Not sure what to do with your money to make it grow beyond depositing it into your savings account? The expert opinions here may be your ticket to finding some fortune.

You may be hesitant to put money into investments because of your current economic situation, but experts say this is the best way to grow your assets. Even when the economy isn't doing so great, you can still make a lot from making the right investments.

"Fortunes are made by buying at the worst of times," declares Benigno Cabrieto, who shares economist Warren Buffet's principle. The chief operating officer of Camp John Hay Development Corporation, Cabrieto has broad experience in account management, the stock market, the money market, and real estate development. "This is actually the best time to position because prices are low, and many people are cash-strapped and are unloading properties at dirt cheap rates."

Armina "Archie" Empeno, AVP of Trust & Investment Services at Standard Chartered Bank, advises, "Choosing the best [investment options] will depend on the kind of investor that you are. If you are not a sophisticated investor, you'll probably go for the usual instruments like savings, which hardly earn anything, or time deposits and the like."

Commonly made investments, according to Empeno, fall under two categories: fixed income and non-fixed income. "When you say 'fixed income investment,' you are expecting to get a fixed income stream from it. For example, when you put your money in time deposit, you know how much you'll get after a certain period of time—your principal plus the stated interest. Non-fixed income investments are those that will yield variable results."

Before you start shopping, Empeno says you should do your homework. "[Check out] the institution that's offering the investment, the term, and the risks." So what is a good investment? "One that is low-risk but will give reasonably high returns." She continues, "Generally, investments that are low-risk yield low returns, and high-risk ones will have higher returns. That's the rule of thumb.

"Personally, what I consider a good investment is when you've identified all of the risks and yet you're willing to go with it. Remember, a good investment for me may not be a good investment for you. Each individual has a different investor profile. For instance, you decide to go into the stock market but you're not a good risk-taker. You may have earned 200 percent on your money, but if you lost a lot of sleep over it, that wasn't a good investment for you."

In the Philippines, Cabrieto says we've experienced the lowest interest rates in 15 years and people with money in the bank are edgy, wondering what to do with their cash. A good idea is to have what is called an investor's portfolio mix, which means part of your money goes to fixed income investments and the rest to variable investments.

Here are your options:


(First published as "Investments You Can Make Right Now" in the Money Matters Handbook in the March 2002 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by T. Al Nakib via sxc.hu.)

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