It's tempting to think that all those baseball cards you have
stashed in the attic will one day provide you with a comfy
retirement. Think again, though. Many popular collectibles are
far from the best path to wealth.
At Yahoo! Finance recently, Jason Notte reviewed several
categories of popular collectibles, pointing out how "completely
worthless" they can be:
- Hummel figurines: Those sweet little ceramic urchins may
have brought a smile to your grandma's face, but they're not
likely to bring many greenbacks to you. Their supply outstrips
demand, with many going for $50 or less on
- Franklin Mint collectibles: These can be anything from
plates to dolls to coins. According to Notte, "Sure, the
Franklin Mint gets plenty of buyers to pay $260 for its silver
medallions struck with the faces of every U.S. president, but
it can't make them sell for more than $65 on eBay."
- Beanie Babies: Along with Norman Rockwell plates and
Precious Moments figurines, Beanie Babies are items that
consignment shops often refuse to accept. In their heyday, they
sold for around $4 to $6 apiece, and though a rare few fetch a
good price today, most go for $2 or less.
Clearly, unless you know what you're doing and you also have
some good fortune on your side, collectibles are not likely to be
a powerful contributor to your retirement plan.
So consider some different kinds of collectibles, instead --
via the stock market.
Remember that with the poorly performing collectibles above,
overproduction and limited buyer interest is often at fault. A
better way to grow your wealth is to invest in companies that are
ramping up to meet
demand. Investing in innovators rather than backward-looking old
hand-me-downs can prove very profitable.
For example, if you believe that demand for natural gas will
keep growing and that
we'll soon be seeing many more
on the road, you might want to invest some money in the companies
helping to make that happen.
Clean Energy Fuels
(Nasdaq: CLNE) has plans to build and run 150 gas fueling
(Nasdaq: WPRT) is developing engine technologies for such
vehicles and partnering with the likes of engine maker
If you see more and more hospitals offering robotic surgical
procedures, you might look into companies such as
(Nasdaq: ISRG) and
(Nasdaq: MAKO) . Intuitive has been growing its revenue and
earnings at a huge pace over the past five years, while MAKO, not
quite profitable yet, has been posting
strong revenue gains
as it launches a new hip arthroscopy procedure.
Companies with the potential for explosive
can be more risky than established blue chips, so you might want
to devote just a portion of your portfolio to some of them. Even
those that disappoint you might still outperform your Precious
You don't even have to take on the risk of youngish companies
with newfangled technologies, though. You can build a better
, too -- from relatively stable, established companies. Healthy,
growing dividend-paying companies tend to keep paying them no
matter what the economy is doing, and they generally up their
payouts over time, too.
) might look like a boring utility company, but it yields almost
6% and has hiked its dividend at a healthy pace for years. For
more excitement, consider that
(Nasdaq: INTC) yields about 3.7% and sports a dividend growth
rate of nearly 14% over the past five years -- while growing
earnings at 16% annually.
Be a smart collector
If you really want to make money from traditional collectibles,
perhaps consider investing in eBay or
, as they profit every time collectibles trade hands.
For most of us, the best collectibles are clusters of dollar
bills, stored relatively safely in proven investments, such as
stocks and bonds.
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