What should I invest in?

I've recently come across a significant amount of financial capital; roughly $30 grand. I don't want this to just go to waste, letting it sit around and have inflation eat away at it. The stock market being what it is, I feel uncomfortable putting much of anything in it, so I've decided to look into foreclosure investing. The trouble is, the real estate market, depending on where you are, is iffy. Not really sure where to put my money, but I don't want it to just sit around. Any ideas?
Asked Aug 16, 2012
Investment is about risk. You have to risk losing to make money and the greater the potential gains of an investment, the greater the chance for losing. So, it's not just which method is best, it depends on your willingness to put the money at risk to get a higher return. There is no way to produce great returns without taking greater risks.

Unquestionably with stock prices up and the headwinds facing the economy, now is not the time to buy into stocks on a long term buy low - sell high investment program. In the market, you will probably do better picking businesses in stable markets with a low P/E ratio and a long history of paying good dividends.

In some areas there are some very good deals in real estate for people who know what they're doing and have the ability to maintain and manage it. Again, it depends on you; your abilities and the knowledge of the market you're in.

I realize this isn't much of an answer but it truly depends more on your specific skills and abilities than it does on one method vs the other. Investment is all about knowledge. Invest it in areas that you know.
Answered Aug 16, 2012
Edited Aug 16, 2012
Make sure you aren't putting the cart before the horse. Most advisors would say that when you get a "significant" windfall --- whatever that amount is for you --- you should wait at least six months before you do anything with it to allow time for the emotional dust to settle and to protect you from overzealously leaping into seemingly wise investments. Put it in a safe instrument like a CD or other interest bearing account that limits your access.

The rest depends on your overall financial situation.

If you don't have an emergency fund, that IS an emergency. You should have at least 6 months living expenses saved in cash. 2 years is better. My husband grew up without much money, so having 5 years living expenses that we never touch (cash in interest bearing accounts) makes him feel more comfortable. Money management usually has an emotional component, so pay attention to that and understand how it's influencing your decisions.

The next consideration is how close you are to retirement. If you're near it, you can't tolerate risk. If you're far from it, you should be maxing out your 401k / 403(b). If your adjusted gross income is less than $183k, you should be making max contributions to a traditional / Roth IRA as well.

I assume you own a home. If not, use it as part of a down payment.

Make sure you've got proper insurance (life, disability, etc).

If there's something left after all of that...

My husband buys houses that he has renovated, then we rent them. He says RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH everything about flipping residential property in the areas you're considering. Talk to realtors, contractors, etc. A slack home inspector can ruin you before you get things off the ground, so find out who's the best so you can trust what he tells you about the bones of the house. Learn about local codes, especially plumbing, electrical, grading, and structural integrity. It's a mistake to solely rely on your inspector. You need to be your first set of eyes. (Watch any Mike Holmes program to get a primer on general home inspection.)

If you plan to buy at auction, go to a few so it's not as scary when your money is on the line.

Go to open houses so you can get intimately familiar with what's on the market. Look at how the homes are staged. Listen to potential buyers' comments about the features of the homes.

Talk with banks that own a lot of foreclosures in your area to see how long they take. Banks sell those at an incomprehensibly slow pace. Some don't respond to your offer for as long as 6 months. Foreclosures are a whole other animal. Really research them.

There are some very helpful TV programs that can help you get your bearings and see some of the pitfalls others hit. My favs to dvr are: Rehab Addict, Income Property, Property Brothers, Desperate Landscapes, Curb Appeal, and Sweat Equity. Some others I like are Bath Crashers, Kitchen Crashers, and Yard Crashers, but they're a little trendy and trendy finishings don't fit his / our business strategy since we need these homes to hold their value over time since we rent in the upper end of the market and could sell in the future.

Get to know online suppliers (especially flooring, lighting, and cabinetry). Find out if there are decent second hand options for building supplies. See what you have to do to qualify for builders' or wholesale discounts. See what you need to do to order directly from manufacturers so you can avoid the middle man price hike. Learn everything you can about getting quality supplies for less.

If you're thinking of doing work yourself, make sure you've got necessary skills, or invest in learning them.

Network at professional lunches of organizations in the field. Find out what improvements are most important to buyers in your area. Do kitchen renos recoup their full investment? Do bathroom renos make back the money plus some? Are buyers obsessed with granite countertops and stainless appliances? What are comparable homes selling for? How long are they sitting on the market? Who's your competition?

If houses aren't selling well in your area, see if renovating a duplex and renting it makes sense for you.

These are all things you should do before you spend a dime (except for your research costs).

Respect what you're doing as a business. Have a business plan. If you have access to a SCORE chapter, they can help you with that for free.

He says you'll also need to figure out how get more capital. He's not seeing how you could flip a property for $30k when a plumbing / electrical / structural nightmare could wipe that out. Always plan on having a healthy contingency fund. It's the RARE reno that has no surprises and comes in on or under budget.

He loves it. He's not a desk guy and he has a creative career that won't last forever, so he really loves doing this and owning a management company, a small (new) home reno / repair company, and a landscaping business that handle our and other rentals. It's really good income for us since we're in an area where home sales are still a little on the weak side, and our stock purchasing options are limited due to our religious and political views (we only do sri).

Good luck!

Answered Aug 17, 2012
Edited Aug 17, 2012
Oh, and if you have any debt, you might want to eliminate that first, ESPECIALLY if the interest you will pay is more than your potential for profit. If you have a mortgage, tossing in $30k could save you tens of thousands of dollars depending on what you owe and your interest rate. If that makes sense for your situation, that would be money well spent.

I'm not a professional financial advisor, by the way, so take my advice at your own risk...
You should invest in commodity Market.

Answered Oct 31, 2014
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Answered Feb 15, 2018
I prefer to invest in something really profitable, like my own business, for example.
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Answered Feb 05, 2020

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