Alternative Investments: Friend Or Foe?

Alternative InvestmentsWhen it comes to arranging retirement investments it is not always easy to get it right.

The ability to understand finance in relation to balance sheets and running a successful business may skew the beliefs of entrepreneurs, business leaders and high net worth individuals into thinking that investment strategies are not difficult to get right.

The problem with this is that whatever experience an individual has in running a business and understanding the financial realities it doesn’t always translate to the field of investments, particularly retirement investments.

For many there can be some comfort in the more traditional retirement investment options, such as a defined benefit or defined contribution plan.

These can be perfectly good vehicles for developing funds for a pension on retirement, but for those looking for alternative ways of investing for retirement there are alternative ways to invest funds with the potential for good returns, always bearing in mind that an investment in something alternative could turn out to be a friend or, worst case scenario, an enemy.

The investment seesaw

Anyone with a basic understanding of finance knows that investments can go down as well as up in terms of their value over an extended period. Luck as well as judgment plays a part in investment decisions – who’s to know if a company might suddenly go bust and its shares become worthless just when a significant individual or business investment has been made? Due diligence will have been carried out but there can often be hidden problems that only emerge later.

Everyone wants to mitigate their exposure to retirement investment risk – although entrepreneurs and their ilk are generally not that risk aversive or they wouldn’t have embarked on their particular business activities, but nobody wants to lose a significant amount of their retirement investment portfolio which is why you should really understand the basics yourself as well. A good place to learn about investments is the course “Crisis Investing”, you can find a solid and informative review at Jeff’s Full Review here.

Seeking advice

Before looking into alternative investments it’s worth asking for advice from a seasoned financial professional. As an example, Fisher Investments, with successful finance expert Ken Fisher at the helm, can offer a wide range of investment options to consider, and the company’s 99 Tips offers many detailed insights into retirement investment options. From self-directed IRAs – Independent Retirement Accounts that can be managed by the individual investor with professional support where required – to alternatives that avoid the stock market (and its ups and downs following global economic trends and crises) there are areas of investment that could prove to be good ways to invest for the future.

Start-ups and private companies

Angel investing is when an investor makes direct investments into business start-ups or private businesses rather than using a private equity fund to invest in (that will do the same thing but is likely to give lower returns if things go well). This type of investment is high risk, as start-ups can end up failing completely, however, very often such enterprises take off and the return on the initial investment can be huge. It’s essential to do good research before investing in either a start-up or a private company to determine whether there is a realistic chance of them doing well.

Venture capital

As the term suggests this is investment at the early stage of companies as well as their growth stage. It’s effectively taking a gamble on an idea and business plan and providing finance to companies that can’t access the traditional forms of finance, as they have no track record either operationally or in terms of revenue history. Risky? Yes. Potentially very lucrative in the longer term? Yes. Think Google, Twitter and Facebook, where early investors made significant returns on their investments.


Buying and owning land or property, or investing in a company that has these types of assets, can be a good way to develop retirement investment funds. Investors in a position to buy real estate, whether agricultural or residential have opportunities to see good returns on their investments provided they are researched well and then managed properly. Real estate is not always the easiest investment from which to get a good return, but careful management of owned real estate or judicious investment into companies that specialize in this area can bring significant dividends in the future.

Other asset-based investments could include luxury and collectible goods such as wine, rare coins, art and jewelry. Or buying gold as an investment. This is where expert knowledge and advice is essential, and these would usually be long-term investments.

Friend or foe?

Investing, when done carefully and knowing what the risks are, can provide excellent returns for retirement. One can be imaginative but also play safe where necessary so there will always be money to be accessed in later years.

5 things you must know about Gold


Yellow Gold 22 K is 92% Gold, 4.2% Silver and 4.2% Copper.
Yellow Gold 18 K is 75% Gold, 10-20% Silver and 5-15% Copper.
Yellow Gold 24 K is 58% Gold, 4-28% Silver and 14-28% Copper.
Blue Gold 18 K is 75% Gold and 25% Iron.
Green Gold 18 K is 75% Gold, 11-15% Silver and 13-0% Cadmium.
Red gold 18 K is 75% Gold and 25% Copper.
White Gold 18 K is 75% Gold, 18.5% Silver, 1% Copper and 5.5% Zinc.
White Gold type 1 is 90% Gold and 10% Palladium.
Red gold type 2 is 75-85% Gold, 8-10% Nickel and 2-9% Zinc.


Gold is easily accepted anywhere at any time as people have more faith in gold than they do in currencies, or why else do governments still keep huge amounts of gold in their vaults?

The fact that gold was easily accepted and the fact that it was scarce made it a perfect tool for commerce and it was due to all these factors that eventually made gold function as money.

In 1821 Great Britain adopted gold as its official currency and 93 years later in 1914, gold became the measuring scale for almost all the currencies in the world.

From the US dollar to the currency variety of Europe, all had a set standard value in GOLD known as the ‘Gold Standard’ up to 1933. In international trade governments buy gold and sell gold bullions to offset deficits.


Sixty percent of the world’s mined gold today is used for the jewelery trade. The gold jewellery’s trade is also one of the fastest growing online businesses! If you are planning to dispose or sell gold Melbourne is the City to go. There are many good gold dealers online that you may inquire about the precious valuables that you possess without having to leave your home!


Gold is the only metal that does not oxide (rust) at normal temperatures, thus it remains in its shiny form for ages without losing its glow; this was probably the reason why gold was valued from the beginning. The fact that it also falls under the category of scarce metal made it even more valuable.

Throughout history gold has been an object of desire. Battles were fought; cities have fallen and raised because of gold, even Columbus discovered America while he was looking for gold!


On the periodic chart gold is listed as Au from the Latin word for gold Aurums. Being soft and heavy in nature it is the most easily worked metal, it is also one of the least chemically reactive substance known to man! This characteristic allows gold to be easily extracted from the substances that it is trapped in.

Gold is also a very good conductor of electricity and heat. The human body’s temperature is 36 – 37 degrees and gold adopts this temperature very quickly and becomes part of you.

4 Tips for Saving Money for People of All Ages

The future is never guaranteed and neither is finances. You never know when things can go wrong or when you may need to make a large payment for an accident, because you lost your job, etc. It is important for people of all ages to save enough to support them in the future. Have a look at the tips shared in this article and start planning for your future.

Save money every month. No matter what your salary is, you should save money every month. The best way to ensure that this happens, you can set up a recurring withdrawal into a savings account. This way, you don’t run the risk of forgetting and you know that there is money being put aside.

Curb your spending. For some people, this is more difficult than others. Everyone can find at least one area of their expenses where they can cut down. Find that area and use the savings to pay off a debt or pay it into a savings account.

Make money on the side. There are different ways to do this. You can get a part-time job for a few months or maybe a year or two to help you save up the money you need. You can also sell things you no longer need or can live without. You can also do small things like baking cookies and selling them or something similar that you can do from home.

Have an emergency fund. Emergencies are things like unexpected job loss, a major illness, or a car accident. It is ideal for you to have a separate savings account for these types of events. A rule to follow to make sure you have enough is to save up at least 3 months’ worth of expenses.

Lastly, it is a good idea to give investing a try. Investing money and allowing it to grow, can be very profitable. Make sure you know what to do and don’t just randomly start buying stocks. With these tips, you should be on your way to better finances.

3 Different Futures Markets to Help Beginners

The futures market can be very profitable if you know how it works and how to work the market. People who don’t know or understand the market can get confused very easily. We want to help out our beginners by discussing and explaining the different markets and how you can get started in the futures market.

Commodities – Examples of commodities include grains, precious metals, maize, oil, energy, etc. In other words, a commodity is a physical product that changes in value based on supply and demand. Investors speculate and hedge in a centralized market based on their predictions of whether the price will rise or fall.
Common strategies that investors use to improve their chances of making profits are straddles and buying a call option. These strategies are used to reduce the chance of losing big.

Currencies – Everyone is familiar with currencies – dollars, pounds, etc. Trading currencies is similar to commodities in that the investor is once again speculating whether the price will go up or down in future. The investor then takes action according to his speculation.

A common strategy used by investors who trade currencies is called scalping. This is an intensive strategy and requires a lot of focus and discipline. If it pays off, the small profits you make in the short-term will add up in the long-term.

Indexes and interest rates – This is one of the more popular markets for investors. They tend to use timings strategies to make their profits. Investors like trading index futures contracts like the S&P 500 index futures contract.

The most commonly used timing-based strategies used by investors are cycle trading and seasonal trading.

The most important thing to do before you start investing and trading is to do your research and practice. Learn as much as you can about the markets you are interested in as well as the stocks, commodities, indexes, etc. that you are interested in buying. As with anything else, being a successful trader requires practice. So, have a few practice runs on apps or paper before you put up your money.

Futures: What They Are and How They Work

Futures is part of the investment world that few people outside of the field know about or understand. Today, we go back to basics and we explain what futures are and what is different about them. Futures are for the more seasoned investors that understand the game and is ready to take a risk and not allow it to break them.

What are futures?

Futures can be called financial contracts. These financial contracts are set up so the person who wants to buy or sell a certain commodity or another financial instrument, must do so at a set date and price. This means that a buyer must buy an asset at a predetermined date and price or a seller must sell at a predetermined date and price.

Futures Speculation

Futures are used to lower the risk of an investment by managing the potential up or down movement of the prices of assets. To make money with futures, investors will buy assets that speculate will have an upwards movement on a future date. They will set a date and price depending on their speculation. If the speculation is incorrect and the price goes lower, the investor will lose money.

Futures Hedging

Hedging is a technique or strategy used to try and lessen the impact of prices that change during the investment period. Usually, the hedging is done by someone who is involved in the production or usage of the underlying asset of the future. This strategy helps to lock the market price in at the spot where investors would like it to stay.

The biggest difference between the futures market and the stock market is that you cannot decide when to buy or sell. In the futures market, you are contractually bound to wait out the period set and you must buy or sell at the stipulated price. In the stock market, you are free to buy and sell when you want and at the price you want.