Guestpost by By Jan Večerka
Let’s imagine it’s the day before your payday. You check your bank account and discover that you still have 100 euros to spare (Hallelujah!). Although you think about that concert you wanted to go to or that jacket that is really in for this winter, you decide to do the right thing this time: You will invest it.
Every beginning is hard, but that doesn’t mean you should give up and run to get that jacket right away. First, you need to find out the different options of investment you have and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each. You should also ask yourself: Are you more of a risk-taker, or are you looking for a safe investment that will give you a guaranteed return?
There are some distinct differences between stocks, cryptocurrencies, and the real estate market. To help you decide, this article will give you a detailed look at the different ways of creating money out of thin air (or 100 euros) and how you can start small and aim high.
1. Stocks of companies
Stocks are an investment in a company and its profits, also called shares, and you can get them through a brokerage account.
Let’s say you spent all 2020 reading about Robinhood on Reddit. Probably suffering from severe FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), you even decided to invest a few euros using their app to see what all that fuzz was about. Finally, let’s imagine that last July 28th, when Robinhood went public, you had those 100 euros to spare, and you decided to buy three of their shares at 33 euros each. By October 27th, your stocks were worth 30 euros, after a plunge of 10% due to the company reporting a sharp loss of revenue in the third quarter. You lost money, but you are not alone. According to the Your Money CNBC report, the vast majority of professional money managers – about 85% – underperform their benchmarks over a multiyear period.
- You can access the market as a small investor.
- You can get more leverage than with other investment options.
- It’s a very volatile market because it’s influenced by monetary policies, industry changes, and national/global events (such as, for example, the pandemic).
- It’s a gamble because the company you invested in could do well…or could go downhill. In the last case, you would lose money.
[Jonathan: It is indeed very important to understand what you are investing in and not to be led by your emotions when investing! I do not agree with the gamble unless you really pick random stocks following the “hot picks” of the moment.]
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services purchased through a “wallet” or digital app. Although Bitcoin and Ethereum are probably the most popular, there are more than 13,000 cryptos nowadays, some with very weird names like PancakeSwap, TurtleCoin…or Shibacock.
Let’s talk about crypto: Do you remember a few months ago, when Ellon Musk tweeted that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment and caused a drop of 15% in the price? Only to drop it even more, to its lowest level since February, just by responding “indeed” to a tweet?
Ok, so let’s say you decide to spend your 100 euros on crypto called Baby Squid Game (this is real), at 0.0000049 euros each. Cheap! Now imagine that the day after, Elon Musk tweets that Squid Game is the worst show he’s ever seen and that he’s going to produce a new show called Octopus Game, financed with new crypto called Baby Octopus Game. Your crypto sinks to 0.0000025 euros. You lost half of your money.
- You can earn much more than with other options (and faster).
- You never know if the crypto price is high or low… It’s a gamble.
- Speculation is the name of the game in this market, which makes it very volatile.
- Until now, the spending of your cryptocurrency gains is limited to a few products and luxury markets.
- Elon Musk tweets.
[Jonathan: There are more serious alternatives in the space like Solana, Ethereum,.. but it remains speculative and volatile for sure]
3. Crowdfunding in the entrepreneurial area
Crowdfunding in private business is for people that have an entrepreneurial interest in the industry and want to become equity shareholders. It is a risky move, as around 90% of startup companies funded don’t make it to the initial public offering (IPO). If this number didn’t scare you enough, here you have 30 startups that lost millions of investors’ money.
However, it doesn’t always go wrong: Oculus VR, an American company specializing in virtual reality hardware and software products, was funded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised 2.4 million euros, ten times the original goal of 250,000. In March 2014, Facebook, Inc. acquired Oculus VR for 1.9 billion euros in cash and stock. Not bad!
So, let’s say you decide to invest 100 euros in a startup that wants to make a new and faster Covid-19 test. If the pandemic persists and gets worse, and the startup succeeds, you will see your money multiplied in a few years. But if, as the entire humanity hopes, vaccination rolls out and the pandemic becomes history by the end of next year, that startup will become a part of that 90% that fails… And you will lose your money.
Fun fact: In 2014, Zach Brown, a software engineer from Ohio, started a Kickstarter campaign to make potato salad. Although his goal was reaching 10 dollars (about 8,6 euros), the prank went viral, and he ended up raising more than 47,000 euros from 6,911 backers. In return, he promised commemorative t-shirts, hats, and a cookbook. He also committed to “say your name out loud while making the potato salad,” and, to 3,330 of the contributors, he promised to give “a bite of the potato salad.”
- If the startup you invested in succeeds, you could be holding a share of the next Oculus VR.
- It’s a very high-risk investment, as 9 of 10 startups fail.
- It takes time to see results.
- It is an illiquid investment, as it is more difficult to sell.
- When the startup fails, there is usually no payout, so you lose your money.
4. Crowdfunding in real estate
Real estate crowdfunding is a group of investors combining their capital to fund a real estate project organized by an online platform. For example, a developer wants to build a new apartment building at a cost of 10 million euros. A bank might provide the developer with a loan for only 6 million euros. The remaining 4 million euros is available as an investment to a larger group of investors, with a lower minimum amount to invest – sometimes as low as 100 euros.
Now, let’s imagine you decide to invest your 100 euros in that apartment building. Suppose you do it as an equity investor (jargon alert!). In that case, you will own a proportional share of the real estate project, and your returns will be based on the property rental income and changes in the value of the property project. It’s just like owning a little piece of the building. Now, if you do it as a lending investor, you will lend your money to the real estate project owner and earn the interest.
So, for example, the building gets rented to McDonald’s. As an equity investor, you get a part of that rental income. Instead of lending the money to build it, you will get your euros back plus the interests. And maybe burgers.
- It’s a tangible investment, so it’s less risky than lending money to an entrepreneurial idea, buying shares, or crypto.
- There is no gambling: You either invest money and get it back with interest or become the company’s shareholder that owns the property project.
- It’s more stable, which is better for calculating your interest.
- Real estate crowdfunding has the potential to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 33.4% until 2028. The EU real estate crowdfunding market size is currently at approximately 7 billion euros, and with that growth rate, it would be 93.65 billion euros in 2028. Juicy, right?
- It is not a liquid investment, so if you change your mind and want to buy that jacket instead…you might have to wait until next winter. However, some platforms offer secondary trading, allowing you to sell your investments earlier.
- It is a new market with many platforms, making it difficult for a new user to get oriented. Luckily, some aggregators make the process way simpler.
The best way of selecting the right real estate investment is by comparing them among each other based on basic criteria such as risk, location, type of building, and how much money you have to invest. It is not the same to invest in a hotel in the Maldives that needs a loan of 80% of the property value as investing in a student residence in Berlin that will be rented at 5,000 euros a month.
Online investment platforms, which connect investors and property owners, give you this information. However, the all process becomes easier with an aggregator such as Brikkapp, which partners with platforms and overviews all of them. These are some of the benefits:
- You just need to register once to see all the platforms and invest directly.
- Tax statements are just one with all incomes.
- You can invest in multiple platforms just in one dashboard.
- They make comparisons to help you make a better decision.
- They provide risk scoring.
- They bring support to users.
- They minimize risk as they focus on markets that they understand and give you options where they can ensure you get your money back.
- Overall, they make it easier on new users, as real estate crowdfunding can be confusing if you are a newbie.
So, what should you do with your 100 euros? You could very well invest them in stocks, crypto, or a startup. But, as we’ve seen, it’s a risky business (and no, it doesn’t involve Tom Cruise), so you have to be ready to make big bucks or lose it all.
The safest, most predictable option is real estate crowdfunding. With 100 euros, you can invest in projects here and there and learn how it works. Maybe the following month you can invest another 100 euros and so on, building up your portfolio and waiting for those returns to arrive! Because, like John Stuart Mill said, “landlords grow rich in their sleep” (literally THE dream!).
Whatever decision you end up making, let me tell you one thing: The only investor who loses is the one waiting too long or not investing at all, as the appetite is high right now. So go for it!
About the Author
I would like to thank Jan once again for helping us invest our 100 EUR in the best way possible. One option that was not mentioned was index investing. You can invest your 100 EUR in simple index funds that track the global stock market. This is a relatively low-risk investment that offers an excellent return (7-8% if you invest in the S&P500, based on historical figures). To know more, you can listen to the interview with Jesse Cramer that explains it quite clearly.
But I understand Jan is more biased towards Real Estate Crowdfunding 😁, which is an option I personally follow as well through platforms such as Reinvest24 for instance (also present on Brikkapp). And now Brikkapp makes it even easier to navigate the options!
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