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Stock Market Got You Down? No Problem, Find an Alternative

Everyone has lost money this year. I bet you can name on one hand the folks you know who haven’t been punching themselves in the face for all that time and money spent on investing intelligently last year. I know a few people who have sat and watched as their IRA’s dropped over $50k this past year and who knows when these numbers are going to fully recover. The advice you hear everywhere from top investors is that now is a great time to buy because prices are so low there’s really no where lower they could possibly move. That’s encouraging in an awkward way. The other advice I’ve heard is just forget the whole thing and find other ways to invest besides the American markets because of their current unpredicatability and downward trends. Sounds great to me, but the next question of any solid, logical investor is, “where?”

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Prosper.com has been around since the 90’s and has been labeled an “ebay” of sorts for loans. It has been one of the first and most successful models for peer-to-peer lending and it’s still going strong despite the credit crunch that has absolutely screwed borrowers and sent lenders running to Forex or global markets for safety. I have personally given over 100 loans to various borrowers across the country and am currenlty boasting a modest 22.87% APY which is not bad considering anything over 10% is considered a fairly good investment. You’re lucky if you break 1% on real estate and 4% on money markets. Forget the banks altogether, they won’t even give you a half of a percent for your hard-earned coin.

If you’re looking for somewhere else to hide your bankroll until the recession fizzles and the stimulus package clears in your checking account, this is the place. Thorough credit information is displayed for each potential borrower and there is even a spot on each listing for the borrower to write directly to you, the lender, and appeal to your emotion. “I need a cat because my last one died and I gave it a funeral for $3500 which I need to pay back.” While sobbing and wiping your face of tears, you can simply place an amount to lend in a box and click enter to loan that person as little as $50 to pay back those heartless cat funeral administrators. If nothing else, you’ll find some good stories.

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