9 things that seem like a good investment but are actually losing you a ton of money

  • Don’t dabble in cryptocurrency if you’re not already maximizing your retirement accounts.
  • Boats and timeshares will cost more than they’re worth in the long run.
  • Buying a home that puts you in too much debt isn’t a good property investment.

Whether you’re new to investing or have been at it for decades, deciding where to put your money requires careful consideration. What appears to be a promising investment could actually turn out to cost more money than it’s worth – or even cause significant financial losses.

Business Insider asked certified financial planners what things people invest in that aren’t doing them any favours.

Here are nine things that you might think will make you rich, but experts say could end up costing you.


Cryptocurrency

David Ryder / StringerA bitcoin ATM.

Some crypto enthusiasts like venture capitalist Tim Draper believe that cryptocurrencies could replace cash in 10 years. Other experts say the market is approaching a “death cross.” However trendy Bitcoin becomes at any given moment, your priority should be making concrete plans to save for retirement – especially if you’re not exactly sure what cryptocurrency is and are just looking for a piece of the pie.

As Sophia Bera, CFP and founder of Gen Y Planning, told Business Insider: “Simple first, sexy later.”

“Stop throwing money at cryptocurrencies when you’re not maximizing your retirement accounts,” she said.


A boat

freevideophotoagency/ShutterstockBoat costs add up.

With docking fees, gas, insurance, and constant repairs, boats cost an enormous amount of money to maintain.

“A boat is never a good investment! But they are fun,” said Linda Robertson, CFP and Director of Planner Operations at Financial Finesse.


Timeshares

iStock/ManakinIt will be impossible to sell.

Roberton said you might be tempted to buy a timeshare or hotel points to “lock in today’s prices,” but the annual fees don’t make it a wise investment. It will also be hard to resell when you get tired of it.

“I have talked to hundreds of people with the same story,” said Doug Spencer, CFP and Senior Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse. “‘Oh we love this place and it will be so much cheaper than paying for a hotel every year.’ Until four years later you’re tired of that location, or you need to use your vacation to go to friends’ weddings and family events or you have kids and can’t afford a vacation. Then you’re just paying a bill every month for a place you never get to use and you really only get to use at off peak times when you do use.”


An expensive college education

Oli Scarff/Getty ImagesIt might be worth saving on college tuition.

The payoff of investing in your education depends on the circumstances, Tania P. Brown, CFP and Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse, told Business Insider.

“One hundred thousand dollars in student loans may not be worth the small possible pay increase,” she said. “Look for tuition reimbursement, take longer to complete if it means little to no loans. Also look into certifications vs. a degree.”

Scott Spann, CFP and PhD, agrees that “A college degree from an overpriced institution in a degree program with low paying job prospects” isn’t worth the money.


Your friend’s business idea

ShutterstockIt’s a risk.

Supporting your friends’ ideas can be worthwhile, but the amount of money you put into a private business venture has to feel like an amount that you’d be willing to lose – or at least not see for a long time.

“I’ve had clients who invested in a bar and four years later they get free drinks but they haven’t seen any of that money back,” Pamela Capalad, CFP, AFC, and founder of Brunch and Budget, told Business Insider.


A home that puts you in debt

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesA home isn’t always a smart investment.

According to Brown, conventional wisdom that says a home is always a good buy isn’t always true.

“If the only thing you can afford to is look at your house because the payments are so high you cannot furnish, travel, nor contribute to your retirement plan, then it is not a good idea,” she said.

Spann advises that if buying a home pushes your debt to income ratio over 35%, then it’s not a wise investment.


Agriculture

Waiting for agricultural investments to pay off is about as slow as, well, watching grass grow.

“Ranching and agriculture are a very long term game (think multi-generational commitment) with a ton of risk,” said Teig T. Stanley, CFP and Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse.


Entertainment production

Michael Buckner/Getty ImagesEven fan favourites get canceled.

You think this new show is going to be the next big thing? A show that’s already doing well is looking for investors? Don’t buy in.

“Leave entertainment production investments to the big players who can afford to lose a lot,” Stanley told Business Insider. “Even shows that have huge box office numbers often lose money (for the investors) in the end.”


Penny stocks

Getty Images / Spencer PlattStick with stocks in the New York Stock Exchange.

Low-cost stocks might seem like a good idea because you can buy a lot of them, but they probably won’t do you any good.

“I think penny stocks are often not a good investment,” said Capalad. “Nine times out of 10 it doesn’t work out … Often those companies end up failing, and so then your penny stock ends up being worth nothing, ultimately.”

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.