High-yield investments aren't impossible to find, and they aren't all scams. Particularly in today's economy, there are so many investment "bargains" to be had for the careful and insightful investor. Before you make any investment however, you should have an investment "budget". Since no investment is truly completely guaranteed, particularly in the high-yield markets, you should have a reasonably high risk-tolerance and not put yourself in a position where if worst came to worst, you simply could not afford to see your investment falter. The "Golden Rule" of investing is never invest money that you couldn't lose completely and still be financially solvent.
One of the safest potential high-return investment is insurance company annuities. Because insurance companies generally pay lower corporate taxes, they can usually offer a significantly higher rate of return on an annuity, particularly when you are getting it from a preferred insurance company. The insurance company in turn invests your money, and promises or guarantees a high yield. Not only are high-yield annuities safe with a 'known' return, many insurance companies actually pay out a return that exceeds the guaranteed yield.
Another potential high-yield investment is gold. As a tangible, liquid asset, gold will never lose all of it's value. In fact, it can be considered close to the only investment that you needn't worry about seeing completely evaporate. That's not to say it can't drop in value after you buy it, but it isn't likely to crash. As an investment, gold's market value tends to mirror economic uncertainty, meaning the more uncertain or unstable the world is, the higher gold tends to go. This is in part due to it's immutable nature. Gold is gold. There's no government backing it, it cannot be devalued through inflation or overprinting of currency, and no one loses tangible gold because of a bank failure or poor investment strategy. That said though, if you buy gold "on paper", you do face a bit more risk.
Because the stock markets around the world have been so badly battered over recent years, there are excellent high-return opportunities in more traditional markets. Many companies lost not just their high P/E ratios and high stock prices, but have actually fallen below their "real" value. Many stocks are now trading at values that are below what the company is worth in dividends, cash on hand, etc.
While high-yield investments certainly are available, finding them will be the most difficult part. It's certainly possible to find them by doing your own research, or investing in gold or annuities as above, but it may be more feasible to turn to a professional advisor or broker. Getting expert investment guidance from a professional may be even more important now that it was when markets where flying high. Back in those days, anyone could offer advice and it might have payed off. Today we are in a much different environment. High returns shouldn't necessarily equate with higher-than-necessary risk. Unless you're reasonably seasoned in finding and investing in higher-risk, higher-return investments, you should look to a professional.
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