Surrounded by the internet on daily basis, we get bombarded with offers to give our money to businessmen, banks, investment funds with a promise of a hefty payout at the end. The offers mainly consist of incredible interest rates, possibilities for future earning and security of the investment… But what about the tried and true thing called “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Then you would ask me, “is it possible that stuffing our money in the mattress is the way to go in this 2018 economy?” – No, absolutely not. Therefore, let’s take a very basic look into the money management of a 2018 household.
When is a good time to invest?
Primarily, you must take account of the current state of the economy, the field of work you are in and the political state of the country/region.
As of writing this, the world economy has been in expansion, growth for several years. Since the Great Recession of 2008, the economy has been in recovery. Some economies were not affected at all by the crash while others were completely devastated. Research into your countries past experiences with economic crashes and time to recover will be essential in knowing when to make your investment. The average economic cycle lasts about 5.5 years, but it’s very unpredictable. Some have lasted as little as 2 years and as much as 10.
The field of work you are in is a key component to your investing. You have to take the time and look a bit ahead.
- Is the field that you are working in slowly becoming obsolete with technological advancements?
- Is there a high demand for your expertise and will it persists in the upcoming years?
- Is your company or the company you work for managed well and what kind of money-management policies does it have in place?
This is of vital importance as your predicted future income heavily sways whether you Invest or Save up. If any red flags occur during your research of your job, I’d strongly recommend the latter.
Lastly the political state of the country/region can be a big factor on investing. Big political insecurities and elections cause the economy to become stagnant for a while. The last thing you want is to make a big purchase into real estate and have the housing market crash due to political unrest or change in regulation of loaning policies. A great part of the Great Recession in 2008 was caused by the real-estate bubble and lax lending standards. On the other side of the coin, in our country, The Republic of Macedonia, it could be a very lucrative time to invest into real-estate. Current political trends lead towards discussions of entry to the EU and NATO which are known factors to drive up the housing prices.
What should you invest your hard earned money in?
Before we take a look at the three examples of investing, we need to have a basic understanding of what good debt and bad debt is.
- Investing big in a luxury vehicle that depreciates 20% as soon as you take it out of the saloon and another 5-10% per year afterwards, especially if you have taken a loan (current interest rates for such loans here are 7%) is bad debt.
- Investing in real-estate that doesn’t depreciate and current trends show increasing of real-estate prices in the cities by 0.2-1% yearly, especially if you have taken a loan (current interest rates for such loans here are 3%-5%) is good debt. As you can always sell or rent the real-estate to break even or even make nice profit.
Real-estate investment is currently most popular one world-wide. We’ve already touched upon the when’s of real-estate, now let’s touch on the what’s. When investing in real-estate you must look 10-20 years ahead, unless you buy at recession and sell at expansion for quick profit. In a 10-20 year period the most important things are location and quality.
- You might be buying at the edge of a major city, but as cities are expanding, that edge can become inner-city area within a 10-20 year period, greatly increasing its price.
- The quality is how your constructor build the project. Well-built objects are the crux of real-estate investing as the last thing you want to do is spend 50.000 EUR on a house that has constant needs for repair, as those prices rack up.
Another investment method is in funds and bank deposits. Before you take any actions into this, I strongly advise to research the laws of deposit insurance in your country.
What is deposit insurance?
- Deposit insurance and how high it is, will sway how much you invest in funds/bank deposits. Most countries have an insurance fund that the banks and funds deposit money in that insures the customers in an event of the bank/fund shutting down. Currently in the Republic of Macedonia that sum is 30.000 EUR. Sums up to 30.000 EUR are insured per customer per bank. If you have 90.000 EUR in a bank and it goes bankrupt, the insurance will return 30.000 EUR back to you. That’s why the smart option is to divide the money into 3 banks, 30.000 EUR each, so you will get reimbursed at full even if all 3 banks go bankrupt.
- In Macedonia the banks and their monetary policy have placed the bank deposit at a very unfavorable position. With very poor interest rates there is little to no incentive to use this method of investing really, unless you are just safe-keeping money to use at a later time with the ability to liquidate the money easier.
Lastly let’s take a look at the stock market. Now that you have already considered the economic situation, you already have great starting knowledge. Next you have to decide on the plan of investing in them. You have the buy low-sell high method and the dividend.
- Buy low-sell high is a method where you buy a certain amount of stocks under the real market price, due to a struggling economy, in hopes to sell them later when the economy is in expansion for a profit
- Dividend method is the safer one. You buy stocks at reasonable prices with the sole purpose of receiving dividend. Best stocks to buy for this type of investment are stocks of big companies, banks, funds that have a long-standing tendency of paying out dividends on time and have very low risk involved. If you don’t intend to sell the stock then market downs only decrease the dividend you get, which is inevitably going to even out when the market stabilizes.
How to invest?
Lastly, the best way to invest your stocks is by having all the necessary information at hand. Most of us are regular-Joe people. Unless you work at an investment fund, real-estate or the stock-market you will only have rudimentary knowledge of these fields. Although research can give you a slight edge, I strongly recommend visiting and talking to a professional in each field. Yes, you might get the feeling that If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. But just reviewing and weighing your options based on the research of your economy, politics and field of work accompanied by expert advice, I trust you can make the right decision.
“Take advantage of professionals and be a student of the game” is the thought I’d like to leave you with. Coffee lounge hearsay should NEVER be the deciding factor as “grass is always greener on the other side”.