Deciding what kind of investments are the best for your portfolio right now is a tough call. The market has been steadily moving upward since March, and many riskier, fast-moving growth stocks have notched big returns for their shareholders. On the other hand, maybe things are moving a bit too fast, and it's time to put some money into less-risky value plays. 

If you have $10,000 to invest that you won't need for bills or potential emergencies in the next three to five years, I have good news for you -- you don't have to pick one or the other! Instead, you could invest in these four companies: two higher-risk growth stocks and two lower-risk value stocks. 

A smiling young man stands in a shower of paper currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Upwork: The freelancer's marketplace

The "gig economy" was already changing the way Americans work, and now that workforce has been further disrupted by COVID-19. Millions of people began working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, and millions more found themselves out of work as businesses shut down.

Enter online freelance marketplace Upwork (NASDAQ:UPWK). Upwork connects companies and individuals seeking freelance or contract labor with qualified freelancers and independent contractors of all kinds -- technical writers, accountants, attorneys, graphic designers, you name it. Contracts range from a few hours of work to years-long projects, at many different pay levels. 

Workers who have been laid off can use a platform like Upwork to search for freelance work that can pay the bills while they look for something permanent. Others may need to supplement their income with freelance work on the side. Meanwhile, companies with a short-term need in a specific area of expertise can find, interview, and hire someone quickly, instead of spending weeks sorting through resumes. 

In the second quarter of 2020, Upwork's revenue continued to climb. However, it's still not profitable, due in large part to the money it spends marketing its young service. So the share price took a hit last week after reporting earnings. While Upwork is going to be a risky pick until it can consistently turn a profit, it has huge potential, and the recent price drop offers a great opportunity to buy.

2. Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure: Reliable income

If you're looking for something less risky, Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure (NASDAQ:AY) is about as reliable as they come. The renewable yieldco operates a diversified portfolio of energy assets around the world, including solar and wind farms, power lines, and desalinization plants.

All of Atlantica's assets are operated on long-term regulated, take-or-pay, or fixed-rate contracts. Plus, energy generation and transmission are critical services, making them recession-resistant. Couple this with the company's geographic diversity, and you get a steady income stream to finance the company's dividend, which yields about 5.9% after a recent increase. 

Atlantica looks set to reward its investors with a solid payout for years to come.

3. Intuitive Surgical: Reaching new heights

When a company is the "undisputed leader" at what it does, you tend to think it can do just about anything in its field. However, Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) is the undisputed leader in robot-assisted surgery, and its devices can only perform a small range of elective, minimally invasive surgeries, mostly in the areas of urology and gynecology. At least, that's all the devices can do for now.

Intuitive Surgical has its sights set on offering a wider range of options, including biopsies and colorectal procedures. Beyond that, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other minimally invasive procedures in dozens of branches of medicine that could benefit from the precision and imaging benefits of Intuitive's Da Vinci surgical system.

Intuitive will likely remain the undisputed leader in this field for the foreseeable future. In July, rival Johnson & Johnson announced that it had hit speed bumps in developing its own robot-assisted surgical system, which now likely won't even begin human trials until 2022. That gives Intuitive more time to cement its dominance. Although Intuitive's share price recently hit all-time highs, this stock looks like it has plenty of room to run.

UPWK Chart

These four stocks have had very different performances so far in 2020. UPWK data by YCharts.

4. NextEra Energy: Let the sunshine in

Speaking of being the undisputed leader in one's field, energy giant NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) is one of the largest energy companies on the planet, the biggest electric utility in North America, and the largest generator of solar and wind energy in the world.

NextEra supplies electricity to about 5.5 million customers through its two Florida electric utilities -- Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power. That ensures a steady stream of cash flow. It also generates electricity, mostly from renewable sources, about half of which supplies its Florida customers. NextEra sells the rest to other utilities around the country, giving it a second cash flow stream.

All that cash helps fund growth projects, mostly new solar and wind farms, and NextEra's dividend, which management expects to increase by 10% annually through 2022. Meanwhile, the company estimates its backlog of growth projects will increase by 43.8% over the same timeframe. NextEra offers a great combination of growth and stability. 

Growth or value

Whether you're interested in growth or value, whether you thrive on risk or are risk-averse, it's important to create a balanced portfolio of stocks that you can buy and hold over the long term, with money you won't need for the next three to five years. Upwork, Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure, Intuitive Surgical, and NextEra Energy all look like solid picks to help you achieve financial success.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.