Many of us have heard financial advisers or 401(k) plan administrators describe an aggressive investment strategy as a good choice for young investors who have time to ride out the ups and downs of the market, while those closer to retirement are encouraged to choose safer, more conservative options. But what makes one investment more "aggressive" than another?
The term aggressive investments refers to investments selected for their potential to increase the value of an initial cash outlay; that is, their potential for growth, as opposed to their ability to provide financial stability or predictable dividend income. Along with the prospect of higher returns, aggressive investments also carry a higher-than-average risk of losing some -- or all -- of the money you invest.
The dot-com boom of the late 1990s and the subsequent crash in the early 2000s gave us an extreme example of the potential benefits and risks of aggressive investing, as investors rushed to capitalize on the market's fascination with new technology companies and make a quick return on their money. For every investor who made millions on the quick rise of AOL or Yahoo, there were many more who saw their investment portfolios decimated when the market bottomed out [source: Beattie].
Of course, not every aggressive investment is a reckless investment. Growth is a necessary element of any long-term investment strategy, and the level of risk varies from one aggressive investment to the next. Read on to learn about 10 aggressive investments for everyone from the beginning investor to the serious trader.