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Ways to Invest and Use $5 Million

$5 million may seem like an impossibly large amount of money, but if you aren’t careful, it can run out quicker than you’d imagine. Through some simple investing strategies, though, you can make $5 million last you a very long time. In fact, it’ll likely go long enough that you can retire and enjoy life with your family and friends, regardless of how old you are right now. All it takes is a bit of patience and know-how and your $5 million can keep you going for a long time. For help managing your $5 million, consider working with a financial advisor.

Build a Balanced Portfolio

The most important part of investing, no matter how much money you have, is to focus on asset allocation. This means keeping a balance of various asset types. This namely covers your split between riskier options, like stocks, and safer but less lucrative investments, like bonds.

Generally speaking, while you’re younger, you’ll want to invest more heavily in stocks. With many years left in your life and before retirement, you can take more risks, as you’ll have plenty of time to ride out any market downturns.

As you get older, wealth preservation becomes more important, and you’ll want to shift your asset allocation more towards bonds and other fixed-income investments that will likely not lead to your money disappearing, even in the short term.

Diversification Is Key

Ways to Invest and Use $5 Million

Another important part of investing, regardless of how much money you’re working with, is to make sure your portfolio is diversified. This means you need to invest in various companies and financial instruments, rather than putting all of your money into one industry, sector or company. This will protect your portfolio from large market losses in specific sectors, like healthcare.

Think of it like this: If you invest all of your money in the ABC Widget Company and it ends up going bankrupt, you’ll have lost all of your money. If you divide your money among five different firms, especially if they are in different industries, one company going south won’t destroy your entire portfolio.

Focus on Index Funds and ETFs

Diversification can mean that you end up having to research a lot of companies, which is a lot of work. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make the right choices. An easy way to build a diversified portfolio is to use index-driven funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

An indexed fund is one that follows a market index, which is a group of companies on a stock exchange that investment professionals follow. Examples of indexes include the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.

There are also indexes that track certain sectors, such as technology, healthcare or energy. An index fund invests across this index, so your investment will grow or shrink along with the overall market. If you put your money in indexed funds for the long run your portfolio is likely to grow.

Incorporate CDs Into Your Portfolio

Certificates of deposit (CDs) aren’t the most exciting investment, but if you’re looking to make your money last for the rest of your life they are safe investments that both force you to save, and they provide solid – if unspectacular – growth.

CDs are financial instruments available from most banks. Essentially, you give the bank a sum of money and it holds on to it for a predetermined amount of time. The time frame can range from a few months to decades. The rate of return is generally low, but it’s guaranteed as long as you keep the money in for the specific time frame. There are significant penalties for early withdrawals, so there’s major incentives to keep your money there.

Buying a few CDs – or perhaps creating a CD ladder, which is a series of CD investments with staggered maturity dates – will create guaranteed and steady returns and allow you to save some of your money in a place you essentially cannot touch it. Another bonus of CDs: they are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Annuities Are an Option

Ways to Invest and Use $5 Million

Annuities can seem a bit complex, but they’re actually an easy way to create a guaranteed income stream. They are basically contracts with insurance companies. You pay a monthly, yearly or one-time premium, and in exchange you get steady income, which begins either later in life or immediately.

There are various types of annuities, which a professional advisor can explain to you, but using annuities – especially as you get toward the end of your life – can be a solid way to make sure your money lasts a long time.

Investing in Real Estate

One of the most important investments you can make is in real estate. This can be your primary home – the place you actually live – or a rental property. If you invest in real estate well – especially if you’re able to buy without a mortgage – your investment is highly likely to grow over time. When you get older, you can sell any properties you own and likely see a big gain.

Rental properties can provide you with a steady stream of income throughout your life. Remember, though, that being a landlord does come with responsibilities for upkeep and maintenance. So make sure you factor in those costs when you consider making that one of your investments.

Bottom Line

If you have $5 million to invest, the most important thing to remember is to look for a variety of investments with a range of risk levels. Diversifying your portfolio, possibly through index funds, should provide you with a roadmap to a happy and easy financial life. The idea is that you’re able to retire early and enjoy your family and friends. And don’t forget to consider annuities and CDs.

Investment Tips

  • Financial help is a good idea for anyone, but especially for those looking to invest big sums. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Still working at a job? Don’t forget to use a workplace retirement account like a 401(k), if you have access to one. This is a tax-efficient way to put money aside. Make sure you take advantage of any employer match available to you as well.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Viktoriya Fivko , ©iStock.com/MarsBars, ©iStock.com/guvendemir

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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