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- Quality financial investments can come from unexpected sources.
- From starting a “family 401(k)” to paying for renter’s insurance, several financial experts detail six worthwhile forms of investment that might fly under your radar.
Your investments don’t have to be typical.
Although the most common types of financial investments are bonds, stocks, and mutual funds according to Money Management International, those methods certainly aren’t the only types of worthwhile investments out there.
That’s what got us thinking.
With nearly 40% of Americans not investing at all, and almost half of them chalking it up to “not knowing how,” according to a recent NerdWallet study, we wanted to round up some atypical investment suggestions.
We spoke to financial experts from across the country and asked them for suggestions on the best unexpected financial investments a person could make.
Here are six of our favorites:
1. Start a family 401(k)
Nicole Middendorf, the founder and CEO of the wealth management company Prosperwell Financial, said the best way to teach a kid about saving money is to start them young. That’s why she suggests starting a “Family 401(k)” plan – essentially a Roth IRA where the kids contribute and the parents take on the “employer” role and match their contributions.
“Teaching your kids the value of money is priceless,” Middendorf said. “Also, the money will likely go to stuff you help your kids save for and you would probably just buy anyway.”
Financial service companies like Fidelity and Charles Schwab have hopped on board the process to make investing easier for children and families. In 2016, Fidelity followed Schwab in launching a “kid-friendly” IRA account, available to investors under the age of 18, according to Money.
For further reference, the author Dan Kadlec detailed how he started Roth IRAs for his children in a 2010 article for CBS Moneywatch.
2. Collect toys or comic books
- Business Insider/Melia Robinson
Misty Lynch, lead financial consultant at John Hancock, told Business Insider that collections of all sorts can become clever investments.
“As an ’80s child, I owned several valuable investments before I even knew what that word meant,” Lynch said. “Sadly, my toys often received bad haircuts and random attacks from our dog. If I had kept them in the box they could have helped put my own kids through college.”
Retro toys can have increasing, and even surprising, value over the years. The original Xavier Roberts Cabbage Patch doll that Lynch said she owned could be worth hundreds of dollars today, according to the Williamson Daily News. And toys aren’t the only item geared toward kids that have shown collectible value.
Fueled by countless movies revolving around superheros, villains, and anti-heros, and the increasing popularity of events like Comic Con, the comic book market continues to rise in value. As Wired reported, books that have originally sold for less than a dollar can now sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Vincent Zurzolo, the co-owner of New York’s Metropolis Comics, told Business Insider that he has made thousands of dollars in the blink of an eye through his collection of self-proclaimed “kiddie fare.” Zurzolo said that a comic book can jump in value from a few dollars to $100 and that anyone can benefit – if they do their homework.
Zurzolo’s steps to take part in the trend include studying the market trends and looking at new movies slated to come out, setting a budget for yourself, and figuring out if you’re trying to hold onto books for a short or long period of time.
3. Pay off your debt
Author Sharon Marchisello said that before even thinking about investing in anything else, people need to pay down their own debt.
“It’s 100% risk free, and the return is guaranteed,” Marchisello, who wrote the book “Live Well, Grow Wealth” based on her own financial experiences, told Business Insider about debt payments. “Because consumer interest is usually higher than investment interest, you’re getting a higher rate of return than you would by putting your money into another investment vehicle.”
Marchisello said that the best investment a person can make is to nip their debt in the bud now.
“Eventually, you’ll free up cash flow that can be used toward other, more conventional investments,” she said.
4. Get renter’s insurance
A lot of people think they’ll never need renter’s insurance or that it’s too expensive, when in reality it costs about the same as a bottle of wine a month (or less).
Braden Davis, the chief insurance officer for Jetty Insurance, told Business Insider that the cost of renter’s insurance can even dip as low as $5 per month and is quick and easy to sign up for.
“Most importantly, it can cover a lot more than you think,” Davis said. “From everyday occurrences like shattered cell phones and broken laptops, to disasters like fire and theft.”
According to Forbes, most renters don’t have renter’s insurance. Typically, the insurance covers personal property, temporary living expenses, and personal liability – including if you’re ever robbed, or if flooding or fire causes your stuff to be ruined.
“It’s a great way to get peace of mind and invest in your future self,” Davis said.
5. Enroll in industry training
- Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr
Dock David Treece, a financial planning expert and senior investments analyst for Fit Small Business, suggested that advanced industry training is a great investment to make in yourself that can pay off in the long haul.
“When people think of investing, they often think of stocks, bonds or mutual funds,” he said. “But training specific to your industry or role can be a great investment.”
And he’s not wrong.
According to Glassdoor, having certain accolades such as Google certifications or project management certifications can make a candidate more desirable to a job recruiter. In addition, already having a job and going through additional training or earning certifications could be compelling leverage to put toward a raise or promotion.
“This training can grow your future earning capacity and help you build retirement savings faster,” Treece said.
6. Take care of your health and hygiene
- Com Salud/Flickr
While spending money on health insurance, a gym membership, a trip to the dentist, or a meal plan might not seem like a form of investment, Jennifer McDermott, a consumer advocate for the personal finance comparison website Finder, would have to disagree.
According to a study Finder conducted, Americans were forced to borrow $6.12 billions for medical expenses in 2017. McDermott said that by incorporating regular good-health practices into a routine, like regular visits to the dentist, annual visits to a general physician, and attending a gym, people will save money down the line.
“While an investment in things such as gyms and special diets are often associated with vanity, they can actually prevent high-priced health issues,” she said.