Money Infant

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Practical and Non-Traditional Investment Opportunities for Retirees

Mario Vitanelli is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment. His areas of expertise include European, Asian and Latin/South American economic policy and QROPS. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography.

If you every word written on the internet about retirement investment hints, systems, schemes, rules, warnings and instructions were dollars in your bank account, you wouldn’t need to read another word on the subject because you’d be rich indeed. Despite the wealth of those articles, there are some problems with many of them. A good percentage of them are prohibitively complex- I study and write about finances regularly and much of the advice I encounter thoroughly boggles me.

Some of them offer obvious common sense suggestion or assume the retiree has hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) to play around with.

However, in my opinion, one of their chief shortcomings is that they fail to suggest a retiree capitalizes on two assets that even those of us forced to eat without a silver spoon have in spades. Those are: a lifetime of experience; and, wisdom, or at least the assumption of some accumulated wisdom as we’re ladies and gentlemen of a “certain age”. So how to take advantage of this experience and wisdom in a way that can make you money? Read on.

Traditional Investments. Just to get this out of the way- certainly take advantage of traditional investments- stocks, bonds, the stuffing of a 401(k), some annuities, etc. Do research on these and it’s never a bad idea to talk to a qualified financial advisor that specializes in those not rolling in money, takes a fee and doesn’t try to sell you anything. And definitely take advantage of your situation- if you’re a vet, utilize military monetary benefits, insurance, pensions, etc. If you’re, say, a British expatriate pensioners, put your money in a good QROPS or QNUPS, etc. If you’re lower income, look into the Saver’s Credit- that can be a huge money saver/maker and most people who qualify have never even heard of it.

Keep a little liquid capital around but, while it may be tempting, don’t just sit on large quantities of cash- under your mattress, in a safe deposit box, whatever. This may seem like a safe, neutral, sure thing, but with the inevitability of inflation, you’re losing money every year it sits there.

So What to do With that Cash? If you want some stable, liquid capital, consider stable, liquid investments. Some of my favorites include: coins; art, if you’re at all familiar; memorabilia; weapons, firearms and antique or unique weapons virtually never depreciate in value- this is due to a complex economic algorithm known as the theory of “People Think They’re Cool”.

Precious metals are a solid investment generally. Some people swear by gold (and silver to a lesser extent) because of their innate value. (I’ve personally had some good luck with platinum.) But like anything else, the price waxes and wanes, though unlike some stocks, it will never plummet to nothing or next to nothing. I don’t like to tie too much of my money up in precious metals and unlike some metals-huggers, I’m big on selling metal commodities during the spikes and buying in the dips- that’s part of my genius: buying low and selling high.

The Best Investments. This is where it gets fun. And it’s where your wisdom and experience come into play. Remember when I mentioned coins, weapons, art, antiques, etc.? Well those don’t have to be bought and sold, necessarily, as a layman side investment. In my opinion, to live the retirement dream and make money while you’re doing so- play to your strengths. Have you collected coins since you were young and plan to continue the hobby? When you’re retired, start a business! In the computer age you don’t even need to brave the risk of a brick and mortar store front- start a website or sell your wares on a site like eBay.

Do you love to fish and live somewhere with a robust fishing culture? Hire yourself out as a guide. Again, with a small investment for some web advertising and/or flyers or announcements in the sporting goods store you frequent you can basically work out of your home (when not getting paid to fish). Are you handy and familiar with the aforementioned firearms? Rob liquor stores- it’s 100% profit. No! I’m sorry, I meant set yourself up as a hunting guide if you know the area well enough or buy and sell guns, maybe on the ‘net as well. Even better if you’re at all skilled with repairs and refurbishing (and then, presumably, reselling).

If you’re a car guy, establish a reputation as an honest local mechanic or buy, build, sell and remodel classics. If you’re skilled with a needle and thread, with baked goods, if you know your way around antiques… you get the picture. It’s those sorts of endeavors where a lifetime of experience and know how really works in your favor; as does the assumption by many of your future customers, like I said earlier, that you must know what you’re doing, as you’ve clearly been doing it for so long! I say- if you don’t feel like you made money from the thing you’re passionate about before retirement, there’s no excuse not to do so afterward.

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4 Responses to “Practical and Non-Traditional Investment Opportunities for Retirees”

  1. Levi Blackman says:

    I have always loved collecting coins and it would be great if this could provide some extra income during retirement. I plan on using traditional retirement vehicles but maybe my coin collection will provide more than just a great hobby.

  2. Betsy @ Consumerfu says:

    Interesting suggestions. I earn money doing something I absolutely love doing and I work from home. I don’t plan on every retiring. I might add another hobby or two. Regardless, we’re still looking for new, smart ways to boost retirement savings.

  3. I’m wondering if you could point me to an article or post that supports your assertion that “precious metals are a solid investment generally.” It’s not that I disagree, it is just that I’ve often heard info to the contrary. I want to make sure I have good information when I’m asked about investing in gold & silver, which happens quite a bit.

  4. Mario Adventuresinfrugal says:

    Oh wow. I definitely did not think that I would see coins, art, and memorabilia on this list. I wonder if I’d need some skill or knowledge to do this well. As a child, I collected baseball cards and remember the price of different pieces varying wildly depending on who or where I was buying them.

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