If a man is after money, he's money mad; if he keeps it, he's a capitalist; if he spends it, he's a playboy; if he doesn'tget it, he's a never-do-well; if he doesn't try to get it, he lacks ambition. If he gets it without working for it; he's a parasite; and if he accumulates it after a life time of hard work, people call him a fool who never got anything out of life.-- Vic Oliver
1. Commodities speculation. Commodities trading is the buying and selling of materials for future delivery. Unless you have the absolute conviction that everything you own belongs to God and can go to bed at night with the understanding that everything you have worked for most of your life can be lost while you sleep and the thought of that possibility is irrelevant to you with regard to your life and lifestyle, don’t trade commodities.
2. Partnerships. The most common financial partnerships are limited partnerships, meaning that the contractual arrangement specifies a general partner and one or more limited partners. The intent is to limit the liability of the limited partners to their financial investments only. But because of recaptured deferred taxes, seldom do investors recoup their initial investments in the length of time originally proposed, if ever.
3. Tax shelters. Tax shelters are used primarily to defer income taxes, rather than for any economic value they might have. Since the 1986 Tax Reform Act, tax shelters for the average investor have been curtailed. Generally, the only people who can be profitable in tax shelter investments are those who have a large amount of passive income, rather than earned income. So, for the average American worker, tax shelters are not recommended.
4. Precious metals. Most people who make any money at all on precious metals are those who sell them. Unless you have a lot of money that you don’t mind losing, don’t invest in precious metals. Investing in precious metals is like taking a handful of money and throwing it into the wind and then hoping that some of it will eventually return to you, along with more money that others have thrown to the wind.
5. Gemstones. The diamond on your finger is not an investment; it’s a keepsake. Most novice gem speculators usually buy high and sell low. Gem investing is for those who have nerves of steel, the strong at heart, and the rich. Seldom do investors make any money in gems, unless they are one of a small group of international gem professionals of gem collectors.
6. Collectibles. Coins, stamps, books, porcelain, works of art, and other unique items can be good investments for knowledgeable buyers who take the time and effort to become proficient at their trade or for those who collect such items as a hobby or for leisure. However, for the average non-professional collectibles investor, the market is extremely limited and slow moving—neither worth the time nor the effort when compared to the limited financial rewards.
7. Stocks. Although the knowledgeable, professional investors can and do make money regularly on common stock, average investors are not equipped to accurately speculate on which stock will do well and which will not. If the average investor would invest in a common stock, leave it for 10 years, and not touch it, it probably would keep up with inflation and perhaps even gain 3 or 4 percent. But seldom do average investors do that. They generally try to move their investments from stock to stock in order to reap the maximum benefits. Since they are not professionals and their knowledge is limited, most end up making little and, in many cases, losing their initial investment.
Although we are not qualified to give professional investment advice, we can present information that suggests what have been the best and worst investment options, based on past performance. We are not suggesting that you invest in the best and avoid the worst. We only propose that you consider these findings (along with prayer and seeking counsel from a trusted investment professional) before you make your investment decisions.
This article does not presume to give investment advice. Based on past performance, it merely points out and draws attention to what investments over the years have been most likely to produce financial gains and those that have been mostly likely to produce financial disappointments or losses. Although past performance does not necessarily guarantee the same showing for the future, it does provide a standard by which nonprofessional investors can judge whether an investment is historically financially safe or detrimental. So, based on the fact that these best and worst investments are not intended to be used as guidelines for developing investment strategies but, rather, are to be viewed as investment suggestions based on past performance, we submit the following investment options.