4 Ways "Boring" Investments Make Life Exciting

By Qiana Chavaia on 1 February 2016 0 comments

To jump-start 2016, I resolved to get physically fit by joining DailyBurn with celebrity trainer Bob Harper. Based on my target goals, the program began with BlackFire, a strategic fitness program of diverse routines designed to make your muscles burn and push your body beyond its limits. But exotic training programs like these can deplete you and only work when balanced by proper nutrition and diet.

The same is true for investing — going too exotic is not good for your portfolio and can throw you off balance. Mixing things up by adding in some "boring" investments can offer steady growth and offset the possibility of market volatility. And if you're like most of us, keeping and growing your money can provide more real excitement than any fad or risky investment.

Here are four ways "boring" investments make life more exciting.

1. Less Market Volatility

The markets are down these days and some investors are in a frenzy. But instead of abandoning ship, like many people do, try balancing your portfolio with asset classes that carry less risk. This is the number one way boring investments are more exciting — because during times of panic, you don't have to. Review your allocation strategy accordingly.

Another plus: When you avoid assuming unnecessary investment risks, you'll have more money on hand to take calculated risks and profit when riskier investments fall.

2. Cost-Efficient

Boring investments cost less due to their lower total expense ratios. Traditional mutual funds are actively managed and indexed mutual funds have administrative fees costing slightly more than ETFs, but both are substantially more cost-efficient in comparison to individual stocks. Morningstar Investment Research estimates the average asset-weighted mid-growth index mutual fund costs 0.39%, while ETFs average 0.23%. (See also: The Top 5 ETFs You Should Buy Now)

This cost efficiency adds up over time, saving you thousands of dollars over a lifetime of investing. And you know what's exciting? Having more money at the end of the day.

3. Tax-Efficient

Maximizing your portfolio's tax efficiency can save you big bucks. As an example, one common strategy to offset capital gains is tax-loss harvesting, which offsets profits with tax deductions on losses (up to $3,000 annually). Another "boring" investment that can help you save on taxes is municipal bonds. The income payouts from muni bonds are exempt from federal, state, and city tax. And "boring" investments like ETFs and mutual funds have less turnover since they are passively managed, making them tax-efficient.

(For 2016, the maximum capital gains tax is 20%. How much you pay depends on your income. If you're in the 10% to 15% marginal tax bracket, or a person who has earned below $50,400 (head of household) or $75,300 (joint filers), you will owe zero tax on income derived from the sale of securities.)

4. Hands-Free Investments

Don't find investing all that exciting, in general? Then consider hands-off investments such as target-date ETFs or mutual funds which free you to do whatever really excites you with your time. Or, consider using a low-cost robo-advisor to manage your money for you. Then all you have to do is sit back and watch your money grow. (See also: Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?)

What boring investments do you find thrilling?

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