Global marijuana stocks are expected to reach $63.5 billion by 2024, meaning that if you aren't already considering investing in cannabis, now might be an optimal time—particularly because people have never been more in need of the stress-relief that this product can provide.

Before investing, if you're a total beginner, you'll need to start building your investment portfolio. Apps like Robinhood can help you buy, sell, and monitor stocks in minutes, while sites like Vanguard provide more comprehensive options. Then you'll want to set aside an investment budget, which will look different for everyone. In general, you'll want to invest around 10 percent or less of your portfolio into individual stocks.

Here are five steps you need to take in order to invest successfully in the cannabis industry.

Understand the different types of marijuana stocks you can invest in

There are two main types of marijuana stocks you can invest in: medical and recreational. In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and can be prescribed by doctors. CBD is one of the more popular types of medical marijuana and has been proven to be an effective way of combating epilepsy, as well as several other rare diseases.

The other, riskier option is to go ahead and invest in recreational marijuana. 11 U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, but it's been legal in Canada since 2018.

Decide what type of product you want to invest in

If you're going to invest in marijuana, you have three main options. You might invest in a cannabis grower and retailer, such as Canopy Growth; you might invest in a cannabis biotech company like GW Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on developing cannabinoid drugs; or you might choose to invest in a company that creates products for cannabis growers.

Do your research on your company of choice

Now that you know a bit more about how to go about investing, it's time to do your research. Companies that can grow cannabis for a lower cost will be more competitive, and companies with international connections can be more reliable. It's also important to examine whether the company you're investing in is growing sustainably. Scroll through reports from the past few years to see which companies are strongest and most promising.

Money Done Right suggests that you break your research down into two parts:

  1. Fundamental analysis (which focuses on key information like quarterly profits and income)
  2. Technical analysis (which focuses on price performance and stock price patterns; this takes more effort and might require some outside help)

Regardless, you'll probably want to invest in a variety of cannabis companies. Apps like 420 Investor, Stash, and MarketWatch can help you keep track.

4. Know the risks

Cannabis is definitely a volatile industry. It remains federally illegal in the U.S., and though the industry is expanding, initial stocks have performed shakily. You may want to consider investing in medical marijuana products first before leaping into the recreational sphere.

5. Try out these companies

Despite the risks, some cannabis companies have performed better than others. Some of the best-reviewed marijuana stocks in April 2020 were:

Innovative Industrial Properties

This is a real estate investment trust that focuses on the medical cannabis industry. "A high-pedigree management team and strong business fundamentals helped IIPR raise $250 million in January despite the tight market," said Michael Underhill of Capital Investments in Wisconsin. "The stock's more than 25% year-to-date increase compares favorably to the -15% return of the North America Marijuana Index."

Curaleaf Holdings

This company operates in 12 states in the U.S., and it's America's only cannabis producer that works in the medical, recreational, cultivation, processing, and dispensary sectors. It has a "reported third quarter pro forma revenue of $129 million and adjusted EBITDA of $9 million."

Cronos Group

This Canadian-based investment group is dominating the international medical marijuana market. With a cash balance of CA$1.47 billion at the end of the third quarter, Cronos is growing fast.

Canopy Group

Canopy reported a $2.07 billion in cash equivalents in January. Plus, they now have a license to grow hemp in New York and have launched a massive cultivation facility. They also launched First & Free, an online company that sells hemp and CBD products, and they've partnered with Martha Stewart to sell their products.

Tilray

Tilray is another great option in the CBD sphere. The company acquired Manitoba Harvest, a stock worth $419 million Canadian dollars, in February 2019, allowing the company to spread its hemp distribution capabilities around the world.

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

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