Investing pundits, mainly financial advisors, have this “formula” for financial success that looks something like this: Invest 80% of your money into mutual funds. Over a long period of time — you’ll earn enough to retire.

There’s nothing wrong with this formula; it’s fine and works for many. But don’t believe it’s the best or the only way to save and invest. For starters, much of the reason advisors believe in this theory is because they’re naturally incentivized to do so. Most are paid based upon “assets under management” which are stock and mutual fund investments.

Yet, investing is highly personal and based upon your skills, biases, and belief systems. Look at these real examples of investors who have taken a different approach.

  • A person who invests a majority of his assets into rental properties. He has purchased one every 3 or 4 years and today, getting closer to retirement, owns 15 of them with very little debt. Voila!
  • A person who invests a good percentage of assets into “nano” stocks — or stocks with a market cap less than $50 million. He enjoys learning and reading about these fascinating companies and has been successful at it. And, yes, he understands the risks.
  • A person who invests 90% of his assets into very low risk assets such as treasury bonds, but invests 10% of his assets into much risker, higher return assets. Think The Black Swan philosophy.

This is America so you can choose to invest however you wish. Be smart — be thoughtful — and enjoy the ride. Oh, and feel free to ignore the pundits!