I once read that NOW is always the toughest time to find the best investment opportunities, and that sometimes it is anything but easy to make money investing. Now is 2015, and once again investment opportunities are out there if we can only find them. Where might we make money investing in 2015, 2016 and beyond?
People tend to throw the words “opportunity” and “opportunities” around a lot, especially when they are trying to sell you something (like swamp land or desert properties). For example, “the opportunity of a lifetime” or “one of the best investment opportunities I’ve ever seen”. We all learn sooner or later that real opportunities are the exception; and not the normal occurrence. Let us keep this in mind as we try to find ways to make money investing in 2015, 2016 and beyond.
If you have a brokerage account with a discount broker the world of investment opportunities is available to you at a cost of about $10 a trade. In one account you can make money investing by making a bet on stocks, bonds, interest rates, commodities; and in a wide array of markets, both domestic and abroad. Your broker’s website should offer lots of information to sift through, but it won’t tell you where the best investment opportunities will be in 2015, 2016 and beyond.
Here’s a good way to look at things: now is always a good time to look for the best investment opportunities, but it may not be an easy time to make money investing. For example, natural gas might look cheap, but it has been going down in price for several years. Interest rates are near all-time lows, but this has also been the case for years. On the other hand, stock market volatility has fallen as stock prices continued to rise. Stocks in general are now quite expensive, and super-low interest rates have made bonds expensive by historical standards.
No matter what happens in the markets in the next couple of years, many of the best investment opportunities are available to average investors in the form of ETFs (exchange traded funds) which trade as stocks. If you don’t have a brokerage account go to a financial website like Yahoo Finance and sift through the ETF performance section… looking for the best and worst performers for various time periods. You’ll be surprised by the wide array of opportunities available. Now, you must decide how you want to try to make money investing in them.
Let’s look at a couple of extreme examples you could find in early 2015. The best performer over the past 3 years (up 94%) was a Leveraged Equity fund that invests in healthcare stocks with 3x leverage. It was also up 20% in the last 3-month period. The worst performer was a 2x leveraged volatility fund, which was down 90% over the past 3 years and also down 15% over the last 3-month period. Other big losers included: gold stock funds and leveraged inverse equity (stock) funds. The real question is: do you jump on the big winners to make money investing? Or, will the big losers be the best investment opportunities for 2015, 2016 and beyond?
Here’s a real extreme example from early 2015. The best investment over the last 3-month period was a 3x LEVERAGED INVERSE CRUDE OIL ETF. It went up 285% (in 3 months). What’s that? INVERSE means that as the price of oil FALLS, the share price of this fund goes UP; and 3x LEVERAGED means it is designed to go up 3 times as much (on a percentage basis) as the drop in oil price. This was one of the very best investment opportunities in the months leading up to 2015, because oil prices then started to fall like a rock. But after a gain like that, it’s probably no longer the best investment if you want to make money in 2015 and beyond. This was yesterday’s opportunity.
On the other hand, there’s always the possibility that oil prices will rebound strongly in 2015, 2016, or later. If and when this happens, some of the best investment opportunities will likely be found in oil and other energy stocks (or ETFs) that fell in line with the previous drop in oil prices. Timing and anticipation are the keys to finding the best investment opportunities. You can make money investing by jumping on current winners, but the best investment opportunities are often found when a change in price trend begins.