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One of the cruelest ironies of investing is that it’s psychologically easiest to buy stocks at the worst possible time. It’s pleasant to look at all the green numbers and jump in while everybody’s confident that nothing could possibly go wrong. Besides, you’ll have the crowd on your side: analysts, pundits, and retail investors will all say you’re making a smart move.

Of course, they won’t reimburse you for your steep losses when the green numbers turn blood red. Heck, they won’t even apologize or admit they were wrong. You’ll be just another victim, the proverbial bag holder – and you’ll have given away your money to the few who know how to allocate during market highs.

In order to avert this fate, you’ll need to think differently. I’m not telling you to stay out of the stock market completely; after all, as I like to say, there’s always a bargain somewhere. Just know that it’s perfectly fine to have some of your portfolio in cash for a little while, with the intention to buy your favorite stocks at much more favorable prices.

In the meantime, you can start looking at large-cap stocks that pay a generous dividend; that’s a great way to generate income from solid companies with plenty of capital on hand. Some examples would include:

  • AT&T (T), the long-standing telecom giant with a $234 million market cap and a healthy 6.4% dividend yield
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY), an international oil and gas exploration and production company offering a 6.1% dividend yield
  • Newell Brands (NWL), the parent company of well-known consumer brands like Sharpie, Mr. Coffee, Elmer’s, and RubberMaid; they provide shareholders with a 6.4% dividend yield
  • Macerich Co. (MAC), a real estate investment trust (REIT) which owns 51 million square feet of real estate, much of it in regional shopping centers, and which boasts a huge 9.1% dividend yield
  • Marlboro and Skoal parent company Altria Group (MO), which owns a 10% stake in beer company Anheuser Busch Inbev and made a $1.8 billion investment in Canadian marijuana producer Cronos Group, and which offers a rock-solid 6.4% dividend yield

Courtesy: Altria Group

Altria’s inclusion on the dividend kings list was intention, because that leads me to my next point: invest in diversified companies. Altria’s stakes in the tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and e-vapor industries are the mark of a company committed to diversification, which is an absolute must if you’re going to invest at market highs.

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And speaking of diversification, who says that you have to invest solely in mega-cap stocks? If you’re a bona fide bargain hunter, you might consider exploring the gold and silver miners as well as the royalty and streaming companies that provide financing to the miners.

Or for a true growth industry, check out the ever-widening selection of cannabis stocks – and don’t limit yourself to U.S. stocks, as there are plenty of great Canadian cannabis companies with explosive price potential. Plus, you may find companies with exposure to the international legalized cannabis markets, which are likely to expand dramatically in the coming years.

Courtesy: Euromonitor, S&P Global Ratings, BBC

If you’re a believer in hard assets, then the stock-market highs shouldn’t bother you at all because gold, silver, and other metals are priced for perfection. Even better, they’re trending upwards out of a multi-year bear market, which I see as a sign that the commodities winter has thawed and springtime for gold and silver is upon us.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum aren’t strongly correlated with the major stock-market indexes – and, much like gold and silver, this so-called “alternative investment” has been recovering strongly from last year’s price pressure. As I see it, with stock-market valuations so high, it pays to think outside the box and concentrate on non-correlated assets instead of limiting yourself to traditional investment avenues.

So yes, it is possible to invest even when the stock market is at all-time high levels. It just takes a non-conformist mind-set and a touch of creativity – assets that, over the long run, will pay off big-time.

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