When deciding how to invest outside of the stock market, there's a general truism: the less risky or volatile the investment, the lower the return. That's where investment options like savings bonds, T-bills, annuities and other options enter the picture as viable ways to invest beyond the stock market.
While the gains may be less, the stability and predictability of these methods certainly have a value in most investor's portfolio.
Ask most people how to invest and they'll tell you it is all about the rate of return. It follows then that stocks and mutual funds are some of the most common way to invest. Yet given recent market turmoil, some will also add that avoiding that turbulence in the first place can be an important strategy in itself. From savings bonds to annuities, here are a few investment options for how to invest outside of the stock market.
Most Treasury bonds are fixed-income securities, that is, the income the bond creates each year is fixed when the bond is purchased. Treasury bonds pay a fixed rate of interest every six months and are issued for a term of up to 30 years. Unlike banks that issue CDs, governments or corporations issue savings bonds. While corporate bonds generally yield more than Treasury bonds, there's typically a higher risk to those securities.
Treasury bills or T-bills as they are commonly known are short-term government securities that mature in one year or less and pay interest on maturity. They are sold at a discount from their face value. T-bills are generally considered one of the most secure investments available. They are sold weekly by single-price auctions, and with the advent of TreasuryDirect, individuals can purchase T-bills online: funds are withdrawn and deposited in their bank account.
An annuity is a contract between an insured individual and an insurance company. There are three types of annuities: immediate, fixed and variable. An immediate annuity is where a lump sum premium is distributed back to the individual, guaranteeing income over a fixed period of time. A fixed annuity is a tax-deferred investment that guarantees a fixed return for a specified period of time. A variable annuity is a tax-deferred investment, and these are typically invested in a mix of stocks and bonds, and are often sold with optional living and death benefit. Be sure to ask about fees, penalties or surrender charges for early or excessive income draws from the fund. Regions Investment Services offers fixed annuities to help you maximize your tax-deferred earnings and guarantee income.
The old saying, "They aren't making any more land," may be true. It's also true that property investments carry their own set of risks, especially for the novice. In the case of real estate investment trusts (REIT), a company owns or invests in income-producing real estate and is listed on public stock exchanges. Equity REITs, which create potential returns for investors from the rents they collect, are the most common of this type.
Perhaps not strictly an investment, there are several benefits to 401(k)s for those not investing in the stock market: the reduction of your taxable income, tax-deferred growth allows your money to compound more quickly and finally, matching contributions from employers = free money.
Precious and Industrial Metals: Gold, Silver and Lithium
While these assets were hot topics of discussion during the 2007-08 financial crisis for obvious reasons (tangible assets in an uncertain investment landscape), as the dollar and other world currencies rise and fall, gold bullion and other precious and industrial metals are vulnerable to price swings. While gold tends to get most of the spotlight, industrial metals like copper, lithium and titanium are also garnering a lot of investment attention recently.
In conclusion, there's little doubt that the stock market generally offers the highest returns on investments over time; however, if security and predictability are a major concern, there are a number of investment options that can help broaden the scope of your portfolio and limit your risk.