Happy New Year everyone! Now that resolutions are fresh on your mind, there’s no better time to determine what smart money habits to initiate in 2019. To help inspire you, I’ve created a list of best investments for 2019.
These ideas are geared toward long-term investors and those looking to earn more this year.
This article is about where you can direct your money and time so that ten years from now, you’ll be glad you made the investments. It’s not about making a quick buck.
Before we get into the list, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Slow and steady wins the race. That’s the philosophy that I follow, even though some folks might be willing to take more risk for greater reward. Immediate results are elusive, but long-term desired outcomes are probable with this mindset.
Investments come in many forms. Your time directed toward a specific goal is perhaps one of the best investments you can make. Think hard about where you spent your free time last year. Did it contribute to your long-term goals?
Finally, always perform your own due diligence when embarking on new investments. Just because a blogger writes about it, or someone on TV says it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
The 5 Best Investments in 2019 for Long-Term Growth
Based on my 25 years of experience investing, factoring in my successes and many mistakes and failures, I’ve put together this list of best investments for 2019.
Most of these will look familiar because I haven’t spent the last five years blogging about the worst investments!
In addition to the usual suspects, consider making significant time investments in personal growth to feed your curiosities, educate yourself, and strive to craft your best life. Those investments pay the best dividends.
1. Invest in Starting a Low-Cost Side Business
The dollar cost of starting my business was less than $100 in the first year. The real cost was the amount of time I spent on my business, which was a lot.
Though I love blogging as a hobby and business, it isn’t right for some people.
With the maturity of the internet and all the platforms from which you can earn money (think Etsy, eBay, Upwork, Fiverr, Amazon etc.), and all the free information telling you how to make money online, the opportunities are endless.
Or start a local side business. Don’t go and lease a storefront. Start small and figure it out as you go. I waxed skis and snowboards in my college dorm room for extra money back in the day.
Start with something that you are passionate about (sports, art, travel, computers, nerdy hobbies etc.), and research how people with the same interest are earning money. Consider starting a business around your hobbies.
Be creative. Try. Fail. Then try again. Spend more time and less money on your ideas.
Read more: How to Start an Online Business
You should buy stocks in 2019.
That’s not to say if you buy stocks on January 1st, your investment will be worth more on December 31st.
But if you want to create lasting wealth, investing in the largest and best companies in the world has been a successful strategy over the last century.
The 4th quarter of 2018 was terrible for stocks. Don’t let that scare you. It’s best to start buying stocks during and after a scary decline.
Utilize your employer-sponsored 401(k) or other tax-advantaged accounts to automatically dollar cost average in broad-based index funds if you’re just getting started. If your plan doesn’t have low-cost funds, managed growth stock mutual funds are OK too, but keep an eye on fees.
You can also start to build passive income through dividend growth investing. Please do thorough research on any individual stock you buy. Focus on companies with long dividend-paying track records and moderate debt exposure.
I recommend the commission-free online broker M1 Finance for beginner to intermediate investors. The minimum investment to get started is $100.
Read more: M1 Finance review
Read more: Getting Started with Investing? Here’s What I’d Do
3. Real Estate
Even though I’m primarily a dividend stock investor, I believe that real estate is a more lucrative income investment over the long-term if it’s used as a rental property.
That’s because you get capital appreciation, rental income, and significant tax advantages from real estate. In addition, there are several ways to finance real estate deals… all cash, mortgage financing, private financing, home equity loans etc, giving you a ton of flexibility.
Money is made by finding good deals. My investment property hasn’t returned much in the 12 years since I’ve owned it because I overpaid. So there is a due diligence component if you want to be a successful investor.
Young beginners should consider a strategy called house hacking which is a great way to get started.
Mid-career to older investors can buy and rent a single-family home, multi-family units, or look at turnkey rental opportunities.
I don’t recommend condos as rentals.
Read more: Fundrise review
4. Alternative Investments
Technology has enabled a new breed of investment platforms beyond traditional stocks and bonds. Peer to peer lending and real estate crowdfunding were the first to drive this renaissance.
But other asset classes are quickly following with similar models. Several of these are worth looking into. Some of the most intriguing include:
Small Business Lending
Provide capital to established small businesses through veteran business bonds on the StreetShares platform. StreetShares has changed the way small to medium-sized businesses get access to capital. Available to all U.S. investors. $25 minimum investment.
Commercial Solar Financing
Invest in commercial solar projects through a platform called Wunder Capital which connects borrowers and investors. Accredited investors only.
Farmland and Aquaculture
The real estate crowdfunding model is being applied to farmland and aquaculture (fish farming) through the Harvest Returns platform. The asset class has been around for centuries, investing has recently become much easier.
Small Business Startups
Patient investors willing to take a bigger risk can consider investing in early-stage startups. Equity crowdfunding platforms such as SeedInvest, WeFunder, and StartEngine have intriguing businesses for your perusal.
Remember, most of the startups will fail. However, at some point, this may be the preferred way for early-stage companies to get funding. Perhaps the next Facebook or Google will be found via equity crowdfunding.
5. Career Development
Back in 2002 when I was broke and unemployed, I signed up for a community college course in Java programming. I felt my computer skills were weak and I needed a stronger resume.
A week later, I found a job and quit the course.
But had I continued to pursue Java, I’d have had many more career opportunities.
If your skills are lagging, teach yourself something new. Assuming you already have a career, chances are you can increase your earning potential faster in the same field instead of starting a new career.
Take a course, read a book, or find a free resource to improve your skills to become more marketable in your career space. The cash investment is minimal. The more time you put into improving your skills, the greater the payout.
Invest in yourself in 2019.
Today, you don’t need a community college course to learn a new programming language. You can learn for free on sites like Code Academy.
For those that prefer a more structured education, Udemy offers courses an anything you can think of to enhance your career. It doesn’t have to be coding.
Right now, most courses are on sale for just $9.99. Check it out.
Strategies for long-term investors shouldn’t change much year to year. Don’t try to time the perfect investment on January 1st and sell it for massive profits on December 31st.
Focus on the 10-year milestone where you are more likely to hit your investment objectives compared to a one-year time frame.
Use the new year to reevaluate your broader investment and retirement plans and make tweaks. Make big investments in yourself through education or starting a business. Invest your time and energy instead of upfront cash.
The new year is a time for resolutions and new habits. Reset both your yearly and long-term goals, then make sure your actions drive you toward those goals.
Photos via DepositPhotos used under license.
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