Is collecting an idea that has crossed your mind or something you're already into?
We're not talking back issues of GQ or seashells from your last few trips to the beach, but highly valuable items that one day, even tomorrow, could be worth an impressive amount. You may already have a collection growing, or today is day one. No matter where you're at on the collecting curve, if you are into any of these five items, you're on to something. Your hobby could become your retirement fund… and then some!
Comic books can be a gold mineunsplash.com
Turn funny into money by rummaging through your collection of old comic books. The action may be over, but the pages are precious. Rare and vintage comic books can be worth a pretty penny as per Go Banking Rates. "A 1938 copy of Action Comics #1 sold last year for nearly $1 million at a public auction, according to Heritage Auctions." Naturally, not every comic book will yield such a high payout, but it's worth weeding through your childhood favorites to see if any have significant value. Go Banking Rates adds, "Comics with classic covers or first appearances are typically more marketable." If you want to get an estimate of what one of your books may be going for, visit Comics Price Guide for more information.
Your family's heirlooms could be surprisingly valuable unsplash.com
Before you donate Granny's creaky old rocking chair to Goodwill, consider keeping it, and any other chairs, tables, cabinets, and chests she may want to pass down, for that matter. According to Huffington Post, antique furniture could be worth a fortune, and you could literally be sitting on a pile of dough. "Furniture that was once considered classic such as china hutches and roll top desks have fallen out of favor. For collectors and wealth investors, however, there are still major pieces of antique furniture in the market." Need proof? "The Badminton Cabinet built in England in the 18th century fetched $36 million at a Christie's auction in 2004, making it the most expensive piece of antique furniture ever sold." Sadly, your future great-grandkids are not going to appreciate your IKEA bookshelves.
Watches have long been considered a valuable investment unsplash.com
Nowadays, watches are worn more for fashion than function being that we all carry around a smartphone 24/7. But for those who enjoy a fine watch or timepiece, collecting them could mean watching your savings account numbers soar. According to Huffington Post, "Christie's and Sotheby's reported selling half a dozen watches for more than $2 million apiece between June 2012 and June 2013. The most expensive watch ever sold at auction was the Henry Graves "supercomplication" watch by Patek Philippe, which sold for $11 million at a Sotheby's auction." Swiss watches are in the highest demand, so hone in on those if you're serious about scoring big one day. Only time will tell…
Have a stamp collection? Consider keeping it! pixabay.com
These days, stamps could be more relevant than ever. With "snail mail" edging closer and closer to becoming obsolete, stamps will likely one day be a collector's item only. But we're talking about older, rarer stamps that are worth keeping stored safely to prevent deterioration. According to Go Banking Rates, "Stamps are among collectibles that are gaining value. Take, for example, the 'Inverted Jenny' stamp. Only 100 of them exist, according to CNN Money, and one that was valued at $1.6 million was auctioned off last May." A collection could be more valuable than a single stamp, though. "If your collection is organized, it will likely sell for more money," advises Go Banking Rates. Will your collection get the stamp of approval?
Many different vintages hold their value well over time unsplash.com
You may be tempted to drink your cab or pinot with dinner tonight but save those rarer bottles in your cellar and pop open a can of beer instead. Vino can be valuable, and your bottles may bring in big bucks. According to Huffington Post, "While the wine sub-index increased only by 3% last year, it increased by 182% over the decade ending in mid-2013." But which wines are the best to collect? Huffington Post claims, "By far, most investment-grade wine comes from the Bordeaux region of France. However, it was a wine from Burgundy that set a new record. Twelve bottles of 1978 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti were sold for $476,280 at a Christie's auction." For tips on collecting investment-grade wine, read Money Crashers' guide to buying bottles with promise for a payout. Cheers to a wine windfall!
Do you have a collection? Are you in it for fun or fortune?
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 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.
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.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.