Financial Advice By: Carmen Wong Ulrich
Q: I’m down to my last month in savings, and I need to make money fast! I’m having a hard time finding employment, but I heard that you can make money just by investing money. Should I invest my money to try to make a quick profit before next month? If so, where can I find the best investments with the fastest returns?
A: You know that old saying, “Too good to be true”? Well, imagine if what you said was true. Imagine if you could just invest some money and then make money, every time, in a short time. Well, we’d all be rich!
The truth is that investing means one thing: No guarantees. Why? Because to invest money means to take on risk—the risk of losing money, sometimes, a whole lot or even all of it. There is no guaranteed quick-money-making investment. Not one. Yes, some folks—few folks!—get very, very lucky and make a return on an investment over a couple of months or years. But, certainly not weeks, which sounds like your time frame.
In your situation, you need the opposite of risk. You need a guarantee. You need income, real income, and quickly. The only way to do that is to earn it. But, you don’t necessarily need to earn it the usual way. You can try legitimate sites on the web with hourly work such as TaskRabbit.com, where you can hire yourself out based on your skills such as running errands, putting together furniture, housekeeping or data entry. Also, try your local message boards. Yahoo message boards exist for thousands of neighborhoods around the country and AOL has the Patch network. Sign up and scan listings for local jobs.
And in the meantime, spend some time on your biggest investment—YOU. Never stop reading or learning or building your network of friends and contacts. Ask folks you admire for help with a solid career-growth plan. Every person you meet and impress builds a framework to ensure your hard times of finding employment end up in your rear view mirror. Now that’s an investment!
Carmen Wong Ulrich is the co-Founder and former President of ALTA Wealth Management and a Professor in NYU PolyTech‘s school of Finance and Risk Engineering. She is an author and the former host and co-creator of CNBC‘s “On the Money,” and currently the money advice columnist for Good Housekeeping, a contributor to MSNBC and CNN as well as a frequent expert guest on ABC’s “The View.”