8 Best Investments for 2024 | The Motley Fool (2024)

Why should you invest?

Investing can be the smartest financial move you make. Although you might earn a steady paycheck from working, investing can put your hard-earned money to work for you. A wisely crafted investment portfolio can help you build tremendous wealth over time that you can use for your retirement, to send your kids to college, or for any of your other financial goals.

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However, while it's fairly common knowledge that investing is a good move, there's also the question of what you should invest in, which is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at some of the most popular investment vehicles.

We'll discuss the pros and cons of each and examine whether they might fit into your ideal investment strategy. We'll also look at some of the things you probably shouldn't invest in.

What to invest in right now

What to invest in right now

Starting investing can be rather intimidating, and one of the biggest reasons is that many people don't know what they can invest in or how to get started. So, here are some of the most common ways to invest money.

1. Stocks

1. Stocks

Almost everyone should own stocks or stock-based investments like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds (more on those in a bit). Stocks have consistently proven to be the best way for the average person to build wealth over the long term.

U.S. stocks have delivered better returns than bonds, savings accounts, precious metals, and most other investment types over the past four decades. Stocks have outperformed most investment classes over almost every 10-year period in the past century and have averaged annual returns of 9% to 10% over long periods of time.

To put returns like this into perspective, a $10,000 investment compounded at 10% for 30 years would grow to nearly $175,000. Why have U.S. stocks been such great investments? Because, as a stockholder, you own a business.

For example, if you own shares of Apple (AAPL 0.02%), Alphabet's (GOOG 1.06%)(GOOGL 1.08%) Google, or Amazon (AMZN 0.58%) stock, you legally own part of the company. And as that business grows bigger and more profitable, along with the economy, you own a more valuable business.

As legendary investor Warren Buffett puts it, investing in U.S. stocks is a bet on American business, and this has been an excellent bet for more than two centuries. Some stocks also pay dividends, which can make them solid investment options for people looking for income from their investment portfolio.

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Dividend Income

Dividend income is defined by the IRS as any distribution of an entity's property to its shareholders.

2. ETFs

2. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

If you're worried about researching and selecting individual stocks, an alternative is to invest (either exclusively or partially) in ETFs and/or mutual funds. For example, if you invest in an S&P 500 index fund, your money will be spread out among the 500 companies that make up the index. So, if any one of them were to fail, it wouldn't be devastating.

3. Mutual funds

3. Mutual funds

Mutual funds are similar to ETFs. They pool investors' money and use it to accumulate a portfolio of stocks or other investments. The biggest difference is that ETFs trade on major stock exchanges, and you can buy shares whenever the stock market is open. Mutual funds only price their shares once a day and aren't nearly as liquid.

4. Bonds

4. Bonds

Over the long term, growing wealth is the most important step. But once you've built that wealth and gotten closer to reaching your financial goal, bonds -- which are loans to a company or government -- can help you stay there.

There are three main kinds of bonds:

  • Corporate bonds issued by companies
  • Municipal bonds issued by state and local governments
  • Treasury notes, bonds, and bills issued by the U.S. government

You can buy individual bonds through most major brokers, but for most investors, the best way to go is to buy ETFs and mutual funds that invest in bonds on your behalf.

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5. High-yield savings accounts

5. High-yield savings accounts

Savings accounts offered by branch-based banks are notorious for paying minuscule interest rates. However, some excellent banks, primarily based online, offer very competitive rates -- to the point that they can be considered investment-worthy in many cases.

6. CDs

6. Certificates of deposit (CDs)

Many reputable banks offer some excellent high-yield certificates of deposit (CDs) that pay guaranteed yields for anywhere from a few months to five years or more. Unlike savings accounts, CDs can allow you to lock in a specific yield for a set period.

7. Real estate

7. Real estate

Like owning great companies, owning real estate can be a wonderful way to build wealth. In most recessionary periods throughout history, commercial real estate has been countercyclical to recessions. It's often viewed as a safer, more stable investment than stocks.

There are ways for people at almost every financial level to invest in and make money from real estate. The most obvious is to buy a rental property, which can be a great way to build wealth and create an income stream -- but it isn't the best fit for everyone.

Fortunately, there are alternative ways to invest in real estate, many of which are much more passive than actually becoming a landlord, such as real estate investment trusts (REITs).

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Passive Income

There are many ways to build wealth, and passive income is a simple one. Learn all about passive income and how you can start building wealth today.

Publicly traded REITs are the most accessible way to invest in real estate. REITs trade on stock market exchanges just like other public companies. Here are some examples:

  • American Tower (AMT -0.22%) owns and manages communications sites, primarily cell phone towers.
  • Public Storage (PSA 0.57%) owns almost 3,000 self-storage properties in the U.S. and Europe.
  • AvalonBay Communities (AVB 0.42%) is one of the largest apartment and multifamily residential property owners in the U.S.

REITs are excellent investments for income since they don't pay corporate taxes as long as they pay out at least 90% of net income in dividends.

8. Cryptocurrencies

8. Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a relatively new form of investment vehicle. Popular examples include Bitcoin (BTC 0.08%) and Ethereum (ETH 1.05%). If you have knowledge of cryptocurrencies, they can be incorporated into a diversified investment portfolio.

Your investing approach

No investment approach works for everyone. So, to figure out the best way for you to invest your hard-earned money, here are some things to think about:

Your risk tolerance

Stocks are not risk-free investments by any definition. Even the most stable companies' stocks can fluctuate dramatically over short periods of time. Over the past 50 years, the S&P 500 has declined by as much as 37% in a single year and has risen by as much as 38%.

On the other hand, bonds and other fixed-income investments don't have as much long-term return potential as stocks. Nonetheless, they make up for it with a lack of volatility.

Generally speaking, stocks, stock-based ETFs, and mutual funds are most appropriate for people who won't need their money anytime soon. On the other hand, fixed-income investments are best suited for investors whose primary goal is preserving their capital.

Time horizon

If you have a kid heading off to college in a year or two, or if you're retiring in a few years, your goal should no longer be maximizing growth. It should be protecting your capital. It's time to shift the money you'll need in the next several years out of stocks and into bonds and cash.

If your goals are still years away, you can hedge against volatility by doing nothing. Even through some of the worst market crashes in history, stocks have delivered incredible returns for investors who bought and held.

Investment amount

If you have $500 to invest, you can certainly still get started. But your approach will likely be significantly different, and your options will be somewhat limited compared to an investor with $100,000 to get started.

As an example, if you want to buy a rental property, you'll need enough money for a down payment. If you want to put money in a high-yield CD, some of the best options have minimum investment requirements.

Knowledge level

Investing in individual stocks can be a great way to build wealth -- if you have the time and knowledge to do it right. If you don't, there's absolutely nothing wrong with investing in ETFs or mutual funds to get exposure to the stock market.

In short, some types of investments require more knowledge than others. If you want to become a successful stock market or real estate investor, one of the best investments you can make is to accumulate as much knowledge as you can before you put any money at risk.

What should I invest in?

So, what should I invest in?

To be perfectly clear, every investor is different. There's no rule of thumb that works for everyone. However, for most people, the answer is a portfolio that combines stocks (or stock-based ETFs and mutual funds) and fixed-income investments like bonds and CDs.

One popular asset allocation guideline financial planners use is to subtract your age from 110 to determine the approximate percentage of your portfolio that should be in stocks. For example, according to this rule, a 40-year-old should have roughly 70% of their money invested in stocks.

Types of investment accounts

What type of investment account should you use?

Just as owning the right investments will help you reach your financial goals, where you invest can be just as important. Many people, especially newer investors, don't consider the tax consequences of their investments, which can leave you short of your financial goals.

Simply put, a little tax planning can go a long way. Here are some examples of different kinds of accounts you may want to use on your investing journey:

Types of investment accounts. Table by author.
Investing Account TypeAccount FeaturesNeed to Know
401(k)Pre-tax contributions reduce taxes today. Potential employer-matching contributions.Distributions in retirement are taxed as regular income. Penalties for early withdrawal. $22,500 employee contribution limit in 2023.
SEP IRA/Solo 401(k)Pre-tax contributions reduce taxes today. Higher contribution limits than IRAs.Distributions in retirement are taxed as regular income. Penalties for early withdrawal. $66,000 total contribution limit in 2023.
Traditional IRAAbility to roll over 401(k) from former employers. Contribute retirement savings above 401(k) contributions.Distributions in retirement are taxed as regular income. Penalties for early withdrawal. $6,500 contribution limit in 2023.
Roth IRADistributions are tax-free in retirement, withdraw contributions penalty-free.Contributions are not pre-tax.Penalties for early withdrawal of gains. $6,500 contribution limit in 2023.
Taxable brokerageContribute any amount to your account without tax consequences (or benefits). Withdraw money at any time.Taxes are based on realized events (even if you don't withdraw proceeds). In other words, you may owe taxes on realized capital gains, dividends, and taxable distributions.
Coverdell Education Savings AccountMore control over investment choices. Withdrawals for qualified education expenses are tax-free.$2,000 annual contribution limit; further limits based on income.Taxes and penalties for nonqualified withdrawals.
529 College SavingsWithdrawals for qualified education expenses. Very high contribution limits.More complicated, varying by state. Fewer investment choices. Taxes and penalties for nonqualified withdrawals.

The biggest takeaway here is that you should choose the appropriate kind of account based on what you're investing for. For instance:

  • 401(k): For employed retirement savers
  • SEP IRA/Solo 401(k): For self-employed retirement savers
  • Traditional IRA: For retirement savers
  • Roth IRA: For retirement savers
  • Taxable brokerage: For savers with additional cash to invest beyond retirement/college savings account needs or limits
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account: For college savers
  • 529 College Savings: For college savers

Related investing topics

How to Invest in Stocks: A Beginner's Guide for Getting StartedAre you ready to jump into the stock market? We've got you.
How to Invest in Index Funds in 2024Index funds track a particular index and can be a good way to invest. Get a fast introduction to index funds here.
How to Invest in Bonds: A Beginner's Guide to Buying BondsBonds are often considered a "safe" investment, but are they right for you?
What Is Ethical Investing?Interested in promoting good corporate behavior with your investment dollars? Consider this tactic.

Investing FAQs

Investing FAQs

Where should I invest my money?

There are several different types of investments that will help you get started. You can open a standard brokerage account to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. Or you can open a retirement account, like an individual retirement account (IRA), to invest in those things, which could give you some big tax advantages.

If you prefer a hands-off approach, you can open an account with a robo-advisor that automatically creates an appropriate portfolio for you. Or you could choose alternative investments, such as real estate.

What should I do with $500 to invest?

If you're starting with $500 or a similar amount, you have some good choices. You could use a robo-advisor to start an automated investment account and add to it periodically. With more brokers offering fractional share investing, you can even create a diverse portfolio of individual stocks with a $500 initial investment.

What should I really invest in?

This depends on your particular goals, risk tolerance, and available capital. For example, there's a solid argument to be made that buying simple is the best investment for most people. Yet, there's also an argument to be made in favor of individual stocks for investors with the time and desire to research their investment choices.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Matt Frankel has positions in Amazon and Public Storage. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Amazon, American Tower, Apple, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. The Motley Fool recommends AvalonBay Communities and recommends the following options: long January 2026 $180 calls on American Tower and short January 2026 $185 calls on American Tower. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

8 Best Investments for 2024 | The Motley Fool (2024)


8 Best Investments for 2024 | The Motley Fool? ›

Imagine you wish to amass $3000 monthly from your investments, amounting to $36,000 annually. If you park your funds in a savings account offering a 2% annual interest rate, you'd need to inject roughly $1.8 million into the account.

Which are the best stocks to invest in 2024? ›

Best Growth Stocks In India
  • Lloyds Metals & Energy.
  • Adani Green Energy.
  • TVS Motor.
  • Axis Bank.
  • HDFC Bank.
  • Infosys.
  • Jindal Steel & Power.
  • Tube Investments of India.

How to invest $100,000 for quick return? ›

6 approaches and strategies to invest $100,000
  1. Park your cash in an interest-bearing savings account.
  2. Max out contributions to retirement accounts.
  3. Invest in ETFs.
  4. Buy bonds.
  5. Consider alternative investments.
  6. Invest in real estate.
May 16, 2024

How much money do I need to invest to make $3,000 a month? ›

Imagine you wish to amass $3000 monthly from your investments, amounting to $36,000 annually. If you park your funds in a savings account offering a 2% annual interest rate, you'd need to inject roughly $1.8 million into the account.

Which are the best stocks for next 5 years? ›

Top 10 Stocks to Buy for Long Term
  • Reliance Industries Limited. Tata Consultancy Services. ...
  • Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) ...
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) ...
  • Infosys Limited. ...
  • HDFC Bank. ...
  • ITC Limited. ...
  • Hindustan Unilever Limited. ...
  • Asian Paints.
May 30, 2024

What are the hottest stocks right now? ›

Most Actives
SymbolNamePrice (Intraday)
GMEGameStop Corp.46.55
NIONIO Inc.4.9100
TSLATesla, Inc.177.94
NVDANVIDIA Corporation1,209.98
21 more rows

How to turn 100k into 1 million? ›

4 Ways To Grow $100,000 Into $1 Million for Retirement Savings
  1. An S&P 500 index fund. An S&P 500 index fund isn't going to provide market-beating returns, but it will ensure that you don't fall behind the average. ...
  2. Growth stocks. ...
  3. Dividend stocks. ...
  4. Small-cap value stocks.
Mar 1, 2024

Can you turn 50K into a million? ›

A $50,000 windfall could really get you started securing your financial future. With time and some smart financial planning, you could create financial stability for yourself and your family — and could even turn your money into a million dollars by making some really basic investments.

How to double $2000 dollars in 24 hours? ›

The Best Ways To Double Money In 24 Hours
  1. Flip Stuff For Profit. ...
  2. Start A Retail Arbitrage Business. ...
  3. Invest In Real Estate. ...
  4. Play Games For Money. ...
  5. Invest In Dividend Stocks & ETFs. ...
  6. Use Crypto Interest Accounts. ...
  7. Start A Side Hustle. ...
  8. Invest In Your 401(k)
May 24, 2024

How much money do I need to invest to make $4000 a month? ›

Making $4,000 a month based on your investments alone is not a small feat. For example, if you have an investment or combination of investments with a 9.5% yield, you would have to invest $500,000 or more potentially. This is a high amount, but could almost guarantee you a $4,000 monthly dividend income.

Should a 70 year old invest? ›

Conventional wisdom holds that when you hit your 70s, you should adjust your investment portfolio so it leans heavily toward low-risk bonds and cash accounts and away from higher-risk stocks and mutual funds. That strategy still has merit, according to many financial advisors.

How can I double 100k? ›

The classic approach of doubling your money involves investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds and is probably the one that applies to most investors. Investing to double your money can be done safely over several years but there's more of a risk of losing most or all of your money if you're impatient.

Can I live off interest on a million dollars? ›

Once you have $1 million in assets, you can look seriously at living entirely off the returns of a portfolio. After all, the S&P 500 alone averages 10% returns per year. Setting aside taxes and down-year investment portfolio management, a $1 million index fund could provide $100,000 annually.

How much money do I need to invest to make $500 a month? ›

Some experts recommend withdrawing 4% each year from your retirement accounts. To generate $500 a month, you might need to build your investments to $150,000. Taking out 4% each year would amount to $6,000, which comes to $500 a month.

How much do I need to invest to make $1,000 a month? ›

A stock portfolio focused on dividends can generate $1,000 per month or more in perpetual passive income, Mircea Iosif wrote on Medium. “For example, at a 4% dividend yield, you would need a portfolio worth $300,000.

What are the top 10 stocks to buy? ›

Overview of the top long-term stocks in India as per market capitalisation
  • Reliance Industries. ...
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) ...
  • HDFC Bank. ...
  • ICICI Bank. ...
  • Infosys. ...
  • Hindustan Unilever. ...
  • Bajaj Finance. ...
  • Larsen & Toubro.

Which stocks are going to boom? ›

growth stocks for future
S.No.NameCMP Rs.
2.Tuticorin Alkali82.95
3.Tips Industries409.95
4.Jyoti Resins1339.95
5.Sat Industries91.34
23 more rows

Which stock has highest return in last 5 years? ›

Highest returns in 5 year
S.No.NameCMP Rs.
1.Authum Invest1057.25
2.Diamond Power868.20
3.Waaree Renewab.2283.80
4.Patanjali Foods1401.20
23 more rows

Which is the best share to buy under $100? ›

stocks under 100
S.No.NameCMP Rs.
1.IDFC First Bank77.70
2.Equitas Sma. Fin97.25
3.RattanIndia Ent76.35
4.Ujjivan Small49.60
23 more rows


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