Amon and I often talk about all the things we invest in. Index funds? - Yep! ETFs - Yep! REITs - Yep! We’re pretty much an open book when it comes to what we invest in. But, we also think it’s important to talk about what we don’t invest in
- and we get asked this quite a lot! We think this is a great question because, to us, the investments that we didn’t make are just as important as the investments that we did make. So, by popular request, I’m happy to present: Seven areas we DON’T invest in!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - we do not invest in cryptocurrency! In fact, we recently did a video on bitcoin. We talked about the pros and cons of investing in bitcoin, how people invest in it, how it’s valued, and we also shared why we don’t invest in it. We received a lot of passionate comments on that video!
There are a few reasons we don’t invest in cryptocurrency. One of the main reasons is that we simply don’t have the risk tolerance for investing in it. In our opinion, it’s way too unstable and volatile! Crypto is widely known for its massive market fluctuations. One year, investors may see huge profits . . . only to lose it all a few months later.
And before someone corrects me - YES: I’ve heard of those stories where people invest in cryptocurrency and become millionaires virtually overnight! I mean, YouTube is filled with videos where people talk about how much money they’ve made, or how their life has completely changed because they took a leap of faith and invested in cryptocurrency.
The thing is, these people are NOT the norm. Pointing just to the success stories of some people, while ignoring how others have lost everything definitely does not paint an accurate picture!
And yes, there are so many different types of cryptocurrency out there. But even Bitcoin, the most well known cryptocurrency, is vulnerable to these crazy market swings. So all and all, cryptocurrency is just way too risky for us.
Another thing: cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by any other assets. This makes it a lot riskier than, say, US Treasury Bonds, which are backed by the US government, or traditional stocks that are backed by the company and its earnings.
Also, cryptocurrency, by its very nature, is vulnerable! It is a digital based investment and because of this, it is susceptible to software bugs and hacking. Imagine waking up one day and finding out you lost everything, and there was absolutely nothing you could do about it . . . horrifying, I know!
Like cryptocurrency, options trading has been getting a LOT of buzz lately. But again, it too suffers from the issue of over-representing gains and under-representing losses.
For anyone who’s unfamiliar with options training, an option is basically a contract that gives an investor the option to buy and sell a particular asset at a specified price, on or before a specified date.
Options trading involves three main factors - all of which involve the need for fairly precise prediction skills: (1) you need to be able to predict the direction the stock will move; (2) you need to predict how low or high the prices will go; and (3) you need to predict the timeframe that the price will change in.
In other words, options trading is all about market timing and speculation. The way I see it, because it is notoriously difficult (some would argue impossible) to time the market, this is the closest you can get to gambling. And we NEVER gamble with our money. So we don’t touch options!
Whole Life Insurance
We once put up a post on our Instagram story that highlighted our dislike of whole life insurance. MAN! We got A LOT of hate from insurance salesmen! So, I want to be crystal clear here: we DO HAVE term life insurance, we just DON’T INVEST in “whole life insurance.”
What’s the difference? Well, whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire life, as long as you’re paying the premiums. Term life insurance is different - it’s exactly as it sounds: it provides life insurance coverage for a specific term (or period) of your life.
Unlike term life insurance, whole life insurance also has an investment component to it, called the “cash value” of the policy. Now, because cash values can be used as a tax sheltered investment, a lot of people recommend it. But there are also significant cons to investing in whole life insurance that keep us away.
For instance, most of the premiums you’re paying for whole life insurance, in the first few months, are going towards fees and commissions. This means that sometimes it can take up to fifteen years to accumulate enough value to be able to take money out in your policy or as a loan.
Plus, whole life insurance is ten times as expensive as term insurance! People pushing for whole life insurance argue that the price difference is worth it because whole life insurance offers more than just life insurance - it also allows you to invest. And, while this is true . . . it's an investment with a REALLY low return! For us, we’ve found that we’re better off just taking our money and investing in low cost index funds.
When you buy an annuity, you’re basically giving a large lump sum of money to an insurance company which, in exchange, provides you with a steady income stream.
Once they have your money, the insurance company will then charge you a fee for the service of investing your money. So, at the end of the day, any money that you get as a return on your investment will only arrive in your account after a huge amount is garnished by the insurance company for fees and commissions. After a long period of time, these losses really add up!
We always stress the important role of fees in growing your investment portfolio. If you’re looking at annuities - research and understand the fees tied to them! Sure, you get a guaranteed return with an annuity. BUT, it’s important to understand that that guaranteed return comes at a cost. For us, we’re not willing to assume that cost!
How cool would it be to own stocks by simply investing with a couple of pennies?!
STOP! That question was rhetorical! Penny Stocks are an investor’s TRAP!
A penny stock is a security generally issued by a very small company that trades less than $5 a share. This is obviously really attractive for people who don’t have a ton of money to invest. The problem though, is that penny stock companies usually trade so low for a reason- because their financials are usually terrible! With penny stocks there is a lot of speculation, risk, volatility, and, as a result, a lot of failures. Because of this we stay far (FAR!) away from penny stocks!
Let me first say that collectibles can be fun to collect. If you collect certain items as a kid, they may offer a bit of nostalgia as an adult. BUT, for us, it’s one thing to collect items for nostalgia purposes; it’s another thing to purchase collectibles as an investment.
And by collectibles, I’m speaking fairly generally. A LOT of items can fall under the umbrella of collectibles: dolls, comic books, baseball cards, stamps, coins, watches, etc. My advice is that if you’re collecting these items as investments, keep a couple of things in mind:
Price. The price for collectibles are always variable. There’s no guarantee that someone else will actually be willing to pay enough for your collectibles to make investing in them worth it. In fact, you might end up losing money!
Storage. Collectibles can take up space - another cost that you may need to pay.
Risk. The collectible industry is riddled with conmen, fraudsters, and counterfeit artists. Because of this, you really need to be an expert on the things that you are collecting to be able to confidently know that what you are buying is, in fact, the real deal.
Return On Investment (ROI). The ROI on collectibles is hard to predict, making it difficult to determine what a piece of art or a classic car (for example) will actually be worth in twenty years. Unlike stocks, that have long term trajectories and trends that we can base informed predictions for the future on, collectibles don’t offer that same future price projection.
Bonds or Gold
Lastly, Amon and I don’t invest in bonds or gold. As for why . . . so, so, soooo many reasons! But, guess what? - We’ve done a ton of YouTube videos on why we don’t invest in bonds and gold AND I’m actually going to go over those specific reasons in two separate blog posts!
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