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If you read the headlines and listening to the news you would think the world is coming to an end. Constant babble about how the economy is bad, unemployment is high, the cost of daily necessities such as food/clothing/gas are only going up, and that people are not saving enough for retirement.

Although many of these things are true at the surface, there are things you can control and actively participate in by educating yourself and getting a different perspective. One of those “things” is your retirement plan. When most people hear the words “retirement plan” they immediately think of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and CDs. They think of the 401k at their employer or an IRA and don’t feel like they have any control over the outcome of the retirement plans performance, even though they have chosen their own investments. Rightfully, most people think they just have to hope for the best since they really can’t do much about how the stock market performs and they only have a limited selection of investment choices.

Well I am here to say that the time for letting the market (or the fund manager) do the work for you is over. Most investors have a growing disillusionment of big financial wall street institutions and are looking to take control.

Remember it is Your Money, Your Future and Your Plan

American’s hold a vast majority of their money in stocks, bonds and mutual funds and in the recent financial crisis all three of these asset classes have lost value at the same time. Many individual investors and even some money management professionals, think that it may be quite awhile before these financial assets deliver the kind of steady, reliable growth that they have in the past. It may not happen in our lifetime, it is hard to tell.

All markets have cycles and at times they are booming and other times they go bust. In order to offset some of these swings, it is important that you put a portion of your money in alternative assets such as real estate, private lending, tax liens, precious metals, commodities, oil/gas, receivables, business LLC or C-Corporations, private equity investments, start ups companies, etc. This is true diversification, since diversifying into different securities is NOT diversification at all (unlike what most financial planners tell you).

Get Inspired

Most startup companies are initially funded by private placements and many times these original investments are originated from someone’s retirement account. In fact, some of the great tech companies that you reia about such as Google, Paypal, eBay, and Facebook were initially privately financed by angel investors and many of those investments may have been funded by someone’s IRA. As those companies grew to the giants they are today, many of these smart investors would have seen fantastic appreciation and growth their retirement account tax free.

Overall, you need to find investments that appeal to you based on your interest, experience and knowledge and those that meet your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Tax Protected Investing

No one likes to pay taxes, but many people invest and forego the opportunity to reduce their tax bill by utilizing government sponsored retirement plans outlined in this book. No matter what you invest in, you will always come out better when you have more money left over to live on in retirement if you make your investments in a tax deferred or tax free retirement plan. It is pretty easy to setup most of these plans and the time spent will be well worth the effort.

Take The Time To Get Educated

You really need to take the time to get educated about self directed investing and all the potential investment choices. This will help you be more confident and take action when an opportunity presents itself. There are so many ways to invest and get a better return that in the traditional type assets and I am not talking about just in a down market. Some of my favorite investments are real estate, private lending, tax liens, Forex and commodities (gold, silver, grains, oil, etc). I know real estate alone can conservatively return your retirement account double and even triple digit returns when done correctly.