The time for BS is over! The last few years have seen an influx of too many get rich quick schemes: Meme-stocks, YouTube gurus, crypto currency, elaborate marketing schemes, etc.
But, what actually works to become wealthy through investing?
Yes, I realize a small percentage of people bought Bitcoin when it was cheap. And a few people caught the meme stock rocket. And some overly aggressive YouTube alpha personalities made a fortune.
But none of this is the norm.
Money Viking Guinea Pigs
We have been blogging about personal finance, health and investing since 2018. And in these 5 plus years we have tried it all. Meme stocks, crypto, Pennie stocks, and more. Now that I look back on the last couple of decades of investing I have boiled down the investments that actually made me money and will set us up nicely for the future.
This Can Be Replicated
And all this can be replicated. I always find it annoying when a YouTuber tells me what worked for them in the 80’s, 90’s or early 2000’s, yet is totally un replica table today. I can’t go back and buy Bitcoin when it was 50 cents can I?
Let Me Briefly Describe When I Lost Money
-penny stocks: They are penny stocks for a reason. Be cautious when someone is telling you it is the next big thing.
-trying to time the market instead of focusing on overall portfolio construction: We always seem to think we know when the next market downturn is coming. We do not. Remember, we were supposed to be in a recession right now and the market was going to drop 30%. Instead we got a bull market and pretty much a soft landing to the economy with low unemployment, decreasing inflation and the broad stock market higher.
-meme stocks: yes I knew a few folks that rode the meme stock thing and made some money. But millions of others got burned. I always had a enough sense to only put a small amount in, but it never quite worked out. Beware of the one stock person.
-Some collectibles. Many Money Viking viewers know that I love to enjoy comic and trading card collectibles. Some have been nice investments, but some simply are not. Be careful in this arena. This is why my first rule of thumb is to only buy collectibles you enjoy as a kind of mini work of art.
What Created Wealth
1. A Patient Approach to Real Estate
Yes, I am one of those guys that made and continues to make money off real estate. But, none of it is overnight get rich quick. It has actually been a slow and steady progress type of thing.
But here is the great news. We can all enjoy this asset class even with small amounts of starting capital. For example, if I was starting again, I would buy a modest home in a nice neighborhood to start building equity and I would buy VNQ, Vanguard Real Estate Investment Trust ETF. This gives broad exposure to hundreds of high quality real estate investment trusts.
2. Owning the Whole Market & Automating Investments
Yes, sounds boring, but damn it works like magic. And that is why most people will fail to do it. Simply automating a certain percentage of my salary to broad index funds that capture the market has worked magic and made me a fortune.
Of course it is much sexier to buy GameStop stock and ride a meme stock to the moon. Too bad that is a fantasy that the media perpetuates to your demise.
Quality over speculation
The last thing I will add is that quality has always trumped speculation. Yes, I have speculated with small amounts of money. But when I look back, I should have just stuck to quality the whole time.
3. Investing in Your Career/Job
Yes, we live in the world of quiet quitting and the search for the Utopian job. Well, there are great jobs out there, but nothing is perfect. There will be good days and bad moments. Challenges and triumphs. Kind of just comes with this thing called life. You just move through it and adapt as needed.
But applying myself to my job allowed me to make more money and fuel investments. And this is not to say I have had some illustrious career. I am trying to make a difference and add value and there have been hard times. But this was a critical part of wealth building. And it does not matter white collar, blue collar, whatever. You need to find something you are relatively good at, something you can tolerate most days and hopefully some aspects you find joy or a sense of mission.
The bottomline is that a job can be a wonderful source of funds to live and to take some of it to build wealth.
4. Specific Individual Stocks & ETF’s
There have been a few individual stocks that have truly outperformed. And the good news is that I am holding and I believe they have years of growth ahead. The top winners are Berkshire Hathaway, Realty Income, Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft. Here are my top 7 that I will keep holding and adding too.
5. Investing in Health & Relationships
This may sound crazy to people but I do not care. Because I know in my heart that investing in my health and building healthy friendships and family relationships has contributed to overall wealth in most tangible and intangible ways.
Let me mention the tangible ways. Better health saves money on healthcare related costs. It results in better energy to both make money and make better financial decisions. It results in better relationship decisions and a better relationship with drugs or alcohol.
There is a real financial cost to getting health and relationships all screwed up. Now, I realize that we do not always choose our health outcomes and this is not totally in our control. But wouldn’t it be wise to try and do the best we can with the part of this that we do have influence over?