College is usually more about spending money than making money. Between the costs of tuition and housing, the price of food and fun, students often leave college in debt. However, higher learning doesn’t have to be a one way street of spending; college also brings the opportunity to invest.
Investing money isn’t always easy, particularly for people fresh out of high school who are novices at balancing a checkbook. But, luckily, for those who are serious, potentially lucrative opportunities do exist: you just need to know where to look.
According to the Illinois Institute of Technology, investment opportunities in college can include the following:
Business Investments: If you find a concept or idea you believe in, investing in an up-and-coming business can be lucrative (if only we could all go back to 2004 and invest in Facebook).
Stocks and Bonds: While stocks allow you to share ownership in a company or a business, bonds allow you to invest in loans obtained by a company or government. Both trade stocks and bonds can be invested over the Internet and accessed 24 hours a day.
Real Estate: Not many college students can go around buying up hotels and condominiums, but they may be able to purchase a house, condo, or apartment in the town where their school is located. For example, if you attend college in Boulder, Colorado, buying a condo, living there during your college years, and then selling it upon graduation can net you a large profit. Most college towns are hot markets, markets that are often favorable to sellers.
Commodities: Commodities such as gold, silver, and coffee are also good investment opportunities. These can be invested in through future markets, exchange trade funds, stocks, mutual funds, and future contracts.
Insured Bank Money Market Accounts: Per the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), these types of investments involve accounts that offer higher interest rates (when compared to savings accounts) and provide check-writing privileges.
Investing isn’t something that should be rushed into rashly, and it’s not for everyone. These are a few things to consider before investing:
Have enough money to invest: You don’t need to be rich to invest, but you also shouldn’t be forgoing your mortgage or other bills in order to try investing.
Join an investment club: If there is an investment club on your college campus, consider joining; if there isn’t, consider starting one. An investment club gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded people and trade hot tips, advice, and support.
Invest in a variety of areas: The old saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” holds true in the world of investment. If you invest all your money in similar industries, you are setting yourself up for financial losses in the event that market crashes. Instead, spread your money around and invest in a variety of industries.
Ask for help: When it comes to your finances, you might not have all the answers. Consider asking for advice and assistance from parents, relatives, and financial planners.
Watch for Scams: According to CNN, the top ten investor scams are Ponzi (pyramid) schemes; unlicensed securities dealers; unregistered investment products; promissory notes; investment scams that target the elderly; extremely high-yield investments; internet fraud; schemes that target a particular race, religion, or ethnicity; variable annuity sales; and oil and gas scams.
While there are legitimate investing opportunities, not everyone is honest: remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Sandra George is a recent college grad and beginning investor. She is eager to begin developing long-term portfolio diversity, and recently visited www.usemeraldenergy.com/investing-in-oil-and-gas to learn more about joint venture and direct partnership oil well investing.