It’s only natural to want to have the best investment in your pocket so you can make money investing, and lots of it. So, how might you go about finding the best investment for 2014 and beyond?
In hindsight it’s always easy to make money investing, but we’ll play it straight here and look at the past only for clues to the best investment ideas for 2014… and then single it down to the single best investment. Keep an open mind, because most investors overlook opportunities because they are unaware of many of their options.
We’re looking for extremes here, like something that appears to be selling real cheap. And to be realistic, we’ll need to take risk into consideration. Not really cheap: stocks and bonds in general, gold, silver, real estate, other commodities, and most foreign securities. There’s always the chance that some small stock somewhere will turn out to be a gem, and the best investment for 2014. But let’s get real, that’s a very risky long shot, not worth betting more than a few hundred bucks on. We want to make money investing, with decent odds to make money.
In our search for the best investment ideas, I mentioned looking for extremes, WITH AN OPEN MIND. Nothing appears to be real cheap, so let’s go the other way. What looks too expensive? This is a way to make money investing most folks are not aware of. Bonds are expensive, and you could make money in them with the right bet. But bond prices don’t move fast enough, so let’s eliminate bonds from our list of very best investment ideas. Gold, silver, and most of the other options mentioned above are just not expensive enough.
What about looking at stocks in general and different categories of stocks, since we’ve already eliminated trying to find one best stock because it’s just too risky? Stocks look expensive, and in general have gone up in price more than 150% over the past five years. If earnings announcements and expectations disappoint investors, stocks will look even more expensive as 2014 unfolds. Let’s keep them on our list of best investment ideas.
Some categories of stocks like certain high tech sectors and small-company stocks in general have become even more expensive. Let’s move them to the top of our list of best investment ideas for 2014 and beyond. Now, how do we make money investing in stocks that we consider too expensive to buy?
We don’t buy them… we take a short position… which means we bet that they will fall. Now we get more specific as we look for the best investment to jump on, and then the best and simplest way to do this. The high tech sector is a little too specific for me, so I will focus on small-company stocks in general, as tracked by the Russell 2000 Index. As goes the index, so goes the price of small-company stocks in general. To get more specific, we are going to try to make money investing by betting that the above index will fall.
Stock options (called “puts”) could give us maximum financial leverage, but there are two inherent negatives working against us here: higher commissions, and a premium you pay over the intrinsic value, which erodes up until the time the options expire. Options have an expiration date and can expire worthless… making them too risky for average investors. There is a simpler way to make money investing on a bet that a stock index like the Russell 2000 will fall.
“Inverse equity” exchange traded funds (ETFs) are the average investor’s best investment vehicle for taking a “short position” in a stock index. They trade as stocks, do not expire, and commission is about $10 per trade with most discount brokers. You make money investing when the stock index falls. Financial leverage can be 3 to 1. Hence, if an index falls 50% in 2014, you could make 150%, as an example.
Hindsight tells us that there’s always a best investment somewhere. Finding it in real time is a different matter. But if you want to make money investing on a consistent basis, you should recognize that going short in stocks to hedge against major losses is a valid tool. There’s uncertainty out there in 2014. Open your mind when you look for the best investment ideas.