【英语财经】你没有意识到的五大投资 Five Big Investments You Don’t Know You Have

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2014-5-26 11:46

小艾摘要: When you hear the word investment, you probably think of your home, stocks and mutual funds, your retirement account, maybe your baseball-card collection. But how often do you think of your job?You sh ...
Five Big Investments You Don't Know You Have
When you hear the word investment, you probably think of your home, stocks and mutual funds, your retirement account, maybe your baseball-card collection. But how often do you think of your job?

You should, because for all but the wealthiest, your job is probably your No. 1 investment. Just think of your wages as the equivalent of a portfolio's income stream. The median household income in the U.S., about $51,000, equals the income of a stock-and-bond portfolio worth more than $1.2 million--assuming sustainable withdrawals of 4% a year.

Most U.S. households don't have anything close to $1.2 million saved. Among households with financial assets like stocks and bank certificates of deposit, the median portfolio was barely $30,000 as of 2010, according to Federal Reserve data. Or, to put it in corporate accounting terms, most Americans are all income statement and no balance sheet.

So while everyone should learn the basics of investing, most workers should treat their ability to earn and save as their biggest asset. With that in mind, here are some hot investments that you probably don't think of as investments. But for most households, they matter more for growing wealth than the fine details of portfolio management.

1. Your benefits.

There are many ways to save, but for typical families, one seems to be working better than others. Between 1989 and 2010, the share of household financial assets held in retirement accounts nearly doubled to 38%, according to the Federal Reserve.

Not coincidentally, the number of active 401(k) participants has also ballooned, from 7.5 million in 1984 to 73.7 million last year. Few savings vehicles can match the 401(k) on features that promote long-term success. Workers typically add money automatically from their pay and get a tax break on their contribution, plus, more often than not, a matching contribution from their employer.

Even a middling 401(k) experience can pay off handsomely. A Congressional Research Service study in 2007 projected that a median-income household could stash away $468,000 after inflation in a retirement account by age 65 simply by starting at age 35, contributing 8% of pay and earning typical stock and bond returns. Worker benefits can add to wealth in plenty of other ways

Group life insurance can be a money saver too. Many plans offer a small amount of free coverage and the opportunity to buy more with few questions asked about health--a boon for older or unhealthy workers. Also, don't forget health insurance, tuition reimbursement, corporate travel discounts and credit unions.

Then there's Social Security, which is basically like a lifetime annuity from an insurance company. Some couples retire with Social Security income equivalent to that generated by investments worth over $1 million.

2. Your body.

Workers who exercise regularly earn 9% higher pay, on average, than those who don't, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Labor Research.

By scoring subjects on their propensity to exercise, based on factors like age, education level and school sports involvement, the study showed a cause-and-effect relationship between working out and earning more. Other studies have documented an obesity penalty to earnings, which seems to hit women hardest.

The financial benefits of fitness extend well beyond earnings. The fit pay less for life insurance than the fat, and spend less on health care.

Plus, the benefits to employers of worker fitness--fewer sick days, higher productivity and so on--are enough to make companies want to chip in.

Put it all together, and for a typical household the return on investment for getting in shape over the next year dwarfs the likely gains from financial assets.

3. Your marriage.

Married couples gain financial leverage by sharing things like expenses, assets and health-care coverage. As a result, they increase wealth by 4% a year simply as a result of being married, according to a 2006 study by the Center for Human Resource Research at Ohio State University.

For couples who divorce, the same study found, wealth a decade later is three-quarters lower than for couples that remain married.

Considering the stakes, unhappy couples should view $100 a pop for weekly visits to a marriage counselor as a wise investment.

4. Your spending.

Small savings here and there can add up to meaningful wealth come retirement, for those who start early. For each $5 trimmed from daily expenses and invested at 6% yearly returns, the result after 40 years is nearly $300,000.

Discovering that $5 starts with tracking expenses, but fewer than one in three Americans prepares a detailed budget, in writing or on a computer, that tracks income and expenses each month, according to a Gallup poll last year.

For the other two thirds, creating a budget can generate an extraordinarily high return on investment. Some personal-finance sites, such as Mint.com, are free and automatically download information from financial institutions. You Need a Budget, a popular downloadable program, costs $60 and requires more manual entry.

5. Your community.

Homes are the biggest nonfinancial asset for most households, and 70% of home-owning households have a mortgage. The median amount was $112,000 in 2010. That means that, since location is a key determinant of home values over time, many households are making a leveraged bet on the health of their communities.

Unlike with stocks, a little market manipulation here is encouraged. Show up for the Saturday school cleaning. Press the town to fill in nearby potholes. Help a sick neighbor mow her lawn.

Worst case, your efforts bring only personal satisfaction. Best case, others follow your lead and gradually increase neighborhood home values.

听到“投资”这个词,你的脑海中可能会浮现出你的房子、股票和共同基金,你的退休金账户,或许还有你收藏的棒球卡。但你想到自己工作的可能性有多大?

其实你应该想到,因为除最富有的人群之外,对所有人来说工作或许都是最重要的投资。把你的工资想象成一个投资组合产生的收益流。美国家庭收入中值约为51,000美元,相当于一个价值逾120万美元的股票债券混合型投资组合产生的收益(假设每年持续提取4%)。

Randy Pollak多数美国家庭的存款都远远达不到120万美元。美国联邦储备委员会(Federal Reserve)数据显示,截至2010年,拥有股票和银行定期存单等金融资产的家庭投资组合中值仅为30,000美元。用公司会计术语来说就是,多数美国人都只有“损益表”而没有“资产负债表”。

因此,虽然每个人都应该了解一些投资常识,但多数工薪族都应把挣钱和存钱的能力视为自己最大的资产。鉴于此,以下是一些可能从未被你当做投资的热门投资。但对多数家庭来说,它们比掌握投资组合管理的细枝末节更有助于积累财富。

1. 你的福利

存钱的方式有很多,但对普通家庭来说,有一种方式似乎比其他途径更管用。美联储数据显示,在1989年到2010年期间,退休金账户存款在家庭金融资产中所占比例提高了近一倍,达到38%。

而401(k)计划“积极参与者”人数也在大幅增加,由1984年的750万人增至去年的7,370万人。这种状况绝非巧合。401(k)计划具有保障长期良好表现的特色,在这方面几乎没有什么储蓄工具能与之媲美。员工的工资一般会向401(k)账户自动划转,缴纳金额可获得免税,另外,雇主通常也会向401(k)账户相应地缴纳一定金额。

即使是表现普通的401(k)账户也能带来可观回报。美国国会研究服务处(Congressional Research Service) 2007年一项研究估计,对收入居于中值的家庭来说,只要从35岁开始将收入的8%存入回报率与一般股票和债券相当的退休金账户,到65岁时,退休金账户上经通货膨胀调整后的金额就能达到468,000美元。员工福利还能以许多其他方式增加你的财富。

团体人寿保险也能帮你省钱。许多计划都提供少量免费承保项目,你还有机会多买几份保险,而保险公司很少会过问你的健康状况——这对年纪较大或者患有疾病的职工来说是一大福音。另外不要忘记健康保险、学费报销、公司旅行折扣和信用合作社等福利。

然后是社保计划(Social Security),这基本上相当于保险公司提供的终身年金。一些夫妻退休后的社保计划收益相当于价值逾100万美元的投资所产生的回报。

2. 你的身体

《劳工研究杂志》(Journal of Labor Research) 2012年刊登的一篇研究论文显示,经常锻炼的劳动者比不经常锻炼的人平均收入高9%。

这项研究根据年龄、教育程度和对学校体育运动参与度等因素对研究对象的运动倾向进行评分,研究显示,锻炼与赚取更高收入之间存在因果关系。还有一些研究显示出肥胖会对收入构成不利影响,女性受影响程度似乎最大。

保持强健体魄在经济方面的好处远不止限于收入。体态适中者缴纳的人寿保险保费比肥胖者低,在医疗方面的支出也比较少。

此外,员工身体健康为雇主带来的好处(病假少、工作效率高等等)足以让公司主动在这方面做些投资。

总之,对一般家庭来说,明年健身带来的投资回报会高于金融资产的潜在收益。

3. 你的婚姻

已婚夫妇可以通过共同承担花销并共享资产和医疗保险来获得财务优势。因此俄亥俄州立大学(Ohio State University)人力资源研究中心(Center for Human Resource Research) 2006年的一项研究显示,仅结婚这一项因素就能让财富年增4%。

这项研究还发现,离婚夫妇10年之后的财富比维持婚姻的夫妇少四分之三。

考虑到这些风险,对婚姻不满意的夫妇应该把每周花100美元见一次婚姻咨询师视为明智的投资。

4. 你的支出

如果能早早动手,在各个地方省下的小钱到退休时就能攒成一笔可观的财富。每天节省五美元支出,做年回报率6%的投资,40年之后就能获得近30万美元。

要想找出这五美元,就得从追踪日常开支开始,但盖洛普(Gallup)去年的一项调查显示,只有不到三分之一的美国人以手写方式或运用电脑制定详细的预算,追踪每月的收入和支出。

其余三分之二的人如果动手制定预算,是有望获得极高投资回报的。Mint.com等一些个人理财网站可免费使用,能自动从金融机构下载信息。还可以下载很受欢迎的理财程序You Need a Budget,费用为60美元,该程序需要较多的手动输入。

5. 你的社区

对大多数家庭来说,住房是最大一笔非金融资产,70%的有房家庭都背负着住房抵押贷款。2010年家庭住房抵押贷款中值为112,000 美元。这就意味着,既然地段是决定住房长期价值的关键因素,许多家庭其实都在对他们所在社区的质量进行杠杆投资。

和股票投资不同的是,这一领域是鼓励进行一些市场操纵的。周六学校大扫除时别忘了现身。呼吁政府把附近坑坑 的路面填平。帮生病的邻居修修草坪。

最坏的情况是,你的努力只能带来个人满足。最好的情况是,其他人纷纷以你为榜样,使社区住房价值得到逐步提升。

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