How to Protect Your Investments

There are myriad ways in which you can choose to invest your hard-earned money.  You may sock it away in pre-tax retirement accounts like a 401K or Roth IRA.  Or you could play it safe with a savings account and bank-backed certificates of deposit.  On the other hand, you might decide to go for broke and play the stock market.  More likely, though, you’ll opt for an investment plant that includes a diverse array of investments that such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, various savings accounts, and perhaps even commodities like gold or silver.  Even assets like your home could be part of your long-term investment strategy.  But in troubled economic times like these, you need to protect all of your investments if you want them to pay off.  So here are just a few ways to do so.

  1. Roll over accounts.  If you’re nearing the age of retirement and you’re worried about losing the money you’ve carefully invested in your retirement accounts over the years, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t protect your funds by rolling them over into low-risk options like bonds (since you should be able to do so without incurring any penalties).  You’ve basically accumulated all that you’re going to, and if it is enough to live out your retirement, a low interest rate may sound a lot more appealing than the possibility of future losses.
  2. Consider stocks.  Most people think that this is a terrible time to invest in the market, but that’s not really true.  If you already have stocks and you’re losing money on them, you may want to sell in order to cut your losses.  But if you’re just getting into investing and you think you’re better off playing it safe, you may want to think again.  Many reliable companies are suffering from low stock prices right now, but that only means that they stand to rebound over time.  So some solid advice from your broker could help you to choose the stocks that are going to show a significant return in a few years.
  3. Look into global investments.  Diversity is the name of the game when it comes to making safe investments and protecting your capital.  Although some growing countries (like China) are enjoying premium rates at the moment, which may prompt you to steer clear of investing there, overall the global economy may be a safer bet than the national one.
  4. Ask for proof.  Most brokers will send you regular reports regarding your investment portfolio, but if they give you the runaround or send you only company printouts (like Madoff is rumored to have done), you can bet that something isn’t right.  A broker on the up and up will have stocks registered with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), along with paperwork to that effect.  And he should be willing, at any time, to provide you with proper documentation regarding your investments and your account statements.  And if it seems too good to be true (low risk, high reward) it probably is.
  5. Insure your property.  Not all investments are on paper.  You can also consider assets, properties in particular, to be investments since they stand to appreciate over time and show a significant return.  But in order for housing to pay off, you need to keep it safe.  That means getting it insured, performing proper maintenance, and potentially even doing upgrades to increase value.

Emma Martin is a contributing writer for Hologuard, where you can find security labels and adhesives that protect against theft.

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