6 Investments That Are Virtually Future-Proof and Promise High Returns

While nothing in life can be considered 100% future-proof when it comes to the world of finance, there are some tried and true investments and money strategies that have stood the test of time.

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Although no one can predict the future, choices that have proven valuable through thick-and-thin over multi-decade time periods are likely to continue to remain resilient. Six of these options are listed below. While some may offer higher returns than others, when taken as a whole, they offer a range of risk/reward characteristics that you can pick and choose from to best serve your personal needs.

Defensive, High-Dividend Stocks

No stock is immune to the occasional bear market, but defensive, high-dividend stocks are highly likely to survive in any economic environment by virtue of their long operating histories, solid cash flow, competitive barriers and dominant market positions.

Stocks like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, for example, create long-lived, well-loved products that are found in the majority of American households. Even when economic times get tough, Americans are likely to continue buying their products. The downside of these types of stocks is that when the market is really running, their share prices tend to lag. But if you’re looking for companies that are virtually future-proof, that will last for the long run and will pay you cash directly every quarter while you wait, defensive, high-dividend stocks may be a good option for you.

Treasury Bills

Treasury bills are not going to make you rich, but compared with the interest you may be earning at your bank, T-bills may offer a high return on a relative basis. Given the fact that U.S. Treasury bills will always be around — after all, it’s how the U.S. government raises most of its working capital — you can certainly consider them to be future-proof.

While it’s true that their returns can’t compare with options like the stock market, they’re universally considered to be the safest investments on Earth. If you’re looking to trade off some upside return for the security of your principal, T-bills might be the type of future-proof investment that’s right for you.

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Paying Off High-Interest Debt

Paying off high-interest debt may not seem like an “investment,” but it might actually be the best one you ever make. According to Federal Reserve data, the average credit card interest rate now exceeds 21%. This means that money you use to pay down your credit card debt effectively “earns” you a return of over 21% per year.

As even the stock market only averages a 10% annual return over the long run, paying off your credit card debt now could effectively double your best-case rate of return. That makes getting out of debt both future-proof and high-earning.

Owning a Home

Owning a home isn’t always thought of as an investment, but it’s likely the largest one you will ever make. In addition to the “future-proof” joys that come with having a place to live and/or raise your family, your home will also likely appreciate in value over time.

Traditionally, home prices rise more or less in line with inflation, but returns can be much higher or lower in different areas and at different times. Housing will always be in demand as well, so it’s definitely a “future-proof” investment. The return you earn may not be exceptional in all cases, but it’s likely to be steady and an important contributor to your net worth. According to Federal Reserve Board data, housing currently comprises roughly 50% of Americans’ total household net worth.

Owning Rental Property

Owning a rental property is a way to generate passive income that is likely to be relatively future-proof. Although recessions can dampen housing demand, if you own a good property that’s well-priced, you’ll likely still be able to fill your rental, as people need places to live even in hard economic times.

Over time, rental properties can generate high returns because while mortgages generally remain fixed, rent tends to increase over time. Every year you can sit back while your renters pay off your mortgage, and if you hold your property long enough, you’ll be able to pocket nearly all of that rental income as pure profit.

Maxing Out Your 401(k)

If you have access to a workplace 401(k) plan, it may prove to be the best investment you ever make. Not only will you benefit from after-tax contributions and tax-deferred earnings, but your employer is likely to match at least a percentage of the amount that you put in, essentially adding free money to your savings. As it’s hard to get money out of a 401(k) before you retire, you’re more likely to keep that money invested.

As it compounds over time, you might earn yourself a substantial nest egg, particularly if you’re able to contribute the maximum amount every year ($22,500 for 2023, or $30,000 if you’re 50 or older). Tax-deferred investment options will always be “future-proof,” and depending on how you invest your funds, you may end up with very high returns as well.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 6 Investments That Are Virtually Future-Proof and Promise High Returns

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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