New Here? Get the Free Newsletter

Oblivious Investor offers a free newsletter providing tips on low-maintenance investing, tax planning, and retirement planning. Join over 9,000 email subscribers:

Articles are published Monday and Friday. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Are You A Long Tail Investor?

This is a guest post by The Digerati Life, a general personal finance blog covering topics such as 0% purchase credit cards and top credit card deals.

Long tail investing means looking outside the norm regarding potential investments.

For example, if traditional investing means opening an account with a cheap online broker and putting your money into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs, long tail investing might be any of the following:

Get into a new kind of trading: No, I’m not talking about day trading stocks. I’m talking about building a simple trading business that involves buying goods in another country and selling it in America. For instance, you can buy goods from China and find a way to distribute them in local stores.

Investing in foreclosures: With the real estate investment climate still in the doldrums, foreclosures are common. If you take your time to shop around, researching numerous different properties, you may find one with the potential for very high returns.

Buying websites: Would you consider buying virtual real estate on the web and turning it around for a profit? It may not take much to monetize such websites to help them increase their value.

[Mike's note: If I had more free time, I'd be buying defunct blogs left and right. After they quit blogging, many writers let their sites sit there (making no money), despite the fact that they continue to get traffic from search engines.]

As you can see, long tail investing is often a combination of investing and entrepreneurship.

Is Long Tail Investing High Risk?

You may think that long tail investing is riskier than traditional investing. That’s not necessarily the case. Yes, such investments can be high risk, but I’m not at all sure they’re riskier than, say, a small-cap value mutual fund — something which in many circumstances is considered to be a prudent investment.

Long tail investments have two unique risk-mitigating factors.

First, when searching for long tail investments, you have the opportunity to narrow the field to niches with which you’re intimately familiar. With large, publicly-traded companies, there’s no way to have this intimate level of knowledge unless you work for the company — in which case it becomes a terrible idea to put much of your money there.

Second, after making the initial investment, you play a direct role in the outcome via your resourcefulness and work ethic. This is quite different from stocks or mutual funds where you have no control over what returns are earned.

Finding Long Tail Opportunities

The trick is to look for niche strategies, because that’s where the undiscovered opportunities will lie. Do not simply go for the first potential investments you come across.

With this type of investing, you may stumble upon a niche that may become more widely known as time goes on. If you explore the options now, you can potentially get a good return on your investments before many other people realize what is happening.

New to Investing? See My Related Book:

Book6FrontCoverTiltedBlue

Investing Made Simple: Investing in Index Funds Explained in 100 Pages or Less

Topics Covered in the Book:
  • Asset Allocation: Why it's so important, and how to determine your own,
  • How to to pick winning mutual funds,
  • Roth IRA vs. traditional IRA vs. 401(k),
  • Click here to see the full list.

A Testimonial:

"A wonderful book that tells its readers, with simple logical explanations, our Boglehead Philosophy for successful investing." - Taylor Larimore, author of The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

Comments

  1. I have never heard of that term before, long tail investor.

    I am an beginner investor, I am really interested in web based businesses, especially blogging. My bog is still really small and the traffic is, lets say dismal. I have a lot of patience, I am willing to stick with it for a while, try to write good, relevant articles and hopefully make some money from it. I am thinking that if I can have a few websites going I can generate a bit of money from them. I like the idea about buying blogs.

    With regards to risk, any investment carries a degree of risk. If you manage the risk well then there is no reason not to invest in the type of investments you mention.

  2. Yep, that’s pretty much the trick to successful blogging:
    1) Write
    2) Market your blog
    3) Don’t stop writing.

    In other words, there’s not a lot of magic to it. Good luck!

  3. Long tail investing is definitely a pretty interesting concept. The only thing I’d add here is to be careful with long tail investing. Often these are areas we don’t know much about. Doesn’t mean they’re necessarily riskier, but we need to do our homework to make sure the investment makes sense for the amount of risk we’re willing to take on.

If you want to discuss this article, I recommend starting a conversation over at the Bogleheads investing forum.
Disclaimer: By using this site, you explicitly agree to its Terms of Use and agree not to hold Simple Subjects, LLC or any of its members liable in any way for damages arising from decisions you make based on the information made available on this site. I am not a financial or investment advisor, and the information on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.

Copyright 2013 Simple Subjects, LLC - All rights reserved. To be clear: This means that, aside from small quotations, the material on this site may not be republished elsewhere without my express permission. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy