Forget the Past, Buy the Future

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Consistent and reliable money can be made by investing in companies that have proven themselves time and time again. With dividends and large market caps, they are stable and dependable.

But how do you make the really big money? I mean the money that can really set you up down the road. Well of course, you buy the future!

Another alternative would be to buy into the Elon Musk ETF.

But seriously, investing in the future is the high-reward investment strategy. But as we all know, the higher the reward, the higher the risk.

Sometimes when you're trying to invest in the future, you may feel late to the party when in fact you're not. Take Apple ( AAPL) for instance.

Back when Apple shares were trading at $250, many investors felt they had missed the boat. Then the stock ran to $700. Recently, shares were at $500, a "mere" 100% return for investors who bought shares at $250.

The steepest hurdle for investing in the future is distinguishing fad from solid trend. You never want to be "that guy" who buys into hype only to watch it fizzle.

So, you need to look for rising sectors and ideas that have the potential for long-term success.

One solid trend is health and wellness. Companies such as Whole Foods Market ( WFM) and Fresh Market ( TFM) have seen strong growth as consumers are willing to pay up for healthy, organic and non-GMO foods.

Other companies that benefit from interest in health are sports footwear and apparel retailers such as Under Armour ( UA) and Nike ( NKE). Nike makes the FuelBand, a wearable device that tracks physical activity and is similar to the FitBit.

Another area that has been receiving lots of attention is social media. There's even a social media ETF, the Global X Social Media Index ETF ( SOCL). Although some investors have started to talk about a potential "bubble," this group has found tremendous success by monetizing mobile.

The Twitter IPO could offer plenty of future growth opportunity, as the company has successfully figured out mobile and is becoming an established real-time news feed.

Facebook ( FB), LinkedIn ( LNKD), Twitter and many more likely will continue to see future gains, as the shift to mobile continues to drive revenue for these platforms that register hundreds of millions of users.

Another area of interest is 3D printing. Many people quickly dismiss this as a fad, but honestly, it serves an important purpose. Businesses can save significant time and money by printing out prototypes instead of having to manufacture them.

There's not yet huge demand from individual consumers yet, but businesses can reap benefits from using printers from companies such as 3D Systems ( DDD) and Stratasys ( SSYS), the two big players in the industry.

The margins on the printers and materials are huge.

Lastly, going green has been causing a stir. Everything from electric cars, solar panels and cleaner fuels has been in play. This is actually a very large category.

When I say cars, sure Tesla Motors ( TSLA) comes right to mind, but don't forget about Cummins ( CMI), which is making the natural gas truck engine, significantly reducing the recurring costs and carbon footprint of using diesel fuel.

There are so many things happening around us, and yes, money can and will be made by investing in what's working right now. One certainly shouldn't neglect blue-chip stocks in one's portfolio.

But it's also worth doing some homework, looking at some new industries and risking a bit of one's capital on them.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL.

-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter. Focuses on short-to-intermediate-term trading opportunities that can be exposed via options. He prefers to use debit trades on momentum setups and credit trades on support/resistance setups. He also focuses on building long-term wealth by searching for consistent, quality dividend paying companies and long-term growth companies. He considers himself the surfer, not the wave, in relation to the market and himself. He has no allegiance to either the bull side or the bear side.

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