Investing defined

Investing is about laying out cash or assets now, in the hope of more cash or assets returning to you tomorrow, or next year, or next decade.

Most of the time, this is best achieved through the acquisition of productive assets.

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Investing for Beginners

thebalance.com

  • Productive assets are investments that internally throw off surplus money from some sort of activity. 
  • Each type of productive asset has its own pros and cons, unique quirks, legal traditions, tax rules, and other relevant details.
  • The three most common kinds of investments from productive assets are stocks, bonds, and real estate.

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  • It means investing in common stock, which is another way to describe business ownership or business equity.
  • When you own equity (the value of the shares issued by a company) in a business, you are entitled to a share of the profit or losses generated by that company's operating activity.
  • Equities are the most rewarding asset class for investors seeking to build wealth over time without using large amounts of leverage.

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  1. Investing in Privately Held Businesses: These are businesses that have no public market for their shares. They can be a high-risk, high-reward proposition for the entrepreneur.
  2. Investing in Publicly Traded Businesses: Private businesses sometimes sell part of themselves to outside investors, in a process known as an Initial Public Offering, or IPO. When this happens, anyone can buy shares and become an owner.

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Publicly traded stocks

If you are the type of person that likes companies that are stable and gush cash flow for owners, you might be drawn to 

  • blue-chip stocks,
  • dividend investing,
  • dividend growth investing,
  • value investing.

If you prefer a more aggressive portfolio allocation methodology, you might be drawn to investing in the stock of bad companies.  
Even a small increase in profitability could lead to a disproportionately large jump in the market price of the stock.

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  • When you buy fixed income security, you are really lending money to the bond issuer in exchange for interest income.
  • You can buy certificates of deposit or money markets, or invest in corporate bonds, tax-free municipal bonds, and U.S. savings bonds.
  • They are purchased through a brokerage account. 
  • Selecting your broker will require you to choose between either a discount or a full-service model. 
  • You can work with a registered investment advisor or asset management company that operates on a fiduciary basis.

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Investing in Real Estate

Real estate investing comes down to either developing something and selling it for a profit or owning something and letting others use it in exchange for rent or lease payment.

It can allow someone without a lot of net worth to rapidly accumulate resources, controlling a far larger asset base than he or she could otherwise afford.

Real estate can also be traded like a stock. Usually, this happens through a corporation that qualifies as a real estate investment trust or REIT.

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Once you've settled on the asset class you want to own, your next step is to decide how you are going to own it.

If you decide you want a stake in a publicly-traded business, do you want to own the shares outright, or through a pooled structure?

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Outright Ownership: You will buy shares of individual companies directly. To do this right requires a certain level of knowledge.

Pooled Ownership:  You mix your money with other people and buy ownership in a number of companies through a shared structure or entity. The downside is a near-total loss of control.

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Your decision can have a major impact on how your investments are taxed.

Choices include taxable brokerage accounts, Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Simple IRAs, SEP-IRA, and maybe even family limited partnerships.

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