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Best Bank For Investing / February 6, 2017

There are several types of annuities, but at the end of the day, purchasing an annuity is on par with making a trade with an insurance company. They're taking a lump sum of cash from you. In return, they are giving you a stated rate of guaranteed return. Sometimes that return is fixed (with a fixed annuity), sometimes that return is variable (with a variable annuity), and sometimes your return is dictated in part by how the stock market does and gives you downside protection (with an ). If you are getting a form of guaranteed return, your risk is a lot lower. Unlike the backing of the Federal government, your annuity is backed by the insurance company that holds it (and perhaps another company that further insurers the annuity company). Nonetheless, your money is typically going to be very safe in these complicated products.

9. Cash Value Life Insurance

Another controversial investment is . This insurance not only pays out a death benefit to your beneficiaries when you die (like a term life insurance policy), but also allows you to accrue value with an investment portion in your payments. Whole life insurance and universal life insurance are both types of cash value life insurance. While term life insurance is by far a cheaper option, it only covers your death. One of the best perks of using cash value life insurance is the accrued value can not only be borrowed against throughout your life, but isn't hit with income tax. While cash value life insurance isn't for everyone, it is a clever way to pass some value onto your heirs without either side being hit with income tax.

Some Middle Risk Investments to Consider

Low risk investments that offer high yields If you don't want to go “all in” on the riskiest class of assets, you can still generate higher returns by taking a few steps in that direction. Here are a few investments to consider to add a bit more risk to your portfolio.

10. Dividend Paying Stocks and Mutual Funds

One of the easiest ways to squeeze a bit more return out of your stock investments is simply to target stocks or mutual funds that have nice dividend payouts. If two stocks perform exactly the same over a given period of time, but one has no dividend and the other pays out 3% per year in dividends, then the latter stock would be a better choice. Of course, picking individual stocks isn't easy (use some of the trading tools at Scottrade or E*TRADE to help you target dividend stocks) and comes with risk that the company may falter and take your investment down with it. A safer bet would be to invest money into a dividend stock mutual fund. With this type of mutual fund, the fund company targets stocks that pay nice dividends and does all of the work for you. You also get diversification so that one or two stocks can't tank your entire investment. Want to add some dividend paying investments to your portfolio?, Scottrade, and E*TRADE, can help you narrow your investment selections down to these types of investments.

11. Preferred Stock

Adding on to the dividend stock theme is preferred stock. Preferred stock is a type of stock that companies issue that has both an equity (stock) portion and a debt portion (bond). In the hierarchy of payouts to forms of investments, preferred stock sits between bond payments (which come first) and common stock dividends (which come last). Preferred stock are not traded nearly as heavily as common stock, but do have less risk than the common stock. It is just another way to own shares in a company while getting dividend payments.

Best No Risk Investments to Consider

Now that we've talked about some low risk and middle-of-the-road investments to consider, let's look at a few investments that come with absolutely no risk at all. While you may not earn a ton of interest with any of these options, you won't have to worry about losing a cent of your initial investment. And if you're nearing retirement or already there, that extra peace of mind might be worth it.

No Risk Investment #1: High Yield Savings Account

If you're looking for a risk-free way to earn some interest on your money, a high yield savings account might be your answer. With these accounts, you'll earn a nominal amount of interest just for keeping your money on deposit. Other than opening your account and depositing your money, this strategy requires almost no effort on your part, either. The best high yield savings accounts offer competitive interest rates without charging any fees. When choosing an account, you'll also want to look for a bank with a good reputation for providing quality customer service, easy access and online account management, and easy deposits. If you're interested in my thoughts on which bank to go with, check out this post: