Investing 101: A comprehensive guide for investing basics

Welcome to Investing 101, a comprehensive guide designed to help you navigate the world of investing. We at Yieldstreet will provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions and take the first steps towards building a strong and diverse investment portfolio. Let’s get started!

What is investing?

Investing is the process of allocating your money into various assets, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, with the expectation of earning a return over time. By investing, you are putting your money to work with the goal of growing it, creating wealth, and achieving financial security.

Benefits of investing

Investing offers several benefits, including:

Wealth accumulation

Investing in assets that generate a return allows you to grow your wealth over time.

Financial independence

A well-diversified investment portfolio can potentially provide you with passive income, reducing your reliance on a traditional job and allowing you more freedom and flexibility.

Inflation protection

Investing in assets that appreciate in value can help protect your money from the eroding effects of inflation.

Retirement planning

By investing regularly and strategically, you can build a nest egg that will help support you during your retirement years.

5 ways to start investing

There are many investment options available, each with its own unique risk and return characteristics. Here are five common types of investments:


Also known as equities or shares, stocks represent ownership in a company. As a shareholder, you can benefit from the company's growth and receive dividends, which are a share of the company's profits.


Bonds are debt instruments issued by corporations, municipalities, or governments. By purchasing a bond, you are essentially lending money to the issuer, who will pay you interest and eventually return your principal investment.

Mutual funds

A mutual fund is a pooled investment vehicle that collects money from multiple investors and invests in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets. This allows investors to easily access a professionally managed, diversified portfolio with a single investment.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

Similar to mutual funds, ETFs are pooled investment vehicles that hold a diversified portfolio of assets. However, ETFs trade like stocks on an exchange, allowing investors to buy and sell shares throughout the trading day.

Private market

This category includes investments that do not fall into the traditional asset classes of stocks, bonds, and cash. Examples include real estate, private equity, private credit, and hedge funds.

Financial goals

Before you start investing, it's essential to identify your financial goals. These can range from short-term objectives, such as saving for a vacation or a down payment on a house, to long-term goals like retirement planning or funding your child's education. By defining your financial goals, you can develop a focused investment strategy that aligns with your specific needs and objectives.

Long-term and short-term financial goals

Your financial goals can be classified as either short-term or long-term:

  • Short-term financial goals typically have a timeframe of less than five years. Examples include saving for a wedding, a car, or an emergency fund.

  • Long-term financial goals have a timeframe of five years or more. These goals often include retirement planning, saving for a child's education, or building wealth for future generations.

Setting realistic financial expectations

When setting your financial goals, it's crucial to be realistic about the returns you can expect from your investments. Keep in mind that the stock market has historically provided an average annual return of around 10% before inflation. However, past performance does not guarantee future results, and your actual returns may vary depending on market conditions, your investment choices, and your individual risk tolerance.

Establishing an investment strategy

Once you have identified your financial goals, you can develop an investment strategy that aligns with your objectives and risk tolerance. Your investment strategy should consider factors such as your investment time horizon, initial investment amounts, and desired asset allocation.

Analyzing time horizon & risk tolerance

Your investment time horizon is the length of time you expect to hold your investments before needing to access the funds. Generally, the longer your time horizon, the more risk you can afford to take on, as your investments will have more time to recover from potential market downturns. Your risk tolerance is your ability and willingness to accept the possibility of losses in exchange for the potential of higher returns. Factors that can influence your risk tolerance include your age, income, financial stability, and investment knowledge.

Determining initial investment amounts

When determining how much to invest, consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. It's often recommended to start with a small initial investment and gradually increase your contributions as you become more comfortable with the investing process.

Building an investment portfolio with asset allocation strategies

Asset allocation is the process of dividing your investment portfolio among different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash. A well-diversified portfolio can help minimize risk and maximize returns by spreading your investments across various assets, reducing the impact of any single investment's poor performance.

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds

Mutual funds and ETFs are popular choices for new investors seeking to build a diversified portfolio. These investment vehicles allow you to easily access a professionally managed, diversified portfolio of assets with a single investment. Additionally, index funds, a type of mutual fund or ETF that tracks a specific market index, offer lower fees and often outperform actively managed funds.

Individual stocks and bonds

Investing in individual stocks and bonds can be a rewarding, albeit more complex and time-consuming, approach to building your investment portfolio. While individual securities can offer higher potential returns, they also come with higher risks. Diversifying by building a portfolio of many stocks and bonds can help protect against a loss from one particular security.

Private market investing

Investing in individual stocks and bonds can be a rewarding, albeit more complex and time-consuming, approach to building your investment portfolio. While individual securities can offer higher potential returns, they also come with higher risks. Diversifying by building a portfolio of many stocks and bonds can help protect against a loss from one particular security. Private market alternatives like real estate, private equity, and private credit can deliver differentiated sources of return relative to traditional stock and bond investments. While access was previously limited for individual investors, institutional investors have allocated upwards of 50% of their portfolios to alternatives for decades. Particularly in periods of economic uncertainty, alternatives have historically delivered stronger risk-adjusted returns, helping protect portfolios from a market downturn.

Similar to stocks and bonds, there are multiple ways you can invest in private market alternatives.

  • Individual investments: Perhaps the most common alternative investment in the U.S. is purchasing a property that generates rental income or is sold after making improvements. You can also work with an asset provider who sources and manages individual investments on your behalf.

  • Diversified funds: Investors seeking broader exposure to private markets can opt for funds of alternative investments. These may be specific to one asset class, such as a venture capital fund of startup companies, or multi-asset class.

How can Yieldstreet help?

Yieldstreet is the leading private market investing platform, helping investors diversify their portfolios with alternative assets spanning real estate, private credit, legal finance, art, and more. All opportunities are highly vetted with Yieldstreet’s investment professionals approving less than 10% of the billions of dollars in assets reviewed each year.

Wide selection

Gain exposure to a selection of curated individual investments and diversified private market funds — all in one place.

World-class managers

Yieldstreet partners with some of the most prominent asset managers to unlock investments you can’t get anywhere else.

Strong historical returns

Since inception in 2015, Yieldstreet investments have delivered a net annualized return of 9.6% across market cycles.⁶

Knowledgeable support

Easily connect with a private market investment professional.

Evolve your wealth

Create an account to get started and explore Yieldstreet investments.


Becoming an investor is a journey in which you'll learn how to navigate the world of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and alternative investments. As a new investor, it's essential to define your financial goals, understand your risk tolerance, and develop an investment strategy that aligns with your objectives. By taking the first investing steps and building a well-diversified portfolio, you'll be on your way to achieving financial success and securing your future.

1. Source: Yieldstreet. As of 6/30/2023. Past Performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Target and Realized Net Annualized Returns are calculated using the weighted average of each matured offering. Where targets were expressed as a range, the midpoint has been used. Realized and Target Net Annualized returns are calculated using an internal rate of return (IRR) calculation and only considers management fees and does not consider any additional account-level fees or expenses. Offerings Performed (%) means the percent of offerings that have performed in each category and is calculated by dividing the the number of matured offerings in the relevant category that have performed within 0.5% of their targeted return, or better, by all offerings in the relevant category that have matured. Numbers presented are rounded to the nearest decimal.

We believe our 10 alternative asset classes, track record across 470+ investments, third party reviews, and history of innovation makes Yieldstreet “The leading platform for private market investing,” as compared to other private market investment platforms.

1 Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns, or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance. All securities involve risk and may result in significant losses.

3 "Annual interest," "Annualized Return" or "Target Returns" represents a projected annual target rate of interest or annualized target return, and not returns or interest actually obtained by fund investors. “Term" represents the estimated term of the investment; the term of the fund is generally at the discretion of the fund’s manager, and may exceed the estimated term by a significant amount of time. Unless otherwise specified on the fund's offering page, target interest or returns are based on an analysis performed by Yieldstreet of the potential inflows and outflows related to the transactions in which the strategy or fund has engaged and/or is anticipated to engage in over the estimated term of the fund. There is no guarantee that targeted interest or returns will be realized or achieved or that an investment will be successful. Actual performance may deviate from these expectations materially, including due to market or economic factors, portfolio management decisions, modelling error, or other reasons.

4 Reflects the annualized distribution rate that is calculated by taking the most recent quarterly distribution approved by the Fund's Board of Directors and dividing it by prior quarter-end NAV and annualizing it. The Fund’s distribution may exceed its earnings. Therefore, a portion of the Fund’s distribution may be a return of the money you originally invested and represent a return of capital to you for tax purposes.

5 Represents the sum of the interest accrued in the statement period plus the interest paid in the statement period.

6 The internal rate of return ("IRR") represents an average net realized IRR with respect to all matured investments, excluding our Short Term Notes program, weighted by the investment size of each individual investment, made by private investment vehicles managed by YieldStreet Management, LLC from July 1, 2015 through and including July 18th, 2022, after deduction of management fees and all other expenses charged to investments.

7 Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Yieldstreet Alternative Income Fund before investing. The prospectus for the Yieldstreet Alternative Income Fund contains this and other information about the Fund and can be obtained by emailing [email protected] or by referring to The prospectus should be read carefully before investing in the Fund. Investments in the Fund are not bank deposits (and thus not insured by the FDIC or by any other federal governmental agency) and are not guaranteed by Yieldstreet or any other party.

8 This tool is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any information provided here as investment advice or a recommendation, endorsement or solicitation to buy any securities offered on Yieldstreet. Yieldstreet is not a fiduciary by virtue of any person's use of or access to this tool. The information provided here is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You alone assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of this information before making any decisions based on such information.

9 Statistics as of the most recent month end.

300 Park Avenue 15th Floor, New York, NY 10022


No communication by YieldStreet Inc. or any of its affiliates (collectively, “Yieldstreet™”), through this website or any other medium, should be construed or is intended to be a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any security or otherwise to be investment, tax, financial, accounting, legal, regulatory or compliance advice, except for specific investment advice that may be provided by YieldStreet Management, LLC pursuant to a written advisory agreement between such entity and the recipient. Nothing on this website is intended as an offer to extend credit, an offer to purchase or sell securities or a solicitation of any securities transaction.

Any financial projections or returns shown on the website are estimated predictions of performance only, are hypothetical, are not based on actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Estimated projections do not represent or guarantee the actual results of any transaction, and no representation is made that any transaction will, or is likely to, achieve results or profits similar to those shown. In addition, other financial metrics and calculations shown on the website (including amounts of principal and interest repaid) have not been independently verified or audited and may differ from the actual financial metrics and calculations for any investment, which are contained in the investors’ portfolios. Any investment information contained herein has been secured from sources that Yieldstreet believes are reliable, but we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of such information and accept no liability therefore.

Private placement investments are NOT bank deposits (and thus NOT insured by the FDIC or by any other federal governmental agency), are NOT guaranteed by Yieldstreet or any other party, and MAY lose value. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any federal or state securities commission or regulatory authority has recommended or approved any investment or the accuracy or completeness of any of the information or materials provided by or through the website. Investors must be able to afford the loss of their entire investment.

Investments in private placements are speculative and involve a high degree of risk and those investors who cannot afford to lose their entire investment should not invest. Additionally, investors may receive illiquid and/or restricted securities that may be subject to holding period requirements and/or liquidity concerns. Investments in private placements are highly illiquid and those investors who cannot hold an investment for the long term (at least 5-7 years) should not invest.

Alternative investments should only be part of your overall investment portfolio. Further, the alternative investment portion of your portfolio should include a balanced portfolio of different alternative investments.

Articles or information from third-party media outside of this domain may discuss Yieldstreet or relate to information contained herein, but Yieldstreet does not approve and is not responsible for such content. Hyperlinks to third-party sites, or reproduction of third-party articles, do not constitute an approval or endorsement by Yieldstreet of the linked or reproduced content.

Investing in securities (the "Securities") listed on Yieldstreet™ pose risks, including but not limited to credit risk, interest rate risk, and the risk of losing some or all of the money you invest. Before investing you should: (1) conduct your own investigation and analysis; (2) carefully consider the investment and all related charges, expenses, uncertainties and risks, including all uncertainties and risks described in offering materials; and (3) consult with your own investment, tax, financial and legal advisors. Such Securities are only suitable for accredited investors who understand and are willing and able to accept the high risks associated with private investments.

Investing in private placements requires long-term commitments, the ability to afford to lose the entire investment, and low liquidity needs. This website provides preliminary and general information about the Securities and is intended for initial reference purposes only. It does not summarize or compile all the applicable information. This website does not constitute an offer to sell or buy any securities. No offer or sale of any Securities will occur without the delivery of confidential offering materials and related documents. This information contained herein is qualified by and subject to more detailed information in the applicable offering materials. Yieldstreet™ is not registered as a broker-dealer. Yieldstreet™ does not make any representation or warranty to any prospective investor regarding the legality of an investment in any Yieldstreet Securities.

YieldStreet Inc. is the direct owner of Yieldstreet Management, LLC, which is an SEC-registered investment adviser that manages the Yieldstreet funds and provides investment advice to the Yieldstreet funds, and in certain cases, to retail investors. RealCadre LLC is also indirectly owned by Yieldstreet Inc. RealCadre LLC is a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Information on all FINRA registered broker-dealers can be found on FINRA’s BrokerCheck. Despite its affiliation with Yieldstreet Management, LLC, RealCadre LLC has no role in the investment advisory services received by YieldStreet clients or the management or distribution of the Yieldstreet funds or other securities offered on our through Yieldstreet and its personnel. RealCadre LLC does not solicit, sell, recommend, or place interests in the Yieldstreet funds.

Yieldstreet is not a bank. Certain services are offered through Plaid, and Footprint and none of such entities is affiliated with Yieldstreet. By using the services offered by any of these entities you acknowledge and accept their respective disclosures and agreements, as applicable.

Investment advisory services are only provided to clients of YieldStreet Management, LLC, an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, pursuant to a written advisory agreement.

Our site uses a third party service to match browser cookies to your mailing address. We then use another company to send special offers through the mail on our behalf. Our company never receives or stores any of this information and our third parties do not provide or sell this information to any other company or service.

Read full disclosure