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Where to Invest
Where to invest our hard earned dollars? That is a question that many of us are unsure how to answer. We know there are options available to us and we know that letting money sit in the bank is not the path to financial success but do we know where the best place to invest money is?
Where to Invest
Where to invest my money? I posed this question to myself a few months back and began to explore my options. The most obvious place to invest money would be in stocks of big and successful companies. I knew that from a historical (and statistically proven) standpoint that stock have proven to be the most successful of the long term investment alternatives. Purchasing corporate stock can prove quite lucrative if the correct stock is selected. There have been many people who, after deciding where to invest money, purchased stock shares of a company and after many years (though in some cases not so long) cashed the stock in and had accumulated a healthy sum of money. There have also been numerous stories (perhaps even more) of people who wondered, "Where is the best place to invest money", and then thought to themselves, "the stock market". Unfortunately, they were not able to make the right choice as to which companies to invest in and ended up losing part or all of their original investment. I do not consider myself much of a stock guru and thus began to search for alternatives.
Outside My Window
I continued to pose the question to myself of "where to invest my money"? I took a look out my window and thought about real estate. We have all heard the stories of people who invested money in real estate and made fortunes. Some of these fortunes were made by purchasing raw land and developing the land into a usable asset like a shopping center or a track of homes. Most people do not have the funds available to them for such activities and it really was not an option for me. I thought harder about where to invest money and specifically where to invest in real estate.
I live in Arizona and this state's economic and population growth has been well documented. Due to this extraordinary growth there was a shortage of homes. The shortage of homes and places for all of the new people to live drove the value of real estate property (the age old economic principle of supply and demand) and homes to record price levels. People who bought real estate property as a place of where to invest their money were raking in huge profits. The hype was at record levels and, it seemed, every single person who had extra funds available was seeking an opportunity in the real estate market.
Like many balloons and bubbles, the pressure got too great and it burst. The real estate market in Arizona has gone completely in the other direction and people have begun to lose their money and some have begun to lose their homes. People are unable to make their mortgage payments and the money they invested in real estate is not accessible as the property values have dropped and (in essence) very few people are investing in real estate.
Where to invest my money was still a question that had not been answered. I decided to explore other options and began to look at the internet as a source for information and investment alternatives. I decided the easiest way to begin my search was to type the words, "in 2007 invest where" into my favorite search engine. This, of course, brought up thousands of matches and ultimately ideas. Many of the ideas were of the mundane sort that has already been discussed in this article - real estate, stocks, and bonds. There were also many that did not come up in the original thought process. Among the more interesting was the idea to invest in a franchise.
There are many different franchise opportunities available. An individual could invest in a tax preparation service (a necessary evil in this country is to pay our taxes and not every person does their own), a restaurant or other food oriented business, a sporting goods store, or even a pet store. These opportunities are endless and present an individual the potential for a great return on their investment but are also filled with potential pitfalls and losses. For example, tax preparation services have been very successful for many of the entrepreneurial individual but times are changing. Any person with internet access (either via the home or the public library) has the capability of completing and filing their taxes online with online tax preparation companies. The fee is very nominal and usually does not require a very sophisticated individual to use the service. This is not too say that tax preparation service franchises are a thing of the past but that all businesses face new competitive threats that could (and will) affect their ultimate success or failure.
The question of where to invest my money still remains and the solutions are eternally evolving. I have taken some dollars and spread them around in various investment opportunities (including a few of those mentioned in this article) with mixed results. Overall, though, I would have to say that I am pleased that my money did not sit in my checking and saving accounts drawing very little return. I am also pleased that I took the time to ask myself where to invest my money as the options have become much clearer and the road to financial freedom is now becoming clearer.
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