Risky vs. Safe Investments image

Risky vs. Safe Investments

Women, what are you doing with your money?

What you may think is a “safe” investment, I may see as risky. For example, many financial planners advise “safe” investments such as savings plans, mutual funds and 401(k)s.

But are they really “safe” investments? Let’s take a look…

Are Your Investments “Safe”?

Investment #1: Savings Accounts

When you put your money in a savings account, it sits there… doing nothing. As the dollar decreases in value, the money you are saving is worth less and will buy you less in the future.

Plus, how much are you paying in bank fees? You may be paying more to have your money in a savings account than you are earning by keeping it there! This is not an asset that puts money in your pocket; it’s a liability because you are losing money!

As I say in “It’s Rising Time!”, “by saving money, in many cases, you are losing money.”

Investment #2: Mutual Funds

A mutual fund is a collection of stocks, bonds and securities, and according to Investopedia, “in the U.S. alone, there are more than 10,000 mutual funds.” and “more than 80 million people, or one half of the households in America, invest in mutual funds.” That’s a lot of people investing in thousands of funds and hoping for a nice retirement. But these same people probably do not have a financial education. After all, you can probably get a higher return on your investment elsewhere.

As John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and the author of “The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism,” explains, the mutual fund system is failing investors because of the fees (some hidden).

”The financial system put up zero percent of the capital, took zero percent of the risk, and got almost 80 percent of the return,” he states. “And you, the investor in this long time period, an investment of a lifetime, put up 100 percent of the capital, took 100 percent of the risk, and got only about 20 percent of the return.”

Investment #3: 401(k) Plans

A 401(k) is a popular retirement plan where you contribute a portion of your salary to be invested in mutual funds. This is an easy route for many because you just sign on the dotted line and start automatically saving for retirement.

But when you do this, you basically give up control of your money to others, and that increases your risk. Plus, most of these plans assume you will retire in a lower tax bracket than you are now.

How Do You Make a Safe Investment?

Whether you turn your money over to a financial advisor or control your own investments, there will always be risks involved. However, you increase your investment risk when you have no financial education, don’t understand what you are investing in, let others keep the majority of the returns and depend too much on others to control your investments.

Your investments are “safer” when you get a financial education, actively invest your money in investments you understand, get the majority of the returns, and become your own financial advisor.

What are you going to do today to take control of your money and make better investment choices?

For more information, check out “It’s Rising Time!” and our free, financial education community here.

Original publish date: February 28, 2013