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I get asked – usually several times a week – where there is “real” growth in any market. Now, usually, the person asking the question is looking for an alternative to an IRA, or even a 401(k), and, if I know a little of their personal finances, I can give them one of several answers.

It seemed like a good time to have that discussion in one of the monthly emails, so let’s get down the rabbit hole on it, shall we?

First of all, there is such a thing as “scale” when it comes to investing. Yes, I know “risk” plays a huge part, too, and that’s a conversation you’ll have to have with yourself, your family, or your significant other.

I can’t fix them, but I can share some places I see my savvy clients stashing money.

The first thing to remember is this: retirement accounts are all about long term growth. You’re not going to (or you shouldn’t) expect to double your money in a year or two. When you look off Wall Street, you see a different level of risk and reward.

My first example is cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and a host of other names are making a lot of news and more than a few millionaires nearly every day. Since the market is still shockingly new, there is a lot of money being made and not as many rules (per se) on what that “made” money does next. A “real world” example is this: Bitcoin nearly quintupled in the last year alone. If you took your maximum contribution for your company 401(k) this time last year and invested in Bitcoin, you’d have six figures now.

In reality, that’s kind of scary, because that sort of growth nearly always comes with a drop. And it will, and it has, but year over year, it seems to continue to grow at a far higher rate than most traditional stocks and mutual funds.

The next choice is rally on the opposite end of the spectrum – if crypto markets represent the newest ways to invest, the real estate might represent the oldest.

Yeah, the truth is, they’re not making any more land, and those who own it will, ultimately, make money. Now, obviously, two acres on a dirt road in Slapout, Alabama is probably never going to be worth what two acres in Manhattan will be, but real estate – invested with some due diligence – will almost inevitably grow in value. The downside? Will the costs of that real estate be worth it in the long run? With undeveloped property? Probably not. The key, at least with real estate, is to make sure it’s doing something. Improve it, build on it, rent it out, make it work. Two acres in Manhattan with offices or apartments can make you a very wealthy person. That same two acres in Alabama, with a long term lease and a Dollar General on it, can also make you money every year.

These are just a couple examples to get you thinking outside the box. Yes, there is value in a 401(k), an IRA, or a Roth, but there is also value when you put your money to work elsewhere, too.

I’m always happy to have that conversation, especially if it’s about putting money to work in a more creative way that can pay off big time.

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