Investing can be tricky at the best of times; with endless options, instability in the markets, and several different voices suggesting that you invest here or there. Whether you're new to investing or a seasoned veteran, sometimes just getting clarity among all of the financial noise can be a challenge. Here are five investments you should make this year.
1. Your Retirement
Putting money into your 401k or IRA account for retirement should be your number one investment; whether you're 25 or 45, new to investing or been at it for years. Retirement is something that adults of all ages should be seriously thinking about. Ideally, you'll want to start saving in your 20s, but it's never too late to start putting away money for your golden years.
Retirement can carry a lot of costs; from medical care to food and housing to vehicle expenses and more. The type of lifestyle you want to have during your retirement will be a major factor in how much you save, but for the average person, saving at least 15% of your annual income per year is the suggested goal.
Retirement is a good investment. While it certainly carries some risk, which goes up depending on the vehicle you choose, the overall security of a retirement fund is tighter than with other investments. With a 401k, your employer will even match a percentage (sometimes as much as 60%) of your contributions; taking some of the burden to save for retirement off of you.
Planning for retirement can be stressful without any help or knowledge in the subject. Financial advisors are the perfect remedy for this issue; with years of expertise and certification to ensure their credibility, these financial experts will help you plan out your retirement savings and help you invest wisely. If you're in the market for an advisor, you can read about the best financial advisors on the Careful Cents site.
2. Emerging Markets
Fidelity Investments, one of the top investment firms in the country, suggests looking into emerging markets as potential investments instead of the home market for a few reasons. Besides being a potential long-term profitable investment, emerging markets tend to perform well under the right circumstances; making a careful selection of the right EM a smart investment move.
Investing in an EM can add diversity to your portfolio, putting you in a potentially high-value investment should the market perform well. With the "trade wars" going on between China and the US, the world's two largest economies, there are several opportunities available to invest in EMs. Talk with an advisor today to learn which investments are worth a shot.
3. Real Estate
Sites like Fundrise have become popular with investors in recent years, as they provide a more secure way to invest in the real estate market than traditional investing. You'll be investing in real estate notes or shares, and with returns of up to 12%, the site is certainly generating some serious buzz.
If you choose to invest with a company like Fundrise, however, it's important to remember that if the market takes a dive, you can't cash in your account and walk away from the investment. Your investments won't be considered liquid, so walking away from them is, unfortunately, not an option. This is why having diversity in your portfolio is so important; putting all of your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, especially in the investment world.
4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending has been around for a while, but it's a great way to get started with investing. Essentially, you'll be loaning money to individuals via the peer-to-peer platform (like Lending Club from California) and collect the interest payments on the loan. The site claims to have returns of around 4-7% per year, which isn't bad for beginner and veteran investors alike.
With a low correlation on the stock market, Lending Club's notes have a better chance of generating a return; with 99% of portfolios with 100+ notes seeing positive returns. Those are pretty good odds in the investing world. The best part about peer-to-peer lending is that you'll get principal and interest payments year-round. Think of all that you could do with a few thousand extra dollars per year!
With over 12 years in the business, Lending Club is one of the most trusted investment and personal lending platforms out there. If you'd like to see your money grow while performing a valuable service, peer-to-peer lending is for you.
5. Your Physical and Mental Health
While we're busy investing in types of income-generating assets, retirement accounts, etc., we often forget about ourselves; and how valuable investment in the self really can be. Investing in your physical and mental health this year will ensure that you'll be able to keep functioning at full capacity for years to come. Mental health is especially overlooked, particularly in the workplace.
Mental health plays a crucial role in our success and happiness, and investing in creating a better mental image of ourselves and the world can go a long way. Don't be afraid to spend some extra money on you this year. Invest in better food and eating habits or therapy if you're suffering from a mental health condition. The dividends on these investments can truly last a lifetime!
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."