Investing Options

money © by 401(K) 2012

Below is a basic outline of some of the investment options available to you.

This is by no means a complete list of all the options available to you. It is, however, designed to be an introductory list of practical investments for people new to investing and generating income online.

 

Please remember that the information below is intended as a guide.

Always do your own research before committing to any investment.

Savings.

401k

A 401k plan is a savings plan that takes your monthly contribution from your salary before taxes are taken out. This is a crucial benefit of a 401k and one of two great reasons why everyone should have one. Let’s say, for easy math, that your monthly salary is $1,000 before tax. If you paid 10% into your 401k ($100), you would now only be taxed on the remaining $900 of your salary. You get to have 10% of your salary every month dodge the tax man and go straight into savings. The second great reason is many (although sadly not all) companies will make or even match your contribution into your plan every month, so long as you are. Ask your employer about their 401k plans and policies because if you and your employer are not contributing to a plan, you’re simply giving away free money.

 

IRAs

IRAs or Individual Retirement Accounts are less of an investment as they are a venue to invest with some nice tax benefits. You can invest in a whole host of different mutual funds, individual stocks and bonds, annuities and even certain real estate. A diverse portfolio is a good way to protect yourself against sudden changes in a stock or funds value. There are two main types of IRAs for employees; traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.

 

*Note: There are also two other types of IRAs for self employed and small business owners, but we’ll go into that another time.

 

Traditional IRAs are available to almost everyone and once you have made a contribution, you can invest your money in stocks, bonds and funds tax free. The money you contribute, however (up to a maximum of $5000 per year), is not taxed until you start to withdraw it in retirement.

 

With a Roth IRA the tax situation is the opposite, the money you contribute is taxed on the way in and your retirement savings are withdrawn tax free. There is a catch, however, to a Roth IRA; not everyone qualifies for this type of IRA.  For this year (2012), your modified adjusted gross income must be no more than $183,000 if you are married and filing jointly. If you are single, head of household or married and filing separately, then your income must be $125,000 or less.

 

 

Investments.

Stocks

Stocks, Stock Options or Derivatives, Bonds and Mutual funds can all be traded online at relatively low cost. Services like zecco.com offer a low cost trading platform with all the bells and whistles of the big boys. You can trade online with your computer, tablet or smart phone, all with real time statistics and trades. The best bit about Zecco’s low cost trades is that when you’re investing modest amounts of money (let’s say $100 or so) your profits are not eaten away by trading fees. Paying larger fees also impacts how much stock you can afford to buy in the first place. Remember (especially when starting out), look after the pennies, and the dollars look after themselves!

 

The stock market is by no means a sure place to invest your hard earned cash. Make sure to thoroughly do your research before investing. You have an internet connection (you’re reading this after all) so you have no excuse. Inside Zecco there is also a great support and training centre. I strongly advise you to read and watch everything you can, don’t just buy stock and hope it goes up. You can protect your investments by placing stops on them at a certain price, so if the stock price falls it automatically sells. Tips like this can all be found in Zecco’s support and training centre so be sure to use it, get informed and get equipped.

 

 

Income generating assets.

Real Estate.

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My father built and ran his own construction business from the ground up after he got laid off when I was a child. I’ve seen first hand what it takes to concept, get permission for, and build entire neighborhoods from scratch. Most importantly, I saw how to run a private business that creates some of the best investments known – real estate. There is a lot to buying, selling and leasing property (the legal work alone is enough), but in all cases my advice is simply “ask the experts”. If you need planning permission, get a lawyer who specializes in real estate planning.

Real estate is what I know best, but it’s not rocket science. We’re all familiar with the concept of generating income from real estate. Every month chances are you’re paying someone for the privilege to live in your home, whether it’s a land lord you’re paying rent to or it’s a bank your making a mortgage payment to. With that in mind it’s easy to see how to make money, buy a house and lease it out to generate monthly income. The hard part is buying the property in the first place. It’s not impossible though and in a later article I’ll go into purchasing, developing and leasing real estate in greater depth.

 

 

Media royalties and intellectual property.

This, at first glance, is a little strange to most people. The concept of owning rights to something you didn’t create and collecting royalties from those rights can seem bizarre, but royalties and other “intellectual properties” exchange hands every day. You can buy royalty rights to all kinds of things like music (including performance rights), book publishing rights and film publishing rights. You can also buy patents and other “intellectual property” and gain substantial income should those patents get manufactured.

 

 

Affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is the promoting of products or services through your website or blog. If you write a blog about arts and crafts, you might join an affiliate marketing program with a supplier of arts and craft materials. Once you join a program, your affiliate partner would give you a banner or text advertisement to place on your website and if a visitor to your site clicks their ad and makes a purchase, you get paid commission. In some cases, affiliates will pay commission just for their ad being clicked! Check out our overview of affiliate marketing here.

 

 

Franchise ownership. 

Franchise ownership can at first seem like mega bucks investment, but that needn’t always be the case. As recently as last month I saw a frozen yogurt franchise for sale in downtown LA for $98,000. Not cheap, but a lot cheaper than buying a house in the same neighborhood. Instead of a down payment on a huge mortgage debt you could own your own business and have it generate income for you. You hire a manager to run the franchise and some part time staff to man the floor and for the most part, you sit back and collect the checks. As with everything, do your research first! Franchise ownership is not something you can easily walk away from, but it is a great source of income with minimum involvement from you.

 

For more detailed explanations, see the pages below.

 

ThirtySomething.

 

 

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