Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top Investments for 2011

Watching the videos on YouTube, I see economists and financial experts of every stripe recommending the best places for investments. Even the people I actually pay attention to, like Peter Schiff and Gerald Celente, have their own recommendations. However, these recommendations are generally for people who have large amounts of cash to move around and invest in whatever market they choose. For most of us, our biggest investments are probably our 401K.

Because of this, I wanted to make my own investment list for the next year, which is focused on the things that can make your life better or a little easier if things start to get a little rocky in the months to come. Most people think of the dollars we earn as real wealth, but those dollars are simply a tool of exchange for the goods and services we need. If you think of the dollar in this way, it's easy to see how some of the items on this list really are good investments for the common man.

7. Tools and Supplies

You would be surprised at how many people don't keep a basic set of tools in there home for everyday problems like loose screws, loose nails or squeaky hinges. You don't have to be a handy man to make use of a screw driver or a hammer when things start falling apart. This also includes things like duct tape, electrical tape, small nails and screws, and WD-40. This can also include different types of power tools but only if you plan to make regular use of them. Having a cordless electrical drill can make life more convenient but don't go out buying a table saw (I'm looking at you, men.)

6. Clothes

Neither should you use this one as an excuse to expand your wardrobe (I'm looking at you, women). Socks, underwear, shoes and things that everyone needs and that will eventually get worn out and need replacing. This can be problematic for small children who change size quickly but for teens and adults buying some extras of these shouldn't be a problem. If your work requires certain types of clothes (steel toed boots, polo shirts of a certain color, etc.) buying some now can save you money and hassle later if they need to be replaced at the last minute. Don't go overboard with this one, though, since most of our clothes are fairly durable and will last for some time even with wear and tear.

5. Firearms and Ammunition

People may think it falls in the realm of craziness and paranoia to be buying guns and ammo as an investment, but anyone who hunts on a regular basis can tell you why this is a good idea. When President Obama was running for office in 2008, everyone was concerned about his stance on gun control and with good reason. Obama had openly stated how opposed he was to guns on many occasions. When he was elected in November, every 2nd amendment loving American in the country went out in droves to buy up every gun and bullet they could find. And this was before he was even officially the president!

For months after, ammunition was scarce and the price of firearms and ammo went through the roof. In the end, Obama didn't have the support to impose his vision of gun control on the country and he certainly doesn't have it now with Republicans coming back into power. However, the effect he had on the price of weapons and ammo could easily be repeated if the economy begins to take a slide. If you're a hunter or someone who enjoys shooting, this is definitely a good investment for the near future.

4. Medical Supplies

You'd be surprised how quickly you can burn through medical supplies with even a minor injury. Short of a paper cut or a skinned knee, cuts and scrapes can require a lot of bandage replacement over the time it takes for them to heal. Fighting infection presents the same problem and a need for alcohol. Over the counter medications tend to have a good shelf life but be careful of prescription medications that don't last as long. Medical costs are expected to continue rising so stock what you can, but don't let good medicine (and money!) go to waste on items you won't be able to use before they expire.

I also have to advise against buying things that you don't know how to use. In the most extreme end of this, some people will try to get prescriptions for antibiotics for the purpose of storing them or IV bags in case of a serious medical emergency. Antibiotics are not a universal cure and require knowing exactly what kind of infection you're dealing with in order to administer the right medication. IV bags don't have long shelf lives and unless you've been trained on how to administer an IV, you could end up doing more harm than good.

3. Toiletries

Anyone who has ever had to do without for an extended period of time will tell you that it's the simple things that can make a horrible situation bearable. Toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, feminine hygiene products. These are all items we tend to take for granted until we don't need them. This list also extends to things like toothbrushes, hair brushes and nail clippers. These things can wear out over time or simply get lost and broken. Best to keep some extras on hand.

2. Energy and Fuel

This is another board topic and can cover everything from gasoline to batteries. With gas prices rising, I wouldn't say it's crazy to buy fuel now and keep a few cans stored in your garage. Yes, gas and diesel aren't stable and will breakdown in time but there are two solutions for this. One is a chemical called Stabil, which is mostly used for recreation boats that will sit on a dock for months without being used. The other is to use the fuel you buy when you need it and then refilling the gas can after. This way, you'll be using gas tomorrow while having paid for it today.

There are a lot of ways to try and save money on energy in the home. The best (and most expensive) is solar power, which is not an option for a lot of people. Instead, try purchasing light bulbs that are more energy efficient. Do the same with appliances but only if you actually need to replace a broken fridge or washer/dryer. If you use a lot of batteries, investing in a battery charger that can charge all batter types and a set of rechargeable batteries would be money well spent. You can also check here for a few more ideas on saving money on energy. 

1. Food and Water

If anyone tells you that the idea of storing food is dumb and paranoid, tell them to try living without it for a week. This is something that we all have to have in order to survive and history has shown us time and again how people will kill in order to get it. If you have some of your own tucked away, then you won't have to fight the crowds at the grocery store or deal with inflated food prices. The same goes for water. Storing a lot of bottled water can be cumbersome but having a water filter of some sort is also a good idea.

Don't sell yourself short on the food investment, either. Consider investing in a system to store food, like canning or dehydration. Think about what kinds of food will last the longest and which will spoil quickly if the power goes out. Salt, pepper and other things we add to our food tend to be taken for granted but higher food prices will affect them too.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to investing your money and buying the things you need is to take into consideration what works for you. Make sure you plan your purchases ahead of time and don't buy things that you aren't certain you're going to use later on. Spending money on things you'll end up throwing away is just as bad as wasting your money on the things you don't need.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely like the idea of this post. I've been watching every penny lately that I've stopped "stocking up". It's always a great idea to have water and food on hand, but I like the idea of having some other essentials as well.

    (Thanks for stopping by...I'm enjoying reading your posts!)