Looking back, I’ve spent a good part of my life searching for the greatest investment. I’ve tried many different types of investments over the years. Some weren’t right for me at the time and some were.

Eventually, I found not only the type of investments I prefer, but also the way I prefer to invest. I also realized that I wanted to be the one in control of my own money.

So, what did this journey actually look like? Well, I’d say it’s similar to what many folks go through out there.

I remember my first corporate America type of job, where in a good year we had some profit-sharing paid directly to our retirement accounts. But in a bad year, the company didn’t put any money away for me. I worked there for 13 years, and in that time, I only accumulated approximately one year’s total salary in my retirement account. Obviously, it wasn’t going to be an exciting proposition to continue on long term with that firm.

Mutual Funds
We literally only had three choices to invest in—one was an index fund, one was a bond fund, and I think the other was some type of international stock fund. I truly believe all three were pretty lousy since my coworkers and I seemed to try every combination of the three and none of us ever seemed to make any money.

When I finally quit that job, I started selling insurance, as well as working as a licensed real estate agent.

Since I was selling annuities as a retirement option for some of my clients, I tried rolling my retirement money out of the mutual funds and into an annuity. To be quite honest, these were extremely safe products. Although they didn’t really fit my needs at the time, they probably do have a place for some folks, depending on the scenario.

The trouble with my annuity was that, although it was safe, there wasn’t much yield, and it took a long time to get my money out without penalty. That’s especially since there were very strict rules on pulling money out or for rolling money into another qualified account. My next attempt at investing for retirement was to try using an experienced stockbroker, who was also a family member. How could I go wrong, right?

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