Investing can feel like a mine field if you’re not familiar with all of the terms and options. You know you should be investing your money smartly, but what options are out there other than 401ks and mutual funds?

The general rule of thumb with investing is that, no matter what you choose to invest in, you should start right away. Set aside part of your income as soon as you possibly can and start putting your money to work.

One of the worst things you can do is let your money sit in a savings account. If the interest rate in your savings account is too low – and most are – you’ll actually lose money every year, because your savings won’t keep up with inflation.

So where should you invest?

It’s always a good idea to put some money in safe bets like 401ks and/or IRAs. These run-of-the-mill investments don’t have big returns, but they’re very stable. Having some money in a stable place is always a good idea, especially if you work for a company that will match your contributions.

That said, the further away you are from retirement, the more risks you can take. That doesn’t mean you should invest in lottery tickets, but it does mean that you can look at options with higher risks and higher potential rewards like mutual funds or individual stocks. Of course, watching a stock you just bought plummet into the ground is no fun, but neither is watching your savings bond appreciate at 1% each year.

Fortunately, there is a middle ground that offers exceptional returns with only moderate risk – real estate.

You’ve probably never heard of an IRA mogul, but you have heard of a real estate mogul. Investing in real estate is relatively safe, because property almost always goes up in value substantially over the long haul. And property values can go up very quickly if you’re in the house flipping business.

Of course, flipping houses is a full-time career that isn’t for everyone, but you can still profit from house flipping and other types of property investments indirectly through trust deed investing.

Trust deed investing is a way to invest in loans that are backed by real estate. Investing in trust deeds essentially boils down to acting like the bank for professional property investors. A trust deed investor offers their capital to a real estate investor for a short term at a high (by bank standards) rate. The real estate investor uses that money to flip a house, and then pays back the loan plus interest in full, usually within a few years or less.

At ZINC Financial, trust deed investments bring annual returns of 11-14% on average with 99.3% on-time performance.

How do you get started with trust deed investing? The easiest way is to either work with a broker or to partner with a private money lender that offers trust deed investments directly (ZINC Financial is the latter).

To learn more, visit or download our free e-book on trust deed investing.