31 Lessons from 31 Years – The Best Interest

Let’s get the lame stuff out of the way. I turn 31 on Monday. Yippee!

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Last year, I wrote about the amazing growth that can occur in a single decade. Here’s that article: A Lot Can Change in Ten Years.

But for this 31st birthday, I went back and considered 31 valuable lessons that coincide with each year of my life. Some are specific to personal finance and investing, while others are general. Here we go…

1) It’s Tough Being Helpless

I, like you, was a helpless little butterball. Thankfully, human parents make huge sacrifices to help their helpless kids (thanks mom and dad!). Thank your parents 🙂

But that courtesy ends at some point. Eventually, you’ve got to learn to help yourself.

2) Be Nice to Bigger Fish

I was the youngest of three boys. If I didn’t play nice with my brothers, I might get shoved down in the snow.

The same thing happens in adulthood, but the shove and the snow look a little different.

3) Eat Cake!

There’s a photo of my 2nd (or maybe 3rd) birthday where I’m eating sour cream coffee cake. It’s still my favorite dessert.

Not the same picture I was thinking of. But I’ve always been a cake fan (left)…

Life is better with cake. Or whatever your version of cake might be. If we can’t eat cake, then what’s this all about?

4) Play Games

Some of my earliest memories at home involve playing games—rummy, Parcheesi, Magic: The Gathering—with my parents or brothers.

Turns out that real life, too, involves a little bit of math, strategy, luck, skill, politics, memory, pattern recognition, etc.

Games are more than just games.

5) Some People Want to Watch the World Burn

In kindergarten, Eric (still one of my best friends) and I built a sick tower out of foam blocks. And then Robert came over with zero hesitation and kicked the tower.

Our creation was strewn about the carpeted floor. Our 12 minutes of work turned to rubble,

Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

The world has no shortage of Roberts. Good lesson to learn early.

6) Helping is Fun

1st-grade involved forays into arithmetic. It came easily to me. P.S. 6-year olds don’t “outwork” other 6-years olds to get good at multiplication…it’s just the luck of the draw.

But I also learned in first grade that I liked helping people understand their multiplication.

Helping people is fun.

7) Don’t Compound Your Negatives

Embarrassed about I-don’t-remember-what, I threw a kickball (in anger!) at my gym teacher when she tried to console me. Sorry Mrs. Markowski!

Teachers, it turns out, disapprove of students hurling kickballs at them. I compounded one small negative with a much larger one.

Don’t let your negatives compound.

8) Failure Happens

I was a good student, so getting a C on a math test in 3rd-grade was devastating. I did not have the tools to deal with (what I deemed) a massive failure.

It’s a good lesson to learn early. It’s certainly a lesson you’ll learn often. Failure happens. Dealing with failure is an amazing skill. I’m still practicing.

9) Some Things Aren’t Worth Learning

In the 1990s (and maybe still today), New York’s 4th-graders spend a month of Social Studies lessons learning about the architectural aspects of Iroquois longhouses.

Anthropology is important. Understanding other cultures is vital.

But I shudder when comparing the millions of people-hours (not an exaggeration) spent on Iroquois longhouses versus the utility of that knowledge in our lives today. Thatched roofs aren’t that important.


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10) The Eye of the Beholder

During one of Mr. Gill’s entertaining 5th-grade science lessons, I yawned right in front of him. To me, it was a simple, innocent yawn. I was tired!

But when I saw Mr. Gill’s reaction, I immediately knew I had done something wrong. I paused, retraced my previous five seconds, and realized,

“Oh no. Oh no. Mr. Gill interpreted my yawn as disrespect. That I was openly and rudely signaling boredom.”

I quickly apologized and assured him I meant no harm. And thankfully, he saw my sincerity.

What an amazing lesson. Intentions matter, but so does the way our intentions are interpreted. And sincere apologies matter too.

11) Black Swans

Mr. Leone’s 6th-grade social studies classroom. That’s where I was when we turned on the TV to see the Twin Towers fall on September 11, 2001. Where were you?

Some events are unforeseen, unpredictable, and yet have colossal consequences. These are black swans.

12) First Impressions are Just Impressions

We had a new kid at school who was so cool. Within a couple days, he felt like an old friend.

And within a month, he turned out to be a real dick. Oops.

First impressions can fool you.

13) Strict is OK

Our 8th-grade math teacher—Mrs. Sweet—had a reputation for being strict. Yes, reader, it is ironic that Mrs. Sweet did not have a sweet reputation.

But she was the best math teacher I ever had. Learning algebra from her was so easy. Maybe because we were all scared to death about goofing off.

Hey, it worked! Strict = structure, and many humans need structure.

14) We Live Different Stories

In 9th-grade English, one of my classmates got into an argument with the teacher. He (the student) was sent to the principal’s office for punishment. Instead of complying, he opened up the classroom window, hopped out, and walked to the local diner.

At the time, I could never imagine doing this. But that’s because he and I lived different lives.

To him, the point of school—this lesson, this assignment, this discipline—wasn’t worth understanding. Looking back now, I get it. I understand (at least a little bit) his point of view.

Different lives, different lenses. Same world, different perceptions.

15) Work > Talent

I played basketball my entire childhood. I felt I was a shoo-in to be a starting guard on the junior-varsity basketball team in my freshman year.

15 of the Fattest NBA Players of All-Time | HOUSE OF HEAT

Nope.

While my skills were there, I was chubby and slow. Even for small-school JV basketball, I didn’t have the athleticism to make an impact on the court. I was a liability.

That summer, I worked on my game and pushed to get faster. A ~4-inch growth spurt helped too.

As a sophomore, I started at point guard on our varsity team.

16) You Control the Pace

Basketball was great fun, but I was most at home on the pitching mound in baseball. And all good pitchers know this lesson (thanks, Dad!):

The pitcher controls the pace of the game.

If you feel rushed, step off the mound and re-group. If you’re in flow, then get set and force the batter to step up to the plate. Nobody can push you to go faster or slower than you want to.

Life doesn’t always allow you to control the pace. But it usually does, and it’s your life. Don’t let other people set your pace for you.

17) Once in a Lifetime

Despite my basketball and baseball stories, Red Creek was a soccer school. We had a Hall of Fame coach and great players, winning three New York state titles in 4 years around my graduation.

I didn’t play during my junior and senior years. Why? Because I would have sat on the bench all season. I spent my autumn working on basketball and baseball instead.

But I missed opportunities to hang out with friends, play for a great coach, and sit through rainy Fall nights on hard aluminum benches, watching my teammates push towards a state title.

In retrospect, I should have played. I missed that once in a lifetime chance.

Instead, I got a life lesson: take advantage of your precious opportunities.

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18) The Wide World

Leaving little Red Creek to head to the “big” city of Rochester and the truly international University of Rochester was a life-changing choice.

Go see the world!

19) Life is Delicate

January 2010: In our intramural basketball championship game, I watched my teammate Jeff soar through the air and throw down an NBA-style putback dunk.

January 2011: Jeff got in a fight at a fraternity house, was stabbed in the chest, stumbled outside, and died in the delicate Rochester snow.

Life, too, is delicate.

20) Just Try It

At the end of my sophomore year at Rochester, I picked up a squash racket for the first time. Now 12 years later, I’m still playing squash 3-4 times a week.

Trying new things can change your life.

21) Message vs. Messenger

Great content from a good teacher is a home run. We all know that. A good teacher can also turn bad content into a useful lesson.

But a bad teacher can turn good content into a dull lesson. You might miss important lessons because the teacher was bad (not the lesson itself).

It’s all-too-easy to confuse the messenger for the message. The better you are at separating the two, the more you’ll learn.

22) “Holding Onto Anger…”

Chang Mia Buddha Statue

“…is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” –Buddha.

Thanks, Buddha. Great point. Have I mentioned my sports background? My competitive nature has led to plenty of on-court anger. I’m still faulty, still trying to improve.

And 99.9% of the time, I’ve been burning myself.

23) Tough Conversations are Tough (But Vital)

When I look at my failed relationships—platonic or romantic—one common denominator is my hesitation (or inability) to have “tough” conversations.

My alternative usually involves a form of bottle-’til-you-burst. That bottling-up of emotions is much, much worse than having the tough conversation in the first place.

24) Know When to Quit

I quit studying plasma physics in grad school because it was too complex for my Newtonian monkey brain. I quit my Ph.D. program because the publish-or-perish lifestyle didn’t interest me. I quit two jobs that weren’t working out.

Quitting is hard. You might regret it (but probably not). If your gut and brain both think it’s right, then it’s probably right.

25) So Many Fish, So Much Noise

The sheer number of people in the world still catches me off-guard. So many experts. So many opinions. So many thought-leaders and pundits.

My biggest hesitancy behind the Best Interest is the nagging question, “Am I just another armchair expert who is adding more noise than signal?”

I continue this work because I believe I’m providing signal, and you readers frequently say as much. But it’s an important lesson nonetheless. In this chaotic global ocean, we should all strive to output more signal, less noise.

26) Surround Yourself With Smart People

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

“If you’re the smartest person in the room…then find a different room.”

This is so cliché. But it’s also true. Two quick anecdotes.

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  1. I work with a bunch of satellite engineers. Learning from smart people is fun.
  2. I’m proud of the way my friend groups have succeeded in life, and I absolutely attribute it to our ability to inspire one another and grow with one another.

27) “This is Water”

No description here. Just an amazing video that helps me during quarter-life crises.

I highly recommend you listen to it during you next media-consumption session.

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28) There’s Not Enough Time

We’d all love to have 30-hour days. Same sleep schedule, but give me six (or more) extra daytime hours.

But that’s fantasy land. In this world, we’ve got to make life work with only 24 hours a day. That means we have to “kill our darlings” or say no to things that we enjoy.

My two cents? Develop a bimodal mindset.

29) Write More

Self-bias here. Writing makes you better.

Whether it’s journaling, a diary, a blog, a book, a newsletter, an email to your friends…writing is good for you.

30) Be Nice. Give Compliments.

I am far from a social maven. But I do have “this one trick!” that I lean on. Socializing is easy when I use it and hard when I don’t.

The trick is 1) be nice and 2) give compliments. The trick-within-the-trick is that you have to be genuinely nice and give genuine compliments. Don’t bullshit people. They’ll know.

If people associate you with positivity, happiness, kindness, generosity, etc…then the world will open up for you.

31) Listen to Your Partner

Kelly knew that I’d enjoy fostering dogs before I knew it. I pushed back against the idea. And now, of course, I love having dogs in our house.

Kelly was right. I should have listened. I’ll be better!

Those puppies! That shirt!

Thanks for reading, guys. I’ll probably turn this into podcast form, too (check out the Best Interest Podcast!).

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more, I’d suggest checking out my Archive or Subscribing to get future articles emailed to your inbox.

This article—just like every other—is supported by readers like you.

Source: bestinterest.blog

Are Millennials Equipped for Retirement?

My buddy Fiona, a.k.a The Millennial Money Woman, is a financial ninja and a fellow dog lover! She graduated college debt-free by working 50-plus hour weeks (on top of her regular class and study work) and earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning. She bought her first house at 23, co-founded a local non-profit charity, and is now helping others take control of their financial lives to achieve financial freedom early in life!

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Are you a millennial and wondering if you’re equipped for retirement?

Well so am I!

If you were born between 1981 to 1996, then you would be classified as a Millennial. The coming of age for a Millennial has not been easy. 

Over the past few decades, Millennials have experienced:

What makes matters worse, is that the 2008 Great Recession interfered when most Millennials entered the workforce and the COVID-19 pandemic occurred during most Millennials’ prime earning years. 

With those events in mind, it comes as no surprise that Millennial investors are pessimistic about the future. 

But – there is good news!

Millennials are not easily deterred from their retirement goal.

In fact, studies suggest that the majority of Millennials have a plan for their retirement, with a whopping 75% of Millennials stating they work with a financial advisor, as of 2020.

Image: The Millennial Money Woman | Source: PR Newswire

Because more Millennials are working with financial planners, they are building better – and customized – strategies to prepare against outliving and outspending their savings and investments. 

In fact, the average Millennial has saved about $166,430 in retirement accounts.

Image: The Millennial Money Woman | Source: Grow

To help put this number in perspective, take a look at some findings from a Forbes article, which points out that the average retirement savings for families between 50 and 55 is $124,831.

Comparatively speaking, Millennials aren’t doing so bad.

In fact, studies suggest that Millennials are saving earlier for retirement, starting in their 20s, than previous generations, who waited to save for retirement until their 30s. 

However, there still remains much ambiguity as it relates to the Millennial retirement. 

Specifically, Millennials are concerned about outliving their savings and the dwindling Social Security trust fund. According to a recent AARP article, the COVID-19 pandemic has truncated the longevity of the Social Security trust’s assets, which is now expected to be depleted by 2030. 

While Social Security benefits will likely change drastically by the time Millennials hit full retirement age (which currently is age 65), there may still be hope that some version of Social Security benefits is still available to those who are in dire need.

Crafting a financial plan for Millennials so they don’t run out of money is an art rather than a straightforward formula. 

So what do Millennials have to do today to ensure a better retirement?

Let’s take a look.


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How to Save More for Retirement

Before we dive into the strategies on how to save (and invest) more for retirement, first let’s take a look at how much you should be saving for retirement. 

Typically, it is recommended to save between 10% to 15% of your pre-tax (so your total) annual salary for retirement. 

Image: The Millennial Money Woman

Then again… you know what they say about average rules…

…Average rules are for average people.

If you’re a Millennial who is looking to achieve some of the following “above average” milestones:

  • Early retirement
  • Financial independence
  • A luxury lifestyle during retirement

…Then it’s probably a good idea to practice “above average” habits. 

My goal is to crack the million-dollar marker by age 30, and although I’m well on my way, I know I have to keep pushing to make this goal a reality.

As a result, I’m saving and investing just over 70% of my gross annual income since I graduated university and started my first full-time job. 

The earlier you start investing, the more likely you’ll achieve your financial goals.

If you want to be above average, then you could aim to save (and invest) at least 30% to 50% of your gross annual income

Below are some tricks I’ve implemented to prepare myself for my retirement. 

1. Find a Roommate

What’s the largest chunk of change you pay every month?

For me, it’s my rent, utility, electricity, etc.

One easy way to save money fast is by finding a roommate. Ideally, roommates will pay up to 50% of your basic living costs.

Before you actually invite a roommate into your home, you’ll likely want to do some of the following precautionary steps first:

  • Interview several roommate candidates 
  • Vet your roommate (by calling references)
  • Prepare and sign a roommate agreement contract

Make sure you’re 100% comfortable with your roommate before allowing them to move into your place.

It’s much easier to move them in than requesting them to move out.

2. Find a Side Hustle

Saving money has its limits. 

Earning money, however, is unlimited.

So, if you’re struggling to save more, then why not consider starting a side hustle so that you can earn a few extra $100 or $1,000 every month?

An extra $100 every month translates to:

  • $1,200 every year
  • $12,000 every 10 years

Who wouldn’t want an extra $1,200 every year? 

The sweet thing is that you don’t just have to earn money the traditional 9 to 5 employment route. 

You can earn money by monetizing your social media account or you can earn money by learning affiliate marketing. 

The point is, there is so much potential to make more money – you just have to find your niche, put some time and energy into your work, and be consistent with your efforts.

You’ll see results. 

3. Pay off High-Interest Debt

The Millennial generation has the fastest-growing debt out of any other generation. 

In fact, the average Millennial consumer has about $27,251 of debt – not including mortgage debt.

Image: The Millennial Money Woman | Source: CNBC

If you’re a millennial who is looking to retire early – or simply retire – then one of your first steps should be paying off high-interest debt, like credit card debt.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban puts his own spin on credit card debt, when he says:

“If you use a credit card, you don’t want to be rich.” – Mark Cuban

While credit cards are sometimes a necessary evil to build credit for major purchases like a home or a car, the point is that you should pay off credit card debt ASAP.

Otherwise, you are robbing your future self. 

4. Use a Low-Cost Investing Platform

While the debt burden for Millennials has seen a generally increasing trend, evidence also suggests that the majority of Millennials practice healthy investing habits.

In fact, 88% of Millennials invest their money.

The Millennial Money Woman | Source: PR Newswire

Regardless if you are investing $5 or $500, the point is to start practicing healthy investment habits early.

Especially as a millennial, time is on your side. The best time to invest is while you’re young.

This means the earlier you invest, the higher the chances that you build long-term future wealth.

Closing Thoughts

The last year has brought many unexpected and unprecedented changes to the world as we know it.

And this means Millennials will have faced multiple headwinds as they embarked on their journeys to retirement:

  • The global pandemic 
  • The 2008 Great Recession 
  • The burden of student debt

On the bright side, there are strategies that Millennials can take today to prepare for a healthy retirement. 

Remember: that preparation won’t be a walk in the park.

It’s going to take:

  • Patience
  • Dedication
  • Consistent action

The key is not to become discouraged if you don’t see immediate success. And chances are, you probably won’t see immediate success. Growing your net worth will take decades.

Focus on the big picture, and remember that consistent action will bring results. 

Your investment accounts will thank me later.

A huge thank you! to Fiona for writing this terrific article. If you want to check out more of her work, visit The Millennial Money Woman.

Check out more of The Best Interest’s content in our Archive or by Subscribing to get future articles emailed to your inbox.

And if you enjoy podcasts, check out The Best Interest Podcast! PS – Fiona was the guest on Episode 13!

Source: bestinterest.blog

7 Best Gold IRA Companies of 2021

Ever since the Financial Crisis of 2008, gold has become an increasingly popular investment choice. Many people see gold as safer than investing in the stock market, and it can be a good way to protect themselves against inflation.

gold bars

A gold individual retirement account (IRA) is a self-directed IRA, but instead of holding stocks or mutual funds, you invest in gold and other precious metals. Setting up a gold IRA can be confusing, and there are several steps you need to take.

One of the reasons for this is that you need to find a trustworthy company to handle your investment. Choosing the right gold IRA company is a crucial first step because picking the wrong one can cost you time and money.

7 Best Gold IRA Companies

If you’ve never bought gold before then you may be a little unsure of where to start. Listed below are seven of the top gold IRA companies you can consider.

Goldco

Goldco is a leading provider of gold IRAs and is known for providing excellent customer service. The company got its start in 2006, and since then, it has helped thousands of customers invest in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.

The company offers gold and silver IRAs and stores them in a third-party vault. You also have the option to buy precious metals from the company outright, and Goldco will either store them for you or deliver them to your home.

Patriot Gold Group

Patriot Gold Group is a gold IRA company that has been in business since 1990 and is a certified Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) company.

When you set up a gold IRA account, Patriot will work with your custodian and storage facility to facilitate the process. This setup process is fast and easy, and the company is known for its quick one-day turnaround.

Gold Alliance Capital

Gold Alliance Capital specializes in gold and other precious metals. The company can either help you set up a gold IRA or buy precious metals from the company outside of an IRA.

The company was founded in 2017, so it doesn’t have the same level of experience as some of the other companies on this list. Gold Alliance Capital also doesn’t have as many customer reviews. But the company has built a solid reputation and it provides free precious metals storage to all its customers.

APMEX

APMEX is the largest online precious metals dealer and offers more than 10,000 items. The company has been in business since 1999, and it helps customers set up gold IRAs and purchase precious metals for their own personal collection.

If you’re looking to set up a gold IRA, APMEX is a good option. The company has a huge variety of precious metals to choose from, and they will walk you through the process of funding your precious metals IRA. You can view the company’s IRS-approved precious metals directly on their website.

Lear Capital

Leap Capital has been a leader in the industry for over 20 years and has finalized over $3 billion in transactions. The company offers several benefits to its customers, including a no-fee buy-back program.

If you choose Lear Capital, the company will work hard to educate you on how to set up your gold IRA. The company provides tons of free information on its website, and all of its employees are knowledgeable about how the process works.

Birch Gold Group

Birch Gold Group has been serving customers since 2003. Birch helps individuals buy precious metals and set up gold IRAs. The company sells gold, silver, platinum, and palladium for personal storage or precious metals IRAs.

Birch Gold Group works hard to educate its customers on the benefits of investing in gold. And the company will ensure that your purchase meets the IRS’s guidelines for placement in a gold IRA.

Noble Gold Investments

Noble Gold Investments is a gold IRA company that is committed to customer education and transparency. You can buy gold or silver outright or purchase them with the intent of opening a gold IRA account.

One of the advantages of opening a gold IRA with Noble Gold Investments is the low minimum investment amount. The company requires a minimum investment of $2,000, while other gold IRA companies require minimum investments from $5,000 to $25,000.

Things to Look for in a Gold IRA Company

Choosing the best gold IRA company is crucial for protecting your investment and making the most of your time and money. But it’s hard to know what you should be looking for if you’ve never bought gold before.

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to listen to your gut and choose the company you believe will be the best fit for your goals. But here are a few things to look for in a gold IRA company:

  • Setup charges, storage fees, and annual fees: When choosing a gold IRA custodian, one of the first things to consider is whether they charge a flat-rate or sliding scale fee. You’ll also need to know how much the setup fee, storage fee, and the annual fee is. All of these fees can increase the cost of opening and owning a gold IRA.
  • Company license: Anyone can set up a website and call themselves a legitimate business, so you’ll need to do a little extra digging. Check to ensure that the company is licensed before doing business with them.
  • Length in business: Just because a company is new doesn’t necessarily mean you should exclude them as a possibility. But more time in business does mean that the company has helped more customers, so it’s worth considering.
  • Customer reviews: It’s always helpful to see how other customers rate their experience with a particular company. Check the Better Business Bureau or Business Consumer Alliance to see what kind of customer service rating the company has and any complaints lodged against it. A Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating lower than a B is generally a cause for concern.
  • Reputation: And finally, when searching for the best gold IRA company, you need to know about their reputation in the industry. Are they known for customer education and transparency? If not, then you may want to stay away.

FAQs About Gold IRAs

What is a gold IRA?

A gold IRA is an Individual Retirement Account that holds gold coins, gold bars, and gold bullion. In many ways, a gold IRA is similar to a Roth IRA, only it is self-directed, and you will own the physical assets held in your account.

Are precious metal IRAs a good idea?

There are conflicting opinions on this topic, but precious metals are generally considered a solid investment since it tends to move in the opposite direction of the stock market. That means that if the market is dropping, your precious metals IRA will still be doing well. A precious metal IRA can help you diversify your portfolio.

Can I store my gold at home?

No, unfortunately, home storage is not an option. The IRS actually has strict guidelines about where your physical gold and other precious metals can be stored. They must be stored in an approved, third-party facility.

Can a gold IRA hold other precious metals?

Yes, a gold IRA can also hold silver, platinum, or palladium. According to IRS guidelines, the precious metals must meet a certain purity standard in order to be held in a precious metals IRA. Here are the purity standards for each precious metal:

  • Gold: At least 99.5% pure or higher
  • Silver: At least 99.9% pure or higher
  • Platinum: At least 99.95% pure or higher
  • Palladium: At least 99.95% pure or higher

How much does it cost to get started?

The upfront cost will depend on the gold IRA company you end up choosing. Most gold IRA companies will have a minimum required investment, and some investments can be quite high.

You’ll also need to consider storage fees and custodian fees. Make sure you ask many questions when evaluating different companies and keep an eye out for any hidden fees.

Can I choose a gold IRA rollover?

Yes, a gold IRA rollover is how many new investors get started. A self-directed IRA custodian can help you do a rollover or transfer your existing traditional IRA or 401(k) into a gold IRA.

Final Thoughts

Opening a gold IRA can be a good way to diversify your portfolio outside of the stock market and protect yourself from inflation. However, the process of opening a gold IRA can be tricky, so you want to choose the right gold IRA company to assist you during this process.

The seven gold IRA companies outlined in this article could all be good options as you’re getting started. Making sure you consider all your options, ask lots of questions, and choose the gold IRA company you believe will be the best fit for your gold investment goals.

Source: crediful.com

AcreTrader Review: Investing in Farmland

Key Takeaways

  • AcreTrader charges a flat fee of 0.75% per year
  • AcreTrader works by letting you buy income-producing shares of a working farm.
  • You must be an accredited investor to use AcreTrader, so it’s not available to the average Joe. 
  • Shares last for 10-15 years, and right now, there’s not really a way to liquidate your money before that time.
  • There’s a lot to like about farmland investing and there hasn’t really been a good way for non-experts to invest in it until now. 

Investing in real estate has always been a strong way to grow your wealth if you know what you’re doing. There are also a lot of ways to toss your hat in the ring with real estate investing, and one of them has remained mysterious and alluring to many people: farmland investing. 

It’s a great way to diversify your portfolio with an investment that’s a lot different from anything else you might have, and that has a lot of desirable qualities. But there’s one problem: evaluating good farmland is a rare skill most of us don’t have, and it takes a huge amount of money. 

Until recently, that is: a new company called AcreTrader offers a platform where you can invest in farmland real estate with absolutely no knowledge and at a fraction of its traditional price. AcreTrader offers a uniquely new way to invest, but it’s not for everyone. We’ll help you figure out if it’s worth looking into further in this review.

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About The Company

AcreTrader is a relatively new company, having been founded by a small team of agriculturally- and financially-inclined investment professionals in 2018. AcreTrader is modeled a bit after other popular fintech investing apps in that it lets you choose your investment in bite-sized chunks. Except in this case, those investments are actual whole farms that the AcreTrader team individually vets and chooses. 

Each individual piece of farmland is put in its own LLC so that it’s separate from AcreTrader. Thus, if AcreTrader ever goes under, your investments will still keep chugging along. AcreTrader then offers shares of those pieces of farmland, with each share being 1/10 of an acre (i.e., if you bought 10 shares, you’d own one whole acre). 

AcreTrader also operates its own real estate brokerage to purchase the properties. The AcreTrader team also acts as a property manager by working with the farmers who it rents the land out to, and handling all of the business details and payments. 

It then passes the money back to you in the form of one cash payment every December. Farms are also sold after five to 10 years, and at this point, you’ll receive your initial investment back at a (hopefully) appreciated rate. Thus, you’ll earn money in two ways: through annual payments, and from appreciation on the property at the end of the contract. 

How AcreTrader Works

Once you’ve created an account and linked your bank, you’re free to start buying shares of farmland. If you’re used to the oodles of investment options available with other investment platforms, though, you might be a bit disappointed by the offerings. 

There’s typically only one farm you can invest in at any one time, with a new one becoming available every 1-2 weeks. Since AcreTrader manages everything in house, it takes time, after all. In fact, AcreTrader has only offered 39 properties for investing since it began. 

Each listing will tell you a brief description of the farm including what’s grown on it and where it is, along with what the gross cash yield and net annual return is expected to be. There’s also an investment minimum with each property, which as of this writing ranges from $15,200 to $36,375 for recent properties. That’s a lot of money, but it’s a lot less than the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars it typically takes to buy a whole farm.

The listing also tells you the anticipated ownership duration. AcreTrader doesn’t plan on keeping the properties indefinitely; it will sell them at some point in the future (usually within five to 20 years), depending on market conditions. 

This means you need to be in it for the long haul, because while AcreTrader is working on a marketplace where you can buy and sell your shares, there’s no easy way to liquidate your investment right now. In other words, don’t bet the farm on it. Make sure you’re still diversified, and that you have plenty of money left in your emergency savings first.  

Unique Features

AcreTrader is a lot different than any other investing platform you’ve probably seen, and here’s why:

  • You can invest in farmland: Investing platforms let you invest in a lot of things: stocks, bonds, index funds, mutual funds, rental real estate, precious metals, and more. But until now, you really couldn’t invest in farmland very easily outside of a mutual fund without becoming a dedicated agricultural investor. 
  • You can choose the individual farms: AcreTrader adds a bit of novelty in by letting you choose the individual properties you want to invest in. So if you’ve got a hankering for corn, apples, soybeans, or something else, this could be a fun way to invest. 
  • You’re in it for the long haul: Shares of farms can’t be sold through AcreTrader currently, unlike with a lot of other investing choices you might have. This is not a liquid investment, and you’ll need to take that into account.

Who AcreTrader Is Best For?

Anyone can create an account on AcreTrader, but in order to actually invest through it, you’ll need to be an accredited investor. That means you’ll need a net worth of at least $1 million (not counting your primary home) or an annual income of $200,000 or more ($300,000 if you’re married). AcreTrader says it’s working on expanding who can invest, but for now, only high-profile investors can use the platform. 

Since you can’t really sell your shares until AcreTrader decides it’s the right time, it’s also better for people who are looking for a long-term investment and who don’t mind handing over control of the sale date to someone else. 

Finally, AcreTrader might be a good choice for you if you’re looking to diversify your portfolio into a unique type of investment that offers better-than-average returns when compared to bonds, but without a lot of volatility: more on that below. 

AcreTrader vs. Other Real Estate Investing Competitors 

AcreTrader is only one of a few new companies that have started up recently in the crowdsourced farmland investing space. Here are a couple of its direct competitors, along with how it compares:

AcreTrader FarmTogether FarmFundr
Accredited investors only? Yes Yes Yes
Investment Minimums $10,000 – $25,000 $10,000 $10,000 – $100,000
Investment Type Farmland real estate Farmland real estate Farmland real estate
Fees 0.75% Varies by deal, but one recent deal was listed at 2.00% of the total deal amount, plus an annual management fee of 1.50% Varies by deal, but one recent deal listed an “annual sponsor fee” of 1.50%
Expected Returns NAR of 5% – 12.2% IRR of 7.1% – 12.1% Also varies, but one recent project calculated an expected annual average ROI of 13.33%

What To Know About Investing in Farmland

Investing in farmland real estate is not the same thing as your traditional residential real estate deals that you might be more familiar with. After all, the global population is only going up while the amount of available farmland is currently going down, and this gives farmland a unique set of characteristics compared with other types of real estate. 

As an asset class, it’s about as volatile as bonds, while also outperforming them. It’s even outperformed the S&P 500 at key times, such as when the stock market as a whole is going down. In fact, farmland has only had one quarter of negative returns in the past 22 years, and even that was just a -0.01% drop.

The Bottom Line

AcreTrader offers a relatively new way to invest in farmland real estate, and there are a lot of advantages to adding it to your investing mix. But it’s definitely not right for everyone. Right now, only accredited investors are eligible, and even then, your investment is basically as illiquid as you can get for the time being. Since it’s such a new company, it also doesn’t have a proven track record by which to judge it.

That said, AcreTrader offers a lot of promise for making farmland real estate investing more attainable for the average person. It’s just not quite there yet. 

AcreTrader FAQs

About the Author

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Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance writer living in Kirkland, WA. She has been a professional dogsled racer, a wildlife researcher, and a participant in the National Spelling Bee. She writes for websites like Credit Karma, LendingTree, The Balance, and more. In her spare time she enjoys fitness, craft beer, reading, and outdoor adventures. Follow her on Twitter @FiSciLindsay.

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