It is possible to make more than 5%-10% per year on investments, in a way that is not vulnerable to economic declines, just as it is possible to lose the same or more on your investments. Several years ago a friend of ours, nearing retirement age, began an exhaustive search for the ways people do this. He was particularly interested in possibilities accessible to someone with smaller amounts of risk capital. In his investigations he met professionally experienced financial partners pursuing the same thing, working to identify the best alternatives, and he (like many of them) gravitated toward the kinds of opportunities presented to you on this website. He has since become an investor in many of the managed programs listed on these webpages.
Below is a summary he sent to us in which he explains why he thinks managed Forex accounts deserve the highest priority consideration. Whether you have heard of Forex before or not, please stop and think how helpful it might be to your life. But the world of investing is bewildering, large, and fraught with pitfalls and lucrative dead-ends. So he found, as you will see below. Thank you for visiting this page. Also please recognize by presenting his thoughts neither he nor we are giving investment advice, and that you are responsible for making your own investment decisions and that all investments involve risk.
The Best Investments
Finally I got some retirement money. But not enough to retire soon, nor anytime in the foreseeable future! It led me to investigate what alternatives there are for investing such money. This resulted in a multi-year long project that began late in 2003. Money is an important issue and the cause of much anxiety for most of us. Here I want to share with you some of the results of my own search to find the best investments that achieve certain objectives.
I sought alternatives that might best satisfy the following requirements. Understand that I have a skeptical view of the economy and its future, so safety is a huge factor. I believe the debt situation in the US will have a major negative influence on valuations of things, although not in the short term, and not all at once. Here are my guiding questions:
Through the course of these years I investigated practically everything you can think of, and things you may not even know about. I have consulted with financial planners, investment advisors, and done extensive financial and investment research. Add to that years of actual experience trading the markets in stocks, options, futures, and currencies, and exposure to a huge variety of advisors, account management providers, trade recommending providers, and investing/trading systems. I have considered real estate, tax liens, and similar investment approaches.
I wanted to consider everything, to leave no stones unturned, so that I could then rest easy. Because either I would find something I was satisfied with, or, I could be satisfied knowing that I looked prodigiously and it wasn't there!
MY CHOICE FOR LOW-RISK: CD Ladder at a LARGE bank (the kind that will not go bankrupt in a depression, such as Bank of America). Another alternative could be U.S. Savings Bonds (but do investigate what happens to these during a depression). A CD Ladder works like this. Rates for 5-year CDs tend to be higher than for shorter term CDs like 1 year. So you take your principal and divide it into fifths. This year you take one fifth and buy a 5-year CD. Next year, you take the second fifth and do the same. Every year you invest one fifth of your principal in a 5-year CD. After 5 years you are fully invested, and all your money is earning the 5-year CD rate. To be really really safe, you could have no more than $100,000 at any one LARGE bank, so all your funds are FDIC insured. The disadvantage to this is that if you need your money, you can only get 1/5 of it per year without paying a large penalty.
A word on mutual funds. On the whole not very many people I have come across do well with them. Some are a lot riskier than others. There are expenses associated with many of them. They are vulnerable to economic conditions. You cannot get your money out of them on a moment's notice. Having said that, I do hold some in my accounts. My principal holdings are in emerging European markets funds, with the greatest percentage in ESMAX (which at this writing is closed to new investors). I also have a sizable portion in EWO, which trades on the stock market but is like a mutual fund. Check several year's performance for either of these for yourself. I chose them based on balancing expected return, likely profitability, risk in the event of US economic decline, etc.
EVEN BETTER POTENTIAL RETURNS: Here is where the biggest focus of the project was for me, and the bulk of my research over these years. And, for one reason or another, practically every single option I found has been rejected because it failed one or more criteria. The criteria were:
--It not involve my time placing trades or monitoring markets
--It not be vulnerable to sudden economic news, terrorist events, corporate earnings announcements, governmental
announcements such as interest rate changes, other world events economic or otherwise
--It make at least several percent profit PER MONTH, and offer compounding (leaving the profits in the account to
increase the principal)
Generally, I found that the best possibilities for meeting these criteria are MANAGED ACCOUNTS, that have professionals who trade your account for you, who watch the markets every single moment. This way they can get you out if things turn sour. But not just any managed accounts will do, because not all markets in which they can trade are the same. The market that is open around the clock, except for weekends, is the off-exchange foreign CURRENCIES market (Forex). Foreign currencies can be traded by banks, via futures exchanges, and on Forex. Bank hours and some futures exchange hours are limited compared to Forex, which trades 24 hours a day except weekends. This is beneficial because if something happens overnight your account is able to respond to it instantly and not have to wait for the morning and potentially suffer a huge gap in the wrong direction.
How big have the profits been?
Having identified the best investment options to explore, when I considered actually investing in these, another criterion emerged as important: I wanted to be able to open a small account first, to see how it did. Then, if the account performed in a way with which I felt comfortable, I could add more money. Unfortunately, not all managed accounts offer minimum account sizes that are small enough -- in fact most DO NOT -- and by "small" I mean only $5,000 to $10,000 to open.
Of course the bottom-line question is what kind of returns did these accounts have in the past? The answer: 4% to 15% PER MONTH. But please realize that Forex investments carry substantial risk and are certainly not suitable for everyone. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. There are plenty of managed accounts that LOSE people money, and if you invest in a managed account this can happen to you.
Why haven't you heard about these? I think one reason is that until lately, managed Forex accounts like this were offered with much higher minimum investments. Many invest in managed accounts in currencies because the modern portfolio theory calls for a portion of your portfolio in high risk non-correlated investments, and liquidity is high. Do they put all their money there? Of course not, some of it is in the most conservative investment instruments like CD's, bonds, and bond funds, etc. But now that so many people are turning away from financial advisor middlemen, private managed account providers are slowly opening their doors to the public. It is about time! In today's financial climate, you are called upon to do your own research. My years of doing this research for myself has definitely convinced me that alternative investments like managed Forex should be considered by all.
Keep reading if you are interested in what happened next. Feel free to point other people here. Also please recognize that I am expressing my own opinions, I am not giving investment advice, and that you are responsible for making your own investment decisions and their consequences. All investments involve risk! Please read the detailed information on risk on the Get Login page and consider it carefully before considering any investment in Forex.
Best Managed Currency Accounts
The best managed currency accounts I found, with the features for which I searched -- show actual NET returns that average from 4% to 15% per month or more historically. Let me be quick to remind you that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. To understand why I believe it is so important to consider these, let me describe Forex (short for "foreign exchange", or currency trading) in general.
Overview of Currency Markets
Currencies trade on an off-exchange market, known simply as "Forex". Off-exchange means there is no central exchange. Yet Forex is the largest financial market in the world, involving most major banks of the world, most of the world's governments, and many of the world's corporations and financial organizations. Compared to the US stock markets, it is 1000 times bigger.
In Forex the basic trade is the buying of one currency and selling of another. For example, the French government might decide to buy 2 billion US dollars, paying for it with 2.4 billion euros (depending on the exchange rate at the time). Later, when the exchange rates have changed, they would plan to sell their 2 billion dollars for more euros than they originally paid. They might do this if they see an economic decline coming, to hedge their governmental assets.
There are several basic reasons why I discovered that Forex represents such a good investment alternative.
Forex is more liquid than stocks. The Forex market is open and trading 24 hours a day, 5 1/2 days a week -- because it is always daytime on half the globe and banks, corporations, and countries are always active in the market at any time. This means that when holding a Forex position, with a protective loss-limit order in place -- when or if the markets begin to move against your position your protective order will get you out in most cases (market conditions can still occur where such orders do not fill at their prescribed price). This is unlike stocks, where you can go to sleep one night, to awaken the next morning to find your stock has gapped down and lost you additional money, giving you no chance to have saved it.
Order size is not a problem. Since the size of transactions is typically in the millions to billions of dollars, you do not usually have to worry about trading large accounts and pushing a thin market around with your trades. Because the liquidity is high, you are almost always able to get in, or get out of any position instantly. Conditions can still occur that would prevent this, though, that are common to any financial market, but in general they are less frequent in Forex.
Broker commissions tend to be minimal. The more costs you can remove from trading and investing, the higher your profit. Unlike stocks, bonds, mutual funds, commodities, and other investments, you tend to pay smaller commissions when trading in Forex. There is a difference in bid and ask rates when buying and selling, which is where Forex brokers make most of their income. Naturally this varies from broker to broker, and in some cases spreads can be widened considerably to represent sizable commissions -- so broker choice is an important decision in Forex. Some brokers will add a small commission cost to transactions to offset maintaining smaller spreads. But generally because the market is so large, the spread and/or commissions are in most cases an exceptionally small amount and impacts any individual trade in only a minuscule way. For example, at many prominent Forex brokerages, the difference between bid and ask for the dollar-euro exchange is most often 1/50 of a cent.
Leverage! One of the major reasons why profit/loss potentials are higher in Forex is the use of leverage. This means that $10,000 in your account can be allowed to control as much as $1 million or more on the foreign exchange market. Now, none of the managers of accounts listed on this website uses all that leverage because the risk of loss is equal to the potential for gain. But they certainly do use SOME of that leverage. For example, if a Forex position makes a 1% profit/loss at 1:1 leverage, but you are leveraged at 5 to 1 (the maximum allowed is typically 100 to 1), then the profit/loss on your principal will be 5%. Leverage is used in other investments -- such as in real estate, where you can buy a $500,000 house for only $25,000 down (your $25,000 being leveraged at 20 to 1 in this case). The maximum leverage allowed for stocks is 2 to 1, and for mutual funds, no leverage is allowed. Be aware that higher leverage also carries higher risk of loss, however – so a sound trading approach is crucial when taking advantage of higher leverage opportunities.
Why a "Managed" Forex Account?
How good an investor are you? If you are like me, when you look at the choices you will find they are overwhelming. If you begin to do some research, you soon find that it is very time-consuming. If you try to make your own trades, with any kind of frequency, I am sure you will have discovered how emotionally draining that can be, and how frustrating the results. There are only a small percentage of traders who are successful. Many of the best ones do it professionally.
So after a number of years (nearly a decade) of trying my hand at all sorts of investing, in various kinds of markets (stocks, options, funds, futures, and Forex), I discovered the following. The professionals are better than I am. And, I do not really like doing it. It does not give me peace of mind. My talents and fulfillments lie in other areas of life. So the optimal solution for me is finding a good professional source to manage my account for me. All I want to do is check it every so often, as I would with any other long-term investment, and make occasional deposits and withdrawals as desired.
Toward the latter stages of my investment search all my attention was upon the various managed account providers there are. From banks to large investment firms, to smaller companies and even automated systems, I looked and looked. It is a can of worms and takes a lot of digging.
Basically I found that if the provider is big -- the investment managing firm that is – they are going to be way too expensive in terms of costs they pass on to me. Your net returns will be low. And I also discovered that the best account managers are snapped up by private individuals and private hedge funds. The question eventually boiled down to: how could I get in with some of these private account managers, given that I only had a small amount of money? You see, they usually manage accounts starting at $100,000 or $1 million ... and what I wanted to do was open a small account (several thousand dollars) to see how it did, THEN perhaps follow it up with a little more significant money.
And the Best I Found Were ...
The managed Forex account providers that had the combination of criteria for which I was searching, that are open to small investors as well as large ones, with outstanding performance records and reasonable fees, are presented to you on this website! They are available now. Please click the individual pages describing them to read more about them for yourself. Please also read the FAQs to get answers to some important questions you may have.
I suggest … that you pick one of the accounts listed here to which you are attracted. Look at the account minimum. Then pick a percentage that represents the maximum decline you might expect from the initial account size – if you were very unlucky and happened to invest at the very moment when the trader was about to experience a “maximum” drawdown. “Maximum drawdown” is the loss in your account of the largest run of losing trades that have occurred in past circumstances. Add 5% to that. Then decide that this number, say 30% or 35%, represents your “UNCLE” point – how much you are willing to risk losing, in order to investigate the possibility of gaining the returns suggested here by historical records.
Next look at how much you might gain if performance was even half as good as historically (remember past performance is NO GUARANTEE of future results!). Perhaps that is a continuing stream of 3 to 10% net profit per month. Look at how much profit that is over time. What would that do for your life? Or for your IRA? Then consider this: would you be willing to risk losing several thousand dollars (or however much is represented by getting to your UNCLE point) in order to see if you can access the reward of that stream of returns? Because if it is true that you can get those returns – they are quite extraordinary in comparison to the risk – wouldn’t you want to investigate this sometime in your life?
I believe the generally acknowledged approach to take then would be to diversify your holdings, spreading them between the various alternatives. Would I put all my money in these? No, of course not, I still hold mutual funds, bond funds, and some ordinary money market cash. I would never put all my money in any one place, or all at just one level of risk. But I definitely am inclined to put more of it where I see the most promising combination of safety and return. And I definitely allocate some portion of it to less conservative, higher reward investment vehicles. To that end, I would recommend you to diversify funds between several of the accounts offered here.