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Forget gold, Bitcoin and buy-to-let. Here’s how I’d invest £20k in 2020 to achieve financial freedom

If you have £20,000 to invest in 2020, you have no shortage of investment options. Gold, cryptocurrencies, buy-to-let property and stocks are just some of the assets you could put your money into.

Yet realistically, some assets are likely to deliver stronger long-term returns than others in the years ahead, so it’s important that you invest your money wisely. With that in mind, here’s a look at why I’d avoid gold, bitcoin, and buy-to-let as we kick off the new decade, and where I’d invest £20k instead.

Gold

While gold can be effective as a hedge against uncertainty, I wouldn’t want to invest a large chunk of money in the precious metal. The main reason I say this is that gold doesn’t generate any earnings or income. As Warren Buffett says, gold “doesn’t do anything but sit there and look at you.”

Sure, the gold price could keep rising in 2020. But it could just as easily fall if sentiment towards the yellow metal deteriorates. Just ask those who bought gold in 2011 and are still sitting on losses today.

Cryptocurrencies

While many people believe that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a ticket to riches, personally, I’m not convinced. Not only are cryptocurrencies impossible to value and notoriously volatile, but there’s now also a great deal of regulatory uncertainty in relation to the asset class. Major regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are cracking down hard on crypto-assets. Ultimately, as a long-term investment, cryptocurrencies are unproven so I’d leave them alone.

Buy-to-let

In the past, buy-to-let property was an easy way to make money. However, in my view, that ship has sailed. For starters, house price growth has stalled. And with Brexit uncertainty lingering, I think lower house price growth could persist for a while.

Secondly, the government has really cracked down on buy-to-let recently. Stamp duty surcharges have been introduced while mortgage interest tax relief has been phased out. Additionally, there’s now a heavy weight of regulation that you have to deal with as a landlord. All things considered, buy-to-let now looks far less attractive than it used to.

How I’d invest £20k this year

So, how would I invest £20k as we start the new decade?

Personally, I’d put my money into the stock market. More specifically, I’d invest in two main types of stocks:

  • High-quality FTSE 100 dividend stocks that have attractive long-term growth prospects, such as Unilever, Diageo, and Prudential, in order to create a passive income that grows every year 

  • Internationally-listed growth stocks such as Apple (Warren Buffett’s top stock), Microsoft, and Google, as well as smaller UK companies such as Boohoo for capital gains 

Of course, I’d invest my capital within a Stocks and Shares ISA (which has an annual allowance of £20,000) so that all my gains are entirely tax-free. And I’d drip-feed my money into the stock market over time, to reduce the risk of investing at market highs.

Ultimately, I believe this two-pronged, tax-efficient approach, which has the potential to deliver a fantastic mix of capital gains and passive income over time, is the best way to achieve financial freedom. 

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Edward Sheldon owns shares in Unilever, Diageo, Prudential, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Boohoo. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Alphabet (C shares), Apple, Microsoft, and Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended boohoo group, Diageo, and Prudential and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.