Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Flip-Flop Asset Allocation Method
Do you put all of your money into some safe CD’s to earn interest, or buy a biotech index fund to grab the next big move in genomic cancer drugs; or something in between? The world of investment options and strategies grows every year, so I’ll provide a simple tactic to boost your returns over the course of your investing career. The flip-flop method refers to taking the income from an income-producing investment and flipping that profit into a speculative investment. Then, take the profit from that speculative investment and flop the profit back into another income-producing investment. By doing this back and forth you are capturing both ends of the investment spectrum to increase your portfolio in a quicker and safer manner than either one individually. Always start with a relatively safe income investment first. This way, if your first speculative investment is a 100% loss, you’ll still have the income from your income-producing investment to recover and try again. And, you’ll hopefully have the added education that you will have learned from the speculative loss. (Starting with a solid income-generating base can also give you the confidence to reach for a more speculative trade.) Once you are able to complete a speculative profit, put the money into a brand-new income-producing investment. This way, each speculative gain will diversify your portfolio into a wider range of income-producing investments. Once that you have created a stable base of investment income, you should start ratcheting up the interest rate that you are willing to accept for new income investments. For example, you may have started out with a 3-year bank certificate of deposit but now you need to get a higher yield, perhaps by buying an income-generating mutual fund. There are funds of preferred stocks, loan portfolios, and exchange-traded real estate investment trusts. Moving even higher in yield may require some online searching to find people trying to sell their second mortgages, annuities, pension payments, etc. There are websites where people list financial assets like these for sale. If you aren’t comfortable with your level of expertise for buying mortgages yet, you can start with only $100 with loan-broker websites such as prosper.com. So you’ve got some income flowing and are itching to find a speculative deal to step up your investing level. Let’s start as small as possible: How about buying things at garage sales and selling them for more money on ebay? I found an ad for several hundred dollars of new printer cartridges for sale in a local classified ad. They were worth much more by selling them on ebay, even after shipping costs. I recommend you focus on your greatest interest (music, motorcycles, watches, or whatever) and find a market where to buy at low prices. And then add some value (refinish, update, add a bonus), and find a market to sell to the most frenzied fans. Bigger chunks of money are made on more expensive items, but you carry more risk if you don’t keep up to date with the market. Such as cars, boats, planes, homes, jewelry – objects that have a consistent and measurable marketplace to buy and sell them. For speculation with financial instruments, you need to go to the futures market to get the largest moves, and the most leverage. To keep from losing your home at the first “Locked-Limit” move against your position, options must be a part of each of your trades: either buy options alone, hedge a futures contract with an option, or use an option spread. When you’ve accrued bigger dollars to play with, you can speculate with land, commercial buildings, and businesses. In spite of the specific examples that I have provided, you need to find areas that interest you the most for investment vehicles for both income-producing investments and purely speculative deals. Remember to always start with an income-investment first, and then start flipping and flopping your profits between the income-investments and the speculative-investments. This type of asset allocation rebalancing will certainly add greater returns to your portfolio.