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Risk vs Reward: Investing in Guaranteed vs Non-Guaranteed Returns

Investing in a certificate or money market account, crypto, and stocks are options that offer the potential to earn returns on your capital. However, they all have distinct differences and features which can affect the type of return you receive on your investment. In this blog post, we will explore how investing in each can differ.

What is a money market account?
A money market account is a type of bank account designed to offer higher interest rates than a regular savings account. With this type of account, you deposit funds into the bank and they will then use your money to invest in short-term securities and pay you the accrued interest each month. Money market accounts are one of several effective ways to grow your nest egg over time!

Money Market Accounts are more secure than investments in crypto as they are NCUA-insured, meaning that your funds are guaranteed up to a certain amount by the federal government in case of a bank failure.

How money market accounts work.
Money market accounts are generally interest-bearing deposit accounts with higher yields than those offered by traditional savings accounts. The amount of interest you earn depends on the account’s interest rate, the amount of money you deposit into the account, and how often you make deposits. Most accounts also have minimum balance requirements.

Advantages of money market accounts.
The main advantage of money market accounts is the higher interest rate they offer compared to traditional savings accounts. The rate varies from bank to bank, but it’s usually higher than the average rate of return on other types of investments. Money market accounts also tend to have fewer fees than regular savings accounts since they require a larger minimum balance, usually around $2500 or more to open.

Unlike certificates, which require you to keep your funds locked away for a certain period of time, you can withdraw your money from a money market account whenever you need it.

What are savings certificates and how do they work?
Certificates offer an NCUA-insured investment vehicle for people with extra funds who want to save and make a return on their money without involving the stock market. They require an initial fixed amount of money to be put in for a certain period, ranging from 6 months to 5 years, and pay a higher interest rate than a regular savings account.

The benefits of investing in a certificate.
Investing in a certificate (or certificate of deposit) can be a smart financial decision for anyone looking to get the most out of their money. Certificates are an attractive option because they pay higher interest rates than many other savings vehicles, providing good returns over time. From short-term certificates that mature after just a few months or up to several years with long-term investments, you're in full control of when your certificate matures, allowing you to plan accordingly. Best of all, investing in certificates is safe and secure; backed by the U.S. government, your certificate’s principal investment is insured, which makes it one of the safest options available to investors. Now that we have a better understanding of certificates and money market accounts, let's take a look at how they differ from investing in crypto and stocks.

Overview of crypto assets.
Crypto are digital assets that are powered by blockchain technology, meaning that all transactions using these tokens will be securely recorded and stored in a distributed ledger. Crypto assets come in many forms, from Bitcoin and Ethereum to tokens designed for specific use cases. Most cryptos offer the potential of strong returns due to their volatility, but that also means there is a high risk of loss associated with them.

Crypto and digital assets.
Crypto and digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others have been popular investments over time. Let's talk about how they are traded and what their pros and cons are.

How to trade crypto and digital assets.
Crypto and digital assets are traded on online exchanges that use blockchain technology to facilitate secure transactions. Blockchain is a distributed ledger system that allows for the secure sending and receiving of digital assets without the need for intermediaries. It also provides a permanent record of all transactions, making it virtually impossible for anyone to tamper with them. For you to trade these assets, you will need an account on one of the crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase.

What are the pros and cons of crypto?
Pros of investing in the crypto market and other digital assets include:

  • Low transaction costs - Crypto trades incur lower fees than traditional investments.
  • High returns - Some crypto assets have shown potential for high returns on investment.
  • Potential for diversification – The variety of crypto assets available can help create a more balanced portfolio.

Cons of investing in crypto and digital assets include:

  • Volatility - Digital tokens in crypto markets can be volatile assets, making it difficult to predict their future prices.
  • Security risks - Trading crypto on online exchanges carries the risk of potential hacks or theft from malicious actors.
  • Lack of investor protection - Cryptocurrency investments are usually not covered by government-backed deposit insurance schemes.

Stocks and other publicly traded companies.
Stocks and other publicly traded companies are securities that represent ownership in a company, giving you the right to receive dividends or vote on corporate matters, when applicable, but also exposing you to potential losses if the company doesn't perform well.

What is a stock and how are they traded?
A stock is a type of security that represents ownership in a publicly traded company. When you buy shares in a company, you become one of many owners and have a say in the company's operations and decisions.

Stock exchanges such as the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) or NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) match buyers and sellers who want to trade stocks and are one part of global stock markets.

The price at which each stock is traded is determined by the market forces of supply and demand, which fluctuate depending on factors like news about the company, economic conditions, and investor sentiment.

When you decide to buy or sell shares, you do so through a broker or an online trading platform. Brokers can help new traders learn more about investing strategies as well as provide guidance when it comes to making trades. If you're just starting with stock trading, it may be worth investing in professional advice.

Most investment advice involves stocks, so here are some pros and cons.

Pros and cons of investing in stocks.
Pros of investing in stocks:

  • Potential for high returns - Stocks can provide investors with the potential for higher returns than many other types of investments.
  • Diversification - Stocks allow you to spread your investments across different companies, reducing the risk associated with investing in just one stock.
  • Regulatory compliance - Stocks are regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), providing increased protection for investors.
  • Professional guidance - Investors can access professional advice and support from brokers when trading stocks.

Cons of investing in stocks:

  • Risk of Losses - While stocks have the potential to provide high returns, they also carry greater risk than other investments.
  • Volatility - The stock market is unpredictable, and prices can rise or fall quickly.
  • Fees and Commissions - Stock trading often involves paying fees to brokers, as well as commissions for each trade made.
  • Regulatory Compliance - Stocks are heavily regulated, so investors must be aware of and comply with all relevant laws and regulations when trading.

Investing risks to consider Investing can be everything but predictable, so it is important to understand all the risks involved.

Legal tender is any currency or money officially recognized by the government, such as coins and paper money, so when investing with legal tender there is risk associated with it due to the volatility of currency values.

Risk tolerance is also an important factor to consider when investing since financial instability can result from taking on more risk than you can absorb.

Finally, the stock market has boomed and bustled many times in its centuries-long history, so experienced investors know to prepare for a stock market crash that can occur at any time.

Certificates and money market accounts provide a low-risk investment option with higher yields than traditional savings accounts, while digital currencies like crypto and stocks offer more potential for gains but also come with higher risk. While each option offers different benefits and risks, investors should carefully consider their personal goals and risk tolerance when deciding which type of investment to pursue.