The investment information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not provide advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell any specific stock, security or other investment.
Whether it’s investing in the future or making more money, there’s only so long as a person can take being told, “Hey, I know it’s tough, but you have to persevere.” stay the course we’re here for the long term.”
With a tight budget, rising prices and a rollercoaster in the stock markets, you may at some point think: “There has to be a better way.”
“Shiny Thing” strategies
When the stock market offers you more thrills than you’re willing to endure, it’s tempting to cash out and seek other investment opportunities.
That’s when someone tells you about a new shiny thing.
It could be a Alternative investment: Commodities, Hybrid Bonds, Leveraged Single Stock Exchange Traded Funds, Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Preferred and Convertible Securities, Real Estate Investment Trusts and Structured Notes are just a few.
The people who shape these investments are creative, to say the least. A new hybrid index fund invests in a portfolio of stocks of large companies for overnight trading only. Get this: The fund buys when the stock market closes and sells when the market reopens the next day. I’ll give you some time to think.
Some of these ideas can work as a small part of a portfolio, but they’re best for those with the Investment Basics covered.
Other “big money ideas” can quickly take an ugly turn:
Lottery tickets and sports betting apps (if you’re not budgeting for a long stretch without a win or for compounding losses).
Crypto (especially if you take more risk than you were willing to take).
Whatever the new idea and whoever proposes it to you, make sure they can explain the mechanics of investing – the pros and cons – in a simple and easy-to-understand way.
If they can’t, what are the chances that things will turn out well?
Income systems that seem too good to be true
You may want to top up your budget with additional income.
Every few weeks I get an invitation to wrap my car in a national brand’s logo to “earn an easy income just by driving around as usual”. Some reputable companies do this, but many of these “wrap your car” offers are scams.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the car wrap scam begins when the scammer pays you a large payment — more than the agreed-upon income. You must deposit all of the money, keep some, but immediately make a separate payment to a detailer who will install the vehicle livery. That payment, made to the scammer, is cashed, but the check made out to you is worthless.
Such Fake check fraud can come in many forms. Be especially wary of text messages that come from email addresses rather than phone numbers.
Other quick money schemes to be wary of:
Questions to ask when considering a Shiny Things strategy
When considering an alternative investment or new income opportunity, ask questions like:
Has the new idea worked? Most of the “You have to come in on the first floor” strategies don’t do this. It’s such a new, groundbreaking approach that no one has made any money off it. No one has ever lost money with it. Or if so, are they willing to admit that to you?
Does the recommendation come from someone who is instrumental in the idea and can prove it to you – or is it just a selling point?
Are “guarantees” in writing?
Still, does the guarantee sound too good to be true?
Are you betting money you’re really willing to lose?
Whether it’s increasing your income or saving and investing, there are no quick and easy answers. A careful, well-planned approach and a lot of patience are required.
Hey, I know it’s tough, but you have to persevere. Stay the course. Remember, you are in this for the long term.
Where are we with inflation? The latest numbers
Inflation – the increase in the prices we pay for products and services – is measured in a number of ways: 1) before a product reaches the consumer, 2) prices of goods and services as reported by consumers, and 3) consumer prices that be reported by companies. Economists look for even the smallest change to spot a possible trend.
The most recent reports, the Producer Price Index and the Consumer Price Index – which are the first two measures of inflation mentioned above – showed signs of a slowdown in October. Mind you, overall prices weren’t moving down across the board, but they weren’t rising as fast as they’ve been in recent months. Small movements, right?
These could be early, hopeful signs that the inflation tide may be turning.
A sign of the times: $9 million meat theft
There was a time when banks were the main target for theft. At that time it was said: “That’s where the money is”. Today, many banks resemble cafes more than vaults, with more baristas than bankers. And apparently the real money is in meat.
A Miami-based crime ring was arrested last month for loading 18-wheel trucks full of frozen beef and pork in 45 robberies from packaging plants in half a dozen Midwestern states. The grand total: $9 million.
Frozen meat is the new cold hard money.