In Step 7 of “How to Build Wealth from Nothing,” we’ll cover some basic fundamentals of investing. It is important to note that investing has numerous different paths you can take based on your appetite for risk but we recommend taking a long-term approach based on the true value of the assets you invest in. It is important to note that Harvest Platform is not a financial advisor and the content here is for educational purposes only (full disclaimer at end of article). While there exist countless options for investing, we will only focus on long-term investment vehicles in this part of the series. We recommend doing your own research and consulting a licensed financial advisor when determining how much to allocate to the different options. After high-interest debts have been paid from Step 5 and a significant cushion of savings (enough to cover 6 months of expenses) has been accumulated, you can now allocate the amount you set aside and save each month from your spend reduction goals in Step 4 to your investment portfolio. We recommend looking across these asset classes for your investing strategy:
The cornerstone of your retirement savings should be placed in a 401K, which are typically sponsored by your employer and in some cases, even matched by the amount you put in. These are long-term investments that have a significant tax benefit in that it reduces the amount you spend on income tax because you are stashing that money away instead for retirement. However, it is important to note that these funds are not accessible without penalty until you reach the age of 59 ½. If you need to withdraw these funds early, you typically will pay a 10% withdrawal penalty on top of the gains tax you would owe. All things considered however, investing into a 401K is one of the best investments you can make for your future. If your employer will match contributions, it is all the more reason to consider the 401K as your first investment vehicle. There are several other types of retirement accounts that exist today, such as the Roth IRA, that are worth exploring based on your individual circumstances and needs.
A mutual fund is an excellent approach to investing in many companies at once. These include both very large companies as well as smaller and fast-growing companies. These funds are managed by professional investors but help you spread the risk of your investment across a wide range of companies. Mutual funds typically return an average of 6-7% for investors over time.
Now at first glance, this may seem out of the question. Buying another house as an investment property seems out of reach for most. Fortunately, however, there are many platforms today that allow you to invest in commercial and residential real estate portfolios with as little as $1000. This investment will give you access to a diversified exposure to multiple properties and participate in the same potential upside that professional real estate investors have access to.
A newly emerging asset called Bitcoin is certainly riskier than the other assets mentioned above and should not have a dominant position in your portfolio but has proven to be an incredibly strong hedge so far against factors outside of your control such as rapid inflation and political instability. One of the strongest attributes of this asset compared to others it that the supply is completely finite and cannot be tampered with, making it the first asset with truly transparent scarcity. Many have likened it to modern-day digital gold but its properties also allow it fulfill many other roles such as global value transfer. We recommend having no more than a single-digit percentage of Bitcoin in your portfolio.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this part of the series, there are countless avenues when it comes to investing. Some of the other assets that we didn’t mention here are: individual stocks, ETFs, Certificates of Deposit, Bonds, Annuities, Commodities, Foreign Currencies, and crowdfunded start-ups, to name a few. We recommend doing extensive research into any of these asset classes before investing. A long-held principle that seems to work well is to only invest in what you know.
Lastly, one of the most important principles to remember when investing is to ensure that you are diversified across the assets you choose to invest into. Diversification is the most surefire way to protect your overall wealth when investing and ensure that it does not all go to zero because you invested in only one asset class. For example, if you choose to invest in the stock market and put all of your investments into one stock, then your entire fortune depends on the livelihood of that stock. If it starts to lose value quickly (ex. Airlines stocks during COVID), then all of your investment goes down with it. If however you are well diversified and own smaller amounts of many companies, then your overall portfolio is much more resilient to sudden shocks. The depth and breadth of subject matter as it relates to investing is very expansive and cannot be covered by this blog alone. However, it is one of the best ways to grow your wealth when properly executed.
The content on this website and our YouTube videos are for educational purposes only and merely cite Harvest Platform’s own opinions. In order to make the best financial decision that suits your own needs, you must conduct your own research and seek the advice of a licensed financial advisor if necessary. Know that all investments involve some form of risk and there is no guarantee that you will be successful in making, saving, or investing money; nor is there any guarantee that you won't experience any loss when investing.
Harvest helps increase the net worth of the 99% through artificial intelligence and financial automation. To date, Harvest has refunded over $2M in bank fees and interest charges to its members with the ultimate goal of increasing the net worth of everyday Americans by $1 trillion by 2030. Our platform starts with providing immediate relief through bank fee and interest charge refunds, orients a member's financial health with our proprietary PRO Index™, and keeps track of net worth over time aided by our suite of financial tools. Check out our 8-step guide on "How to Build Wealth from Nothing" to get started on increasing your net worth.