It’s only natural to want to have the best investment in your pocket so you can make money investing, and lots of it. So, how might you go about finding the best investment for 2014 and beyond?In hindsight it’s always easy to make money investing, but we’ll play it straight here and look at the past only for clues to the best investment ideas for 2014… and then single it down to the single best investment. Keep an open mind, because most investors overlook opportunities because they are unaware of many of their options.We’re looking for extremes here, like something that appears to be selling real cheap. And to be realistic, we’ll need to take risk into consideration. Not really cheap: stocks and bonds in general, gold, silver, real estate, other commodities, and most foreign securities. There’s always the chance that some small stock somewhere will turn out to be a gem, and the best investment for 2014. But let’s get real, that’s a very risky long shot, not worth betting more than a few hundred bucks on. We want to make money investing, with decent odds to make money.In our search for the best investment ideas, I mentioned looking for extremes, WITH AN OPEN MIND. Nothing appears to be real cheap, so let’s go the other way. What looks too expensive? This is a way to make money investing most folks are not aware of. Bonds are expensive, and you could make money in them with the right bet. But bond prices don’t move fast enough, so let’s eliminate bonds from our list of very best investment ideas. Gold, silver, and most of the other options mentioned above are just not expensive enough.What about looking at stocks in general and different categories of stocks, since we’ve already eliminated trying to find one best stock because it’s just too risky? Stocks look expensive, and in general have gone up in price more than 150% over the past five years. If earnings announcements and expectations disappoint investors, stocks will look even more expensive as 2014 unfolds. Let’s keep them on our list of best investment ideas.Some categories of stocks like certain high tech sectors and small-company stocks in general have become even more expensive. Let’s move them to the top of our list of best investment ideas for 2014 and beyond. Now, how do we make money investing in stocks that we consider too expensive to buy?We don’t buy them… we take a short position… which means we bet that they will fall. Now we get more specific as we look for the best investment to jump on, and then the best and simplest way to do this. The high tech sector is a little too specific for me, so I will focus on small-company stocks in general, as tracked by the Russell 2000 Index. As goes the index, so goes the price of small-company stocks in general. To get more specific, we are going to try to make money investing by betting that the above index will fall.Stock options (called “puts”) could give us maximum financial leverage, but there are two inherent negatives working against us here: higher commissions, and a premium you pay over the intrinsic value, which erodes up until the time the options expire. Options have an expiration date and can expire worthless… making them too risky for average investors. There is a simpler way to make money investing on a bet that a stock index like the Russell 2000 will fall.”Inverse equity” exchange traded funds (ETFs) are the average investor’s best investment vehicle for taking a “short position” in a stock index. They trade as stocks, do not expire, and commission is about $10 per trade with most discount brokers. You make money investing when the stock index falls. Financial leverage can be 3 to 1. Hence, if an index falls 50% in 2014, you could make 150%, as an example.Hindsight tells us that there’s always a best investment somewhere. Finding it in real time is a different matter. But if you want to make money investing on a consistent basis, you should recognize that going short in stocks to hedge against major losses is a valid tool. There’s uncertainty out there in 2014. Open your mind when you look for the best investment ideas.
Surf travel has long been one of my passions and I have done many surf trips to exotic locations as well. I have done extensive travel outside of surfing, but the surf trip has always been my favorite way to see the world. Why is this? On a surf trip, you typically end up at some exotic location. Typically this exotic location you end up in is somewhere many only see in postcards of some perfect island paradise. Also, surfing a few hours in the morning and evening leaves you plenty of time for relaxation and to get out and see the sites and meet the locals.Many new surfers will take their first surf trip with the purpose of learning to surf by finding a good surf camp. A simple search online will reveal hundreds of surf camps around the world. There are many surf camps in places like Costa Rica, Mexico, and Hawaii that specialize in teaching people how to surf. These surf camps are often a week long and are staffed with skilled surf instructors. By the time you leave, you will be catching waves on your own. Not a bad way to spend a vacation. Other surf camps are geared towards expert surfers and offer guiding to surf spots only known by locals. Some of these camps are setup to cater to women surfers as well with week long women only sessions.Some of my favorite places to visit for a surf trip include the Hawaiian Islands, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Peru, and Indonesia. I lived in Maui and think it is a great destination in the summer months with its many south facing waves as well as Honolua Bay. Any of the Central or South American places also get great summer swells and if you speak Spanish, it is easy to meet people and learn about the cultures. If you don’t speak Spanish, it is a great way to learn the language. Take a few language lessons in the afternoons between surf sessions. Of course, places in Indonesia like the Telos or Mentawai islands offer the exotic surf trip and waves that are as good as it gets for the expert surfer. In winter months, the obvious and best place to visit is the North Shore of Oahu with large, excellent surf and a great surf culture.I try and get out of the country to travel at least a few times a year on a surf trip. It is always great to see new locations and experience new cultures. It is also great to get back to my favorite surf spots outside of California.