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We've discussed investing in real estate, the stock market, bonds, etc., but what other investments might make good retirement vehicles? The above are probably the most popular, but I'm sure there are other good places to put your money in order to FIRE. (For instance, my dad invested in old silver coins - I believe they're worth about as much today as they were when he bought them 25+ years ago - not good for FIRE.)

Each type of investment takes a little bit of knowledge up front, some more than others (like real estate). Are there other things that you could become knowledgeable about and earn a decent return on? I'm thinking about things like collectibles, antique furniture or cars, etc.

Something else I think might be the case is this: the more diversified you become, the less "expert" you will be in any single type of investment. For this reason, I think it's possible to become "too diversified."

Any and all thoughts welcome.

SS
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I've got a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio and some other Yankees. besides that, it's pretty much index funds.

-tdx
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I have some wine from the days when I used to collect a bit. Most of them have increased in value, and I have a few that have doubled in the past 7 years. But if their value tanks, I can still always drink them. Come to think of it, I might as well drink them anyway -- winemakers don't make great wines just so you can look at the bottle....

I'm staying with the index funds.

CK
(now where's my corkscrew?)
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The above are probably the most popular, but I'm sure there are other good places to put your money in order to FIRE.

Along these lines, I'd be especially curious if we have any business owners among us, possibly with plans to sell out at some point to finance your retirement.

My particular fantasy is gold mining, but that'd really just be an excuse to hang out in Alaska. :)

dan
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My portfolio is crammed with individual small caps, mostly companies with a market cap in the range of a few hundred million, some under a hundred million. Although this adds a certain amount of volatility and illiquidity, the returns have been pretty good and I have not been clobbered as the markets tanked, in large part because I am a complete skinflint about valuation. I would not touch GE or any of the other corporate titans out there with a 10 foot pole.

The other "investment" I have made is in DW's start-up career counseling business. She is finally done wading through red tape (about 6 months' worth) and has just started bring in a few clients. Our actual cash outlay has only been a few thousand; the real investment is the opportunity cost of her paychecks. The returns are already coming: a small amount of money (hopefully more later), total control of her own schedule, a sustainable pace career that she will be happy to do for the rest of her life, and (for her) feelings of accomplishment as things move along.
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Come to think of it, I might as well drink them anyway -- winemakers don't make great wines just so you can look at the bottle....

LOL! Cheers!

SS
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Along these lines, I'd be especially curious if we have any business owners among us, possibly with plans to sell out at some point to finance your retirement.

As it happens, I'm a business owner... but I wouldn't be able to sell it to finance FIRE. Since my knowledge is the main commodity, and since I don't really want to hire people and be a boss, if I'm gone there's not really much left except the name, the reputation and some equipment. I'd be better off keeping it and continuing to do the occasional gig.

SS
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SoftSimp writes:

We've discussed investing in real estate, the stock market, bonds, etc., but what other investments might make good retirement vehicles?

I have an unusual animal in the fixed-income portion of my portfolio. Unfortunately it is only available to older federal employees under the Civil Service retirement System. It is called the Voluntary Contribution Plan (VCP).

You are allowed to contribute after-tax earnings in any amount and at any time as long as the amount contributed is in multiples of $25 and at no time exceeds 10% of your career earnings. So the contribution limit is very high compared to other types of tax-deferred investments. The account pays interest which approximates that of the long bond, is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and has no interest rate risk and virtually no credit risk. The earnings accumulates on a tax-deferred basis and can be rolled over into an IRA at any time. Right now it pays a virtually risk-free 5%. The interest rate changes each year.

I thought federal employees might be interested in this since it is little-known. I am using it to increase the amount that I can contribute to my IRA.

Regards,
FMO
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xmsr, mvl, vfinx, vfgrx, vfvax, baseball cards,
lots of luck.
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>Each type of investment takes a little bit of knowledge up front, some more than others (like real estate). Are there other things that you could become knowledgeable about and earn a decent return on? I'm thinking about things like collectibles, antique furniture or cars, etc.
>
Do NOT think antiques as a realistic long term investment!! 1) antique value is based on whim and fashion-of-the-moment, 2) like jewelry, antiques (even fleamarket 'finds') are very inflated in price, 3) selling antiques requires one to deeply discount inorder to get a dealer to buy it from you. If it is truly valuable you would need an appraisal by a certified professional and would likely have to sell it to a dealier (at a deep discount) who has the clients looking for that particular object.

If you like antiques, enjoy your antiques but don't think of them as 'investments'.
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Do NOT think antiques as a realistic long term investment!! 1) antique value is based on whim and fashion-of-the-moment, 2) like jewelry, antiques (even fleamarket 'finds') are very inflated in price, 3) selling antiques requires one to deeply discount inorder to get a dealer to buy it from you. If it is truly valuable you would need an appraisal by a certified professional and would likely have to sell it to a dealier (at a deep discount) who has the clients looking for that particular object.

If you like antiques, enjoy your antiques but don't think of them as 'investments'.


There was a similar thread on the REHP board regarding cars as an investment.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19436101&sort=whole#19443143

dt
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If you like antiques, enjoy your antiques but don't think of them as 'investments'.

The same is true of the paintings we own. At various times, they have been very valuable financially; other times, they're in the toilet. The main thing is to collect (or keep) only things you really love.

-- Anybody want several hundred matchbooks? My grandfather handed them down to me, and maybe they're valuable to the right person . . .

phantomdiver
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The same is true of the paintings we own. At various times, they have been very valuable financially; other times, they're in the toilet. The main thing is to collect (or keep) only things you really love.

Back in the days when we had more income, I used to get contacted by investment firms fairly often, suggesting I invest in this or that stock, mutual fund, etc. One day I got a call from a company (I think they were in Canada) that was promoting fine art as an investment vehicle. I was intrigued by the idea, and had them send me their packet. I never actually did anything about it, because I know enough to know I have absolutely no art sense.

My favorite piece of art, aside from the ones I've done myself, is a print that a friend of mine picked up at a yard sale for $1. I paid $261.51 to get it framed and matted with glass and cherry wood and it now hangs in my office. I still love it, but that's about my speed when it comes to "art" investment.

Anybody want several hundred matchbooks? My grandfather handed them down to me, and maybe they're valuable to the right person . . .

Heh heh... I think I mentioned my dad's collection of old, worn out coins. He actually bought them as an investment, I think for the silver content. They haven't appreciated at all. My mom's hanging onto them mainly because she doesn't need the money, and for sentimental value. I'm betting that one day my sister, brother and I will be divvying them up, and we'll probably just hang onto them, too. Who knows, maybe one day, thousands of years from now, each of our decendents will inherit one or two of them...

SS
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My favorite piece of art, aside from the ones I've done myself, is a print that a friend of mine picked up at a yard sale for $1. I paid $261.51 to get it framed and matted with glass and cherry wood and it now hangs in my office. I still love it, but that's about my speed when it comes to "art" investment.

When it comes to art, you should only have what you love, IMO. To you, that piece is clearly worth at least $263. But it is not a financial investment, and you aren't fooling yourself that it is. That's what your rental houses are for!

I married into the family of a third-rate Impressionist -- you guys here probably won't have heard of him. Fortunately, I like his art a lot. I often think how glad I am that I didn't marry into Jackson Pollock's family. :-)

phantomdiver
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I married into the family of a third-rate Impressionist -- you guys here probably won't have heard of him.

Who is he? I studied a ton of art in high school.

-tdx
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Who is he? I studied a ton of art in high school.

Frederick Frieseke. http://www.shiawasseearts.org/frieseke.html

Betcha never heard of him. If you have, I'll pay for coffee when we meet F2F! ;-)

phantomdiver
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Frederick Frieseke. http://www.shiawasseearts.org/frieseke.html

Betcha never heard of him. If you have, I'll pay for coffee when we meet F2F! ;-)

phantomdiver


let us know if you ever want to sell some of your art...

:-)
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xmsr, mvl, vfinx, vfgrx, vfvax, baseball cards,

Yep, baseball cards in mazske's portfolio as well. Of course, I don't ever figure to get anything for them, but you never know. It was a hobby as a kid and I've just held on to them.

Besides baseball cards, CSCO, MSFT, AOL, INTC, PFE, SGP, AMGN, JDSU, JNJ, NOK, QQQ, AXP, CRA, and SCON. Also, S and P 500 Index fund and Total Stock Market Index fund.

Hopefully, some real estate before too much longer.


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