of 2022. The funds invest in U.S. government debt and mortgage-backed securities given by government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Low-risk investors fit well for these government bond funds. Beginning investors and those looking for cash flow can also take advantage of these funds.
Risk-averse investors may appreciate government bond funds, but some types (long-term bond funds) may fluctuate more than short-term funds. The reason is due to interest rate changes. Funds that invest in government debt instruments are among the safest investments since the bonds are protected by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. If interest rates rise, the prices of existing bonds will fall. And if interest rates decline, the prices of existing bonds will increase. Concerning the interest rate, the risk is more significant for long-term than short-term bonds. Short-term bonds have a minimal impact from rising rates, and funds will gradually increase their interest rate as prevailing rates rise.
To gain government bond funds, you can buy them at numerous online brokers. Those who allow you to trade ETFs or mutual funds are the main ones to seek out. Most brokers that offer ETFs permit you to buy and sell them at no commission, while mutual funds may require you to pay a commission or make a minimum purchase. This is not always the case, though.
What is an Investment?
An investment is something of value that someone buys to make more money. Investment often applies to stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. But real estate, artwork, collectibles, and even wine can be considered investments. While risks come with investing, they regularly pay off for thousands of investors around the world. Investments are an important part of the economy and handling personal finances. For individual investors, investments can help you grow your wealth over various periods.
Who is able to Make an Investment?
Anyone who is 18 years or older with a bank account can make an investment. Each investor should have a unique portfolio influenced by specific goals and strategies for accomplishing things. There are various types of investors (business, passive, angel, and active). But, the more you invest, the more you can figure out which kind of investments suit you best. Factors such as the geographical area or industry will affect how you spend your time and money. Remember to invest steadily and keep your emergency fund stocked as much as possible. It will help you make a profitable income from investing.
Why should I Invest?
You should invest so that you can gradually build wealth over time. There are two ways to make money: earn an income working for yourself or someone else, or invest your assets so they will increase in value over time. Whether you invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures, precious metals, real estate, or small businesses, the goal is to generate cash. Investment goals vary based on income, age, and risk tolerance. Income serves as the basic starting point for investment planning since you cannot plan for what you lack. Do not worry about potential setbacks like student loans or car payments. It is never too late to become an investor. While there are setbacks sometimes, there are plenty of rewards to reap from investing in assets.
What are the Advantages of Investing?
Investing involves buying stocks and other assets while holding them for a long period. Since stock markets typically rise in the long term faster than inflation, investing in stocks allows you to protect capital from inflation. And you can increase wealth over time. Investors who own stock indices or index ETFs have little work since the market does not work for them. That is a positive to being invested in an index. As for retirement, the more you invest, the more you can take advantage of the power of compound interest. Compound interest occurs when your interest starts earning interest. And lastly, investing can help grow your money to meet other financial goals. If you have a long-term goal of ten years or more, you can achieve it quicker when you invest money. One example of an important financial goal is investing in your child’s college fund.
What are the Risks of Investing?
While investing is highly beneficial, several risks come along with it. Knowing how certain factors can impact stocks and cause prices to rise and fall or companies to shut down is essential. Investing in securities like stocks, bonds, currencies, and investment funds provides the risk of losing part or all of the capital you have invested and high rewards. Also, even if you use a broker or bank, investing your money means that you are responsible for whatever happens to your investment. You must perform “due diligence,” meaning you should carefully analyze and contemplate a company’s financial, economic, legal, and tax situation. If you plan to obtain their stocks, you will access the necessary information and note any deadlines concerning your investment. Moreover, price fluctuations can prevent investors from pursuing something. Changes occur based on the supply and demand of the financial product, things affecting marketing conditions, and stock market conditions.
How much should I Invest?
How much you should invest in assets depends on your investment goal and when you need to achieve it. Generally, aim to invest 10% to 15% of your income each year for retirement, and your employer’s match will count towards that goal. While it may not seem ideal in the beginning, you can work your way towards that goal. Consider your time frame and the amount of money you need for any investments. Doing this allows you to work backward to break that amount down into monthly or weekly investments.
How to Make an Investment Calculation
You must conduct a certain calculation to determine an investment’s efficiency or profitability. The result is presented as a percentage or ratio. Below is an example of how to calculate an investment.
- Enter the starting amount of your investment. This is the investment you made in this security at the beginning.
- Indicate the Years to Accumulate. Years to accumulate is the amount of time you plan to hold onto your investment. Usually, investments that mature longer tend to become more valuable than those sold faster.
- Enter the rate of return on your investment. The rate of return is the expected net gain or loss on an investment over time. To calculate it, subtract the current value of the investment from the initial value. Then, divide by the initial value, and multiply that amount by 100.
- Provide the contribution amount. If you regularly contribute to the investment fund, enter how much you generally invest and how often. After entering the average amount you want to offer, select how frequently you plan to contribute (annually, monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly).
By making an investment calculation, you can gauge an investment’s efficiency and profitability. Following the steps above can find the proper amount to help you make wise decisions about future investments. Ensure you enter the starting amount of your investment at the beginning and then dictate how many years you plan to hold onto it. Afterward, write down the rate of return and offer the contribution amount to compute the calculation you need. It is crucial to obey all of these steps to make the best investment decision.
Is an Investment Beneficial?
An investment is beneficial, and it is something that more people should consider since there are numerous financial benefits. If you desire to build wealth and gain financial stability, investing can help you on your journey. Besides, you cannot simply save money and expect to have higher earnings as time moves ahead. At some point, you will want to stop working and enter the retirement stage. However, retirement is an amount of money, not an age. Retiring is difficult if you do not have enough money aside from the years you have worked. The key is to place money aside from your working bucket into other things such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. Then, when you stop working, those different buckets can pay you.