I've been doing a lot of research into investments lately. My conclusion has been that stocks are too risky because of electronic trading, bonds are too risky because politicians are incompetent, and traditional banks have next to zero return on investment.
I had heard of peer-to-peer lending in the past, but discovered today that it is quickly becoming a legitimate investment option. Returns start at 5 percent and grow linearly as risk increases. It operates essentially the way banks are supposed to: borrow at X percent, lend at Y percent and pocket the difference for arranging the transaction. Investors get paid monthly and can cash out at any time. Seemed too good to be true, but all of my research checked out OK.
And then I saw that I can't do it because I live in Maryland. I can, however, take out a loan this way, which seems inconsistent. Are the politicians protecting me from losing money? Are they protecting the traditional banking system? Are they simply afraid of new things? Is the prohibition even constitutional? The Securities and Exchange Commission seems to be OK with it, so it can't be that much worse than the garbage Wall Street has been peddling lately.
In any case, this is money I earned and I should be able to spend it on any stupid thing I want. Yet it seems that Annapolis would rather I blow it on a giant television, a lavish wedding or (ideally) the slot machines at Arundel Mills than use it to help someone turn their lives around by consolidating their credit-card debts.