I would throw in some caution here: if your spouse works at the same company, or in the same industry as you, you are not diversified, and should something happen, you could be in a world of hurt. Companies do go out of business, companies do lay employees off. There is nothing wrong with working together, but realize that you are not diversified and you should be trying to maximize other income streams as a result.
In addition to opening a brokerage account, you can also invest in peer-to-peer lending firms like Lending Club. I’ve been using Lending Club for a few years, and my net annualized return was 6.02% percent last year. Picking the right investments is easy since the platform offers automatic investing, but you can also pick your own notes if you're brave and want to learn the best ways to leverage the Lending Club platform.
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There’s a second downside to this model. Although I’ve done advertising and sponsorships in the past, and have made hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so, the truth is it takes a lot of time for this business model to start to generate income for you, because you need to build that audience first. In addition, what happens when you build your audience on a platform that ends up changing its algorithm, affecting how often you actually get seen by the audience you’ve built?
What I’m doing: My realistic goal is to have a blended annual return of 2x the risk free rate. With a current 5% hurdle, I am not paying down mortgages that cost less than 4%. Debt at 5% is a wash. My realistic blue sky scenario is a 3-4X rate of return over the risk free rate which can be achieved with property, stocks so far for the past five years, and certain private equity investments. Where I am dragging is my blended average CD interest rate of roughly 3% from an old CD coming due. I’ve rolled some money into a 12-month CD with CIT Bank at 2.5%. It’s the best rate I can find.
Retirees are paying a high price as the world stimulates its way out of the GFC (Great Recession). After a 30-year bull market to the lowest interest rates the world has ever seen, bonds have become highly priced and now don’t generate enough to meet income needs. Just 5 years ago the average income from $100,000 invested in a 10 year Australian Government Bond (10yrs) was $5,600 p.a. – now it’s less than half at $2,600 p.a.