Where to Invest Money in 2011

It’s time to decide where to invest money and where not to invest for 2011 and beyond. The flow of money and the investment tide could be changing, so you’ll want to invest money with your eyes wide open going forward. Here we look at safe investments, stock funds vs. bond funds and gold.What does the flow of money and a changing tide have to do with where to invest in 2011 or 2012? Where money flows in – prices rise. Where it exits from prices fall. In recent years gold has soared to all time highs. In the stock funds vs. bond funds arena investors have flooded bond funds with money inflows of hundreds of billions of dollars as bond prices climbed. Stock funds watched money run for the exits. There had been a rising tide in gold and bond fund prices as 2011 approached the scene. This will change if investors decide to invest their money elsewhere.WHERE TO INVEST MONEY IN SAFE INVESTMENTS: Safe investments pay interest, and very little of it these days. If you see a higher interest rate on what appears to be a bank CD, look twice before you invest money. Make sure it is federally insured by the government because there are misleading imitations out there. If you have money in a retirement plan at work or with a life insurance company, check to see if they offer a fixed or stable account option. These safe investments often pay the best rate around. Do not invest money in the average bond fund if you need high safety. For 2011 and 2012, these are not necessarily safe investments. Go with safe money market funds instead.WHERE TO INVEST MONEY TO EARN MORE INTEREST: For almost 30 years as INTEREST RATES FELL, bond funds were the place millions of average investors put their money to earn higher interest income, with relative safety. With interest rates near record lows the risk of owning these funds now somewhat offsets the potential rewards. Rule #1 in regard to bond funds: when interest rates go up, fund prices (values) fall. Rule #2: long-term fund prices fall the most. Do not invest money in long-term funds unless you are willing to bet that interest rates will fall further in 2011-2012. Instead, go with a mix of short-term and intermediate-term funds.WHERE TO INVEST MONEY FOR GROWTH AND INCOME: In the stock funds vs. bond funds debate for 2011, stock funds are the favorite in the growth department. Bond funds are not growth investments. Frankly, I’d shy away from stock funds that invest your money in growth and smaller-company stocks that pay little or no income in the form of dividends. Instead go with general diversified stock funds that invest in large-cap company stocks that pay good dividends. It will be nice to have some dividend income in case the tide for stocks goes out. Consider putting some money in real estate stock funds for income and to add even more diversification to your portfolio.In 2011 and 2012 the issue of where to invest money will likely focus on stock funds vs. bond funds. Gold is bound to be in the headlines as well. At over $1300 an ounce, gold has become a speculation. If you invest in gold keep one eye on the exits. The average investor needs to invest with a long-term strategy that includes both stock funds and bond funds. Go for dividends in the stock category and avoid long-term in the bond department. Invest money like the investment tide was ready to turn, because it could in 2011 if INTEREST RATES RISE.

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