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It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion.” ~ Anatole France

 

Today I want to talk about INVESTING. Recently I decided to have an experiment to heighten my awareness about my spending decision process. Here what I do now: every time I am about to spend money, I ask myself: “Is it a good INVESTMENT?”

 

This question makes me pose before buying a snack (good/bad for my body?), or a new piece of clothing (do I really needed it?), or a new training (how will it help me grow my business?); or pose before taking a new position on a stock market (Why am I investing in this company?) or investing in a new property. This practice allows me to have a short pose just enough to make the “buying” decision more conscious and intentional.

 

What I am trying to say here is that every time you spend your money, you are INVESTING in your life – in your body, your environment, your knowledge base, your business, etc.  Being INTENTIONAL with your spending and viewing it as investment, will help you become a better money manager! YOUR MONEY manager! Does it make sense?

 

I already shared with you my suggestions about having saving and spending jars (accounts) and today we’ll talk about investing money jar. The purpose of your investing money jar is to grow your wealth over a longer term, for example, over a five year period. This investing money jar is usually meant for retirement funds, children’s college expenses, or long-term dreams, such as a owning a second home or leisure travel.

 

Since your investing jar has a longer timeline, it is important to find investment vehicles that yield a nice rate of return or ROI, a steady 8 to 10 percent annual return. It’s not easy to find such ROI these days when banks have such a low interest rate (almost negative) on our savings but it is possible to find it outside of the banking system! I am referring to dividend paying stocks, annuity products and rental real estate.

Personally, I like investments that are valued cheap, are hated at the present time and have started to rise. Examples from the past: real estate properties in 2011, precious metals in 2001-2004, stocks in the spring of 2009.

 

Diversify Your Sources of Income

 

If you’re starting your investment strategy from scratch, the earlier you start investing with even mediocre interest rates, the faster your wealth will grow. Even small but consistent contributions will fill your investing money jar faster.

 

Multiple streams of income allow you to grow your wealth faster and provide an additional sense of security due to diversification. Having multiple streams of income is one of the main secrets of acquiring wealth. If you have an existing business, try to automate it as much as possible so that it will not require your constant attention. Once it’s automated, you can invest your time and resources into another business.

 

The idea is to have multiple streams of PASSIVE income that doesn’t require your constant attention.  If at the moment you have a full-time job and are still building a business, it requires most of your attention and it’s OK.  Just keep the intention of having multiple streams of passive income in your mind and be open to opportunities that may open up for you.

 

The ultimate goal is to be able to provide a comfortable living for yourself and your family from each individual stream of income. This is a much more prudent way to achieve wealth than getting into risky investments. The idea here is to leverage your skills, experiences, inner wisdom and hobbies to expand your earning potentials.

 

Samples of Different Investment Vehicles

 

Below are a few investment vehicles to consider for your Investing money that are diversified among different asset classes:

  • Private Businesses–passive or active ownership interest in private businesses (make sure you have proper legal agreements that protect your rights and address your tax liability)
  • Rental Real Estate–only properties with positive cash flow which means rental income is higher than all expenses
  • Stock Market: Stocks–common or preferred shares of corporate stocks (I like steady ‘dividend growers’); priced in real time
  • Stock Market: Stock Options–learn about selling puts and covered calls, otherwise, stay away from option trading
  • Stock Market: Mutual Funds–a basket of different companies’ stocks or bonds; priced daily unlike stocks; often have high management fees
  • Stock Market: Exchange Traded Funds (EFTs)–also a basket of stocks, commodities or currencies; do not charge management fees; traded like stocks
  • Stock Market: Bonds–government guaranteed or corporate bonds; pay interest to debt holders (make sure you research the grade of the bonds)
  • Stock Market: Municipal Bonds–issued by municipalities; many are tax-free and offer a nice interest rate but you must research the solvency of the municipality
  • Stock Market: Annuities–variable or fixed annuities; could be a great instrument for a retirement investment but most have high management fees and “small font” riders—pay attention and read carefully!
  • Different Currencies Investment– diversifying your cash holdings among different currencies (can use currency ETFs or find banks that allow you to hold money in different currencies)
  • Art Collection–make sure you know the value of your art pieces and their potential for appreciation over time
  • Precious Metal Coins: gold, silver,   platinum–these are “real money” and are both investment and insurance vehicles

 

These are just examples of various asset allocations to consider. You will do just fine with diversifying among few asset classes. However, make sure that within each of the suggested investment classes you further diversify your holdings. For instance, have different stock positions (do not invest more than 5 percent of your stock market portfolio in one particular stock or bond) or different pieces of rental real estate.

 

I’ll talk more about investment and risk management next time.

*Some of the text was taken from my bestselling book “A Shift Toward Abundance”.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Millen Livis

To learn more about Millen and her mission of Financial Freedom, click here

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18 responses to “Do You Know How To INVEST Your Money?”

  1. I like the analogy you’ve used for investing. With a couple of decades of marketing experience behind me, I tend to weigh everything based on ROI – return on investment – both in terms of earnings and contribution to the quality of my life. In fact, I recently realized I’ve become too focused on a single topic for my writing and coaching and it’s time to “diversify”, not only for the additional earning opportunities but to keep my mind and writing fresh. As far as financial investments, I have a few but I’d definitely consider myself a dabbler so I appreciate your advice and inspiration.

    • Millen Millen says:

      Thank you for you feedback, Marquita! Yes, keeping the ROI in mind helps heighten the awareness, especially when investing. Diversification is a very important factor in managing risk but can also be somewhat tricky… It is important to diversify into something that you know or learn/study about to avoid major mistakes. Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Such a big topic and one that often is very foreign to people, Millen. In my younger years I lost a lot of money investing in real estate, having bought a property in the U.S. (I’m Canadian), in 2006 and unfortunately I fell into the housing crisis and was forces to walk away from it when the mortgage company wouldn’t renegotiate my mortgage, as I was a foreign national and not their top priority at the time. I’ve also dared to invest in risky, almost too good to be true, investments, and as it turned out…they were too good to be true. Now I have an outstanding advisor and my portfolio is diversified and performs several percentage points higher than what is considered possible. As far as personal spending. If I really want something, I generally assess if it is a wise decision. With the Canadian dollar so devalued this year, I actually did not go on a winter trip, as it would have been too costly. Great tips in this post, and as always, they are shared with your passion to help others.

    • Millen Millen says:

      Thank you so much, Beverley, for sharing your investment experience and the lessons learned. I too made a few mistakes investing and have learned quite a few lessons in a process! 🙂 Now I am MUCH more careful and mindful with my investment choices. I am VERY glad to know that you found an outstanding advisor, it’s very rare… And I am sure your own knowledge and experience helped you assess and appreciate his offers. Thank you again for contributing to this conversation!

  3. Suzie Cheel says:

    Hi Millen, all great advice and often wished I had known about this earlier in my life

    • Millen Millen says:

      Thank you for your comment, Suzie! It’s better late than never, right? Best wishes with ALL your endeavors and investments!

  4. Hello Millen,
    I have a question about buying precious metals,I heard gold is at a low at the moment does this mean it is a good time to invest in some as it may rise again? Thanks!

    • Millen Millen says:

      HI Jennifer, great question! First of all, I am not a financial advisor and don’t offer personal investment advice. However, I am happy to share my opinion and my investment strategies based on research and personal experience. I consider gold, silver and other precious metals more of an insurance on your wealth than an investment. Holding physical metals doesn’t pay income and may appreciate over a long term horizon. I like to diversify my assets into precious metals and right now gold is just coming back from a few bad years. So, if you don’t have precious metals yet in your portfolio, now it’s a good time to consider adding this asset allocation. Hope it helps. 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    So many don’t understand what options are out there to invest in. Nice list!

  6. Teresa Salhi says:

    This is topic that I really like and yet sometimes get overwhelmed with figuring out what’s next. I believe in investing and do so on some level – in myself and other future monetary growth options. I have been practicing the money jars since hearing of it from Harv Eker. I like your suggestions and needed another reminder, thank you. 🙂

    • Millen Millen says:

      You are very welcome, Teresa! Yes, investing in yourself is very important in addition to other investments. Having diversified assets in your investment portfolio (your business, rental real estate, stock, bonds, annuities, etc.) will help to build a solid financial foundation for your present and your retirement. The sooner you start, the better! Baby steps work miracles! 🙂 Thank you for contributing to this conversation.

  7. Diane Topkis says:

    Millen, thanks for the areas to review my portfolio. I’m fairly well diversified. Never made a lot of money on real estate and stopped think of it that way. I do own my own house and am careful that I don’t over invest in it . Expect to get a tax advantage and recover what I put into it at a minimum. I do have higher expectations for the stock market though. My thought when reading your first paragraph was even at the grocery store – ask if it’s a good investment- for my weight and health.

    • Millen Millen says:

      Hi Diane, thank you fro your comment! I am glad to see that your portfolio is well diversified – that is one of the risk management strategies. Yes, real estate investments can be blessings or flaps… I had both 🙂 But at the end of the day, I like to have rental real estate and stock market investments in my portfolio. Thank you for contributing to this conversation.

  8. Joyce Hansen says:

    Early on I worked for different brokerage firms. I can’t emphasize the importance of diversifying. Markets go up and down all the time, so diversification help to smooth out the bumps in the road.

    • Millen Millen says:

      Thank you for your comment, Joyce, couldn’t agree with you more! Diversification is one of the risk management strategies as long as you diversify into assets that you are familiar with, right? Than you for sharing your opinion!

  9. paula says:

    GreT list and I like how you said precious metal or coins are also insurance. It seems as only a matter of time that our retirement funds, savings and real estate will plunge.

    I think Ron Paul said up to 50% drop in stocks, retirement funds down 40% and real estate down 40%. Actually was not Ron Paul, but many of the economy gurus are not painting pretty pictures. Do you have any ideas on investing in ways to save our money from disaster or acting on disaster to restore finances, if these people are on target With depression warnings? We all know our debt is not sustainable.

    • Millen Millen says:

      Thank you for your comment, Paula. Yes, the snowballing government debt puts our retirements funds in danger… and I don’t rely on Social Security either. I’ve created my own “retirement” portfolio by diversifying my assets across different areas – business, rental real estate, stock market, annuities, precious metals and cash. We can only do what is under our control… Thank you for contributing to the conversation!

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