The stock market is likely one of the most common ways to invest – but it certainly isn’t the only way to invest.
In fact, a recent trend is seeing many investors look for alternative investments to diversify their portfolios.
And in this article, I’m going to show you the best alternative investments to grow your net worth.
In this article
Let’s get started.
Sneak Peek: Best Alternative Investment Platforms
Rental Properties 👇
Private REITs 👇
Fine Art 👇
What are Alternative Investments?
Alternative investments are investments you make in anything other than the traditional investments of stocks, bonds, and cash.
As you can see, the term “alternative investments,” is not specific and describes a very broad range of investments, such as:
- Real estate
- Private equity
- Precious metals
- Other collectibles
Typically speaking, only high net worth investors used to resort to alternative investing platforms.
For example, well-known institutions like Yale University have invested up to 77% of their endowment fund in alternative investments.
Thanks to technology and the booming financial industry, alternative investments are now a feasible investment option for regular investors (like you and me).
Why Invest in Alternative Investments?
Investing in the stock market certainly is attractive, but recent market volatility may have scared some investors and moved them over to alternative investment platforms.
In fact, about 65% of American adults invest their money in alternative investments.
One of the main reasons why American investors are moving to alternative asset classes is to diversify, where more than 4 in 10 Americans (44%) prefer alternative investment products for diversification purposes.
Remember the saying: Never put all of your eggs in 1 basket.
The same goes for your investments.
What are the Best Alternative Investments?
The best alternative investments are those that can meet or exceed their investment goals, meet your financial needs, and align with your overall risk tolerance.
Remember to do your research before you financially commit to one investment over another.
With that said, here are 15 alternative investments that can help you increase your net worth:
1. Rental Properties
Have you dreamed about earning passive income from rental homes before?
If so, you’ll love this alternative investment.
Enter Arrived Homes 👇
Arrived Homes is a FinTech investing platform that revolutionizes how virtually anyone can invest in real estate, starting with just $100.
Arrived Homes does all the dirty work for you:
- They vet the renters
- They vet the rental properties
- They do the home maintenance
- They collect the rent when it’s due
All you have to do is select which rental property you want to invest in, buy shares in the rental property and sit back, and earn passive income.
When you buy into a “share” of a rental property with Arrived Homes, you would actually be owning shares of an LLC that owns the house itself.
The only risk you would have, as far as I can tell, is losing your money should the investment go south (for example, the renter cannot pay their rent).
You could invest in houses across the United States, in places such as:
- North Carolina
There are several downsides, however, that you should keep in mind before investing your money:
- There is no current secondary market
- You are never guaranteed rental income from the home
- Your money is locked up for a relatively long time (7+ years)
As you browse through the many home offerings on Arrived Homes, you’ll see that the platform does a good job vetting its properties for investors, showing future growth projections and other important data.
What makes this an attractive investment opportunity for me is that you can earn money from both passive income (through rents paid) and from capital appreciation (property values increasing with time).
Just make sure you do your proper research before financially committing.
Here are the pros and cons to investing in rental properties:
Earn passive income
Fees are typically high (about 1% of assets under management)
Protected against liability due to the LLC ownership structure
Your money can be locked up for 7+ years
Protect against market volatility and inflation
Properties often sell fast
2. Private Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Investing in private REITs is one of the most popular alternative investments.
With REITs, you invest your money and you don’t have to do any of the dirty work (like collecting rent).
Here is what you could be collecting with REITs:
- Passive income
- Profits from a REIT sale
Just like other alternative investments, REITs can diversify your portfolio and help you earn steady passive income.
You can invest in private REITs over public REITs, and you could see higher potential returns.
Here’s why you may want to consider investing in private REITs as your alternative investment choice:
|Private REIT Pros||Private REIT Cons|
Minimal to no daily market price volatility
Typically higher fees
Typically high returns
Lack of transparency
One of the more popular private REIT options is known as Fundrise.
With Fundrise, you can become a private real estate investor for a minimum investment of $500 (which is a great deal, considering most private real estate deals begin at $5,000 to $100,000+).
Below are some stats for Fundrise:
8.76% to 12.42%
3. Small Businesses
Investing in small business ventures has always been attractive to me.
Especially because you never know the profit potential of a start-up.
If that sounds exciting to you too, then check out Mainvest 👇
Mainvest is the latest FinTech platform to roll out a way for virtually anyone to invest in your local community and help business start-ups flourish.
The business types include:
- Coffee shops
There is one main theme here:
Mainvest focuses on brick-and-mortar stores, so you won’t have access to businesses focused on software development, for example.
In the screenshot above, you can see some of the investment opportunities for Mainvest users.
Here’s why you’d want to consider investing in small business start-ups:
- Earn passive income
- Help local communities
And you can start investing for just $100.
Mainvest is the first alternative investment platform that I know that does not charge investors any fees.
Earning money with Mainvest actually is two-fold:
- You can have the business repay 100% of your initial investment
- You can earn passive income from the profits of the business (if any)
How much profit you earn really depends on your contract with that particular business as well as your upfront investment.
Mainvest provides information on each business’ investment status, as shown in the image below:
If you’re concerned about how much passive income you can earn, I’d suggest you take a look at the Investment Multiple column, above.
Depending on how much you invest, the Investment Multiple is the maximum amount of money that a business will return to you by:
- Sharing its revenue on a quarterly basis
- Repaying your investment amount
So, if your initial investment was $100 and the Investment Multiple is 2x, then the maximum you could receive is $200.
Here are the pros and cons to investing in small businesses:
Earn passive income
Your money is locked up for a long period
You support the local community
You may have an increased risk
4. Precious Metals
Precious metals are great alternative investments to diversify your portfolio – especially during tough economic times.
And thanks to modern advancements in technology, you can now securely buy precious metals directly from your phone!
One of the top-rated platforms for investing in precious metals is OneGold 👇
With the OneGold, you can buy, sell, and redeem any of your precious metal investments on a 24/7 basis.
Below is a comparison of OneGold versus investing in a precious metal ETF:
One of the biggest pros of investing in precious metals through OneGold is that you actually own the metals themselves.
Additionally, OneGold insures your precious metals and also provides storage.
Depending on your location, you could buy metals in a variety of countries, such as:
So if you’re considering precious metals as your next investment, then check out OneGold.
It’s the most efficient, cost-effective, and secure means of metals ownership.
Plus you can track prices and trade, 24/7 in one intuitive app.
5. Fine Wine
Fine wine can be a great alternative investment if you’re looking to:
- Diversify your assets
- Increase your net worth
- Protect yourself against inflation
- Protect yourself against stock market volatility
So, if you love fine wine and you enjoy making money through some of the best alternative investments, then you might want to check out Vinovest 👇
Vinovest is a new FinTech app that claims to be the world’s very first wine robo-advisor.
And, fine wine has a pretty solid track record thus far.
Check out the graph below, which shows the annual performance of fine wine from 2004 to 2020.
According to this graph, fine wine has outperformed not just the S&P 500 index fund, but also global equity markets by about 1.88% over the past 15 years.
Lastly, you’ll also notice that the chart below illustrates that wine is not correlated with the stock market.
If fine wine and the stock market were to move in the same direction (ie., when the market goes up, fine wine goes up) the correlation would be 1.0.
However, the chart above indicates that the fine wine and S&P 500 correlation is 0.12, out of a scale from 0 to 1.0.
That means fine wine and stock market investments are pretty much the opposite.
So why should you choose Vinovest over a DIY approach?
Below are some ways that Vinovest provides value, in my opinion:
- Your wine is insured
- Your wine is stored at a secure facility
- If you want to sell your wine, you have access to Vinovest’s global network
Keep in mind that you’re actually investing in a physical bottle of fine wine, not just a fractional share of wine.
Just make sure you do your thorough research before investing.
Here are the pros and cons to investing in fine wine:
Fine wine is insured and stored at a secured location
Fees are typically high
Fine wine returns have consistently outperformed equity markets over the past 15 years
Your money can be locked up for a longer period of time (20+ years in some cases)
You own the physical bottle of wine
Fine wine investing is typically unregulated
Investing in cryptocurrency could be a highly profitable alternative investment idea.
In fact, Bitcoin (one of the most popular cryptocurrencies) had an investment return of 302.8% in 2020.
That said: Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are very volatile.
Check out the fluctuations of Bitcoin’s price below.
If your finances are in order and you’re mentally prepared for the highs and lows of the crypto world, then consider checking out Kraken.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is one of the world’s largest and oldest crypto exchanges with the widest selection of digital assets.
Based in San Francisco, Kraken supports over 190 countries and has over 9 million users subscribed (and counting).
In fact, with Kraken, you’ll have access to 185+ crypto assets:
Especially if you’re a beginner when it comes to crypto trading, you’ll appreciate the 24/7 Kraken support system.
You’ll also be happy to hear that Kraken takes a comprehensive approach to protecting your investments in crypto assets and NFTs.
In fact, about 95% of all crypto deposits are kept in cold storage that is:
- Geographically distributed
- And finally, a word on fees.
Kraken fees are actually pretty low compared to competitors.
Depending on the platform you use (Kraken Pro versus Kraken), trading fees range from 0% to 0.26% (Kraken Pro) and up to 1.50% (Kraken).
7. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending (aka P2P) is another pretty nifty way to diversify your portfolio – all while potentially earning passive income!
Then again, as with most alternative investments, there is the risk of losing everything.
That’s just the name of the game.
However, P2P investing is becoming pretty popular, with roughly 26% of Americans using P2P lending services.
I’ve listed some pros and cons of the P2P alternative investments below:
|P2P Pros||P2P Cons|
High potential for profit
High loan default rate
Could be completed online
Potential source for passive income
If you want to take the leap and invest with peer-to-peer lending platforms, then I’d suggest checking out PeerStreet.
PeerStreet is arguably one of the most popular P2P investing platforms, where you can invest in real estate loans in:
- Residential properties
- Single-family properties
8. Mortgage Refinance
Although your home is not exactly a risky alternative investment, real estate does fall under the definition of alternative investments.
Especially in 2021, the real estate market is booming and it will likely continue to appreciate in the upcoming years.
Some ways you can invest in your home:
- New roof
- New windows
- Improved garden
- New air conditioning unit
Another way you can potentially save money on your home is by refinancing your mortgage.
Refinancing often helps you save money because you are lowering your interest rates on your mortgage.
Below are some tips that I have used to justify refinancing my own home back in 2020 when mortgages were so low:
- Your interest rate lowers by more than 0.50%
- You don’t plan to move within 5 years of refinancing
- You pay minimal fees (typically you should pay 2% of your current mortgage)
- For my situation, refinancing made sense – and I saved about $120 per month ($1,440 per year) by doing so.
What am I doing with the $1,440 I “saved?”
I’m investing every cent of that money!
It is my opinion that the highest return on investment will be when you invest in yourself and your education.
Your education is critical to help you get ahead.
I know that sounds grim, but I think this statement holds true.
What else would we do if we wouldn’t keep growing, learning, thriving?
We certainly wouldn’t become successful.
By learning, I don’t necessarily mean learning within the classroom.
In fact, I am a staunch believer that experience is the greatest educator.
One of the best platforms to further develop your skills is Udemy 👇
Udemy is an online platform that offers the following:
- 65 languages
- 70,000 instructors
- 40 million students
Start developing new skills today to help you build wealth and live the life you want.
10. Your Own Business
One of the best, “alternative investments” that you can make is by building your own business or side hustle.
Building your own business is probably one of the most:
…Things you can do with your life.
Take it from me, who has been building her personal finance blog over the last 12+ months, it’s not easy. At all.
In fact, 66% of millionaires are business owners.
Source: The Millionaire Next Door
The great news is that you don’t need to spend $1,000’s to become a business owner.
In fact, there are plenty of ways you can own a business, make a lot of money, and still spend very little on your business.
Below are some of my favorite examples of businesses you can build with massive growth potential:
|Potential Income||Type of Business|
$0 - $50k+
Social Media Marketing
$0 - $100k+
$0 - $100k+
$0 - $50k+
Selling Digital Products
$0 - $100k+
There are so many cool businesses you can start on the side – or for a full-time project – and have a good shot at making a lot of money.
As always, however, there is a caveat:
- It’s going to take time
- It’s going to take energy
- It’s going to take a lot of effort
Being a full-time blogger, I can tell you that I worked over 120+ hour weeks for probably 10 months straight and was paid $0.
It’s very tough and often, being a full-time entrepreneur can be demotivating because you’re putting in 110% of your effort and you’re not being paid.
11. Real Estate Crowdfunding
Real estate crowdfunding is one of the more popular alternative investments.
Essentially, you are the “bank” with real estate crowdfunding, where you loan out money to others in exchange for interest payments and then hopefully a return of your original investment.
If you want to take a shot at real estate crowdfunding, then you may want to check out GROUNDFLOOR.
With as little as $10, you can start investing in real estate projects with GROUNDFLOOR.
If you’re an investor through GROUNDFLOOR, your money will likely be used for projects like:
- New construction
Although real estate crowdfunding deals are risky and highly illiquid, you could see average returns of up to 10.5% on your investment, which isn’t too bad.
Plus, if you invest $10 and lose that money, at least it’s “just” $10 and you are a bit more experienced in real estate crowdfunding.
Best case scenario, you make money on your $10 with GROUNDFLOOR.
12. Fine Arts
If you are looking for a unique alternative investment, you may want to turn to fine arts.
In fact, a recent survey revealed 86% of wealth managers recommend investing in art.
And here’s why everyday investors are considering fine art investments:
- Beat the stock market
- Protect against inflation
- Hedge against recessions
In fact, did you know that blue chip art investments beat the S&P 500 by over 250% (check out the graph below, if you don’t believe me!):
Even better, check out the 2008 to 2010 S&P 500 performance (aka the Great Recession).
What do you see?
I see the value of art increased substantially when the stock market plummeted, so fine art can also protect you against market volatility.
So, if you’re passionate about:
- Making money
…Then check out the Masterworks art investment platform 👇
With Masterworks, you can invest in blue chip, fine art pieces worth more than $30M for just $500.
Just like any other investment app, Masterworks allows investors to buy fractional shares of fine art to beat the stock market and build wealth fast.
If there’s a profit to be made, you’ll get a piece of the winnings!
Recommended Reading: Masterworks Review
An asset that could likely give you a very high return on investment is land.
More specifically, farmland.
The increasing value of land has to do with the basic concepts of supply and demand:
- Since there is an increased number of people, the demand increases to live on land
- Since land cannot be produced, the supply of land decreases
Naturally, if the demand is high and the supply is low, the value increases.
So how can you profit from this situation?
Enter AcreTrader 👇
AcreTrader is an investment platform that is designed for accredited investors to take part and invest in farmland across the United States.
A general definition for accredited investors includes:
- Net worth of $1 million+ (excluding primary residence)
- Or, an annual income of $200,000+ (if single) or $300,000+ (if married) for the past 2 years
Investing in farmland can be pretty lucrative.
Take a look at the chart below:
The line graph above shows the growth of several different asset classes from 1990 to 2020.
Take a look at the green line, which represents the growth for farmland.
When I look at this graph, I noticed several things about farmland investing, including:
- Since 2008, farmland returns have increased significantly
- Farmland does not see much volatility, compared to other assets
- Farmland returns don’t really seem to be impacted by economic downturns (like in 2008)
While farmland isn’t the highest returning asset class (REITs are considered the best in this chart), farmland is arguably the most stable, relative to its returns.
To prove my point, check out the volatility vs. growth rate chart below:
This chart illustrates the growth rate (measured by the height of each data point) versus the volatility (measured by how far left or right each data point lies).
However, as you can see by the chart, farmland returns are in line with the S&P 500 and REITs, yet farmland volatility is much lower.
Here are the pros and cons to investing in farmland:
Helps protect against stock market volatility
Fees are typically high
Proven and consistent results
Available to accredited investors only
Earn passive income and property appreciation
Long lock-up periods (typically 5+ years)
14. Iconic Sports Collectibles
If you’ve always liked collecting things – from sneakers to sports cards – then you may want to consider investing in iconic sports collectibles.
Historically speaking, there’s a lot of profit potential, and you can make money with something that you might really enjoy!
If this idea sounds like the right fit for you, then check out Collectable 👇
Think of this platform as a place where your passion meets profit.
Some collectibles include:
- Sports cards
- Autographed memorabilia
- Sneakers from famous stars
- Sports jerseys from famous stars
Take a look at the exit price (or how much each collectible item sold for):
In fact, according to the Collectable website, the average ROI (return on investment) on the exited products was about 60%!
Here are some reasons to consider investing in collectibles:
- Potential for large gains
- Protection against inflation
Take a look at the return of the PWCC 500 (which represents the largest, most comprehensive trading card marketplace on the globe) versus the S&P 500:
As you can see, the PWCC 500 has consistently either outperformed or largely performed in line with the S&P 500 over the past 5 years.
And you can start investing in shares of collectibles for just $5.
While trading collectibles typically does not have much liquidity, the Collectable platform does offer a secondary market.
However, the prime benefit of secondary markets is increased liquidity.
You can earn money with Collectable in really 1 way: Buy and hold for the long-term (this typically is for several years)
Of course, there is a catch: And that’s the cost of the fees.
Additionally, you may have to pay additional fees if you:
- Trade on the secondary market
- Fund your account with a credit card
Here are the pros and cons of investing in collectibles:
Only available if you’re located in the US
You could earn an average of 60% ROI
1% secondary market trading fees
Secondary market is available
0% to 10% fee for sourcing
So if you’re considering iconic sports collectibles as your next investment, then check out Collectable.
Sports collectibles are an asset class with a long history of strong, stable, diversified, and inflation-protected returns.
But before you invest, always make sure to do your proper research.
15. Private Market Investments
Did you know that you can make money by investing in alternative, private market investments like:
- Fine art
- Crypto funds
- Legal finance
- Marine finance
- Commercial real estate
- Supply chain investments
If that sounds fun to you, then check out Yieldstreet 👇
Yieldstreet is an alternative investment platform for both accredited and non-accredited investors.
If you’re an accredited investor, you can invest in unique deals ranging anywhere from home dining private businesses to financing cargo ships across the globe.
Check out some of the options below:
The investment options in the screenshot are available to accredited investors only (notice the minimum investments start between $10k to $20k).
Generally speaking, you’d be an accredited investor if you earn $200k+ annually (if single) or $300k+ annually (if married) OR if you are worth $1M+ (excluding your primary residence).
If you don’t fall into the accredited category yet (read my article on how to build wealth fast here [article link] to get you there!), then have no fear!
You can invest in the Prism Fund.
Notice how the Prism Fund’s minimum investment is just $500 (versus the $10k to $20k minimums for accredited investors).
The Prism Fund is like a mutual fund, except it invests in a variety of alternative investments (legal, real estate, corporate, art, etc.).
Here’s why it could make sense to invest in alternative assets:
- Beat inflation
- Earn passive income
- Protect against recession
And why wouldn’t you want to invest in something that has a proven track record?
In the screenshot above, YieldStreet claims to have earned a net annualized return of 9.71% with over $2.5 Billion of invested assets.
Before you jump head-over-heels into YieldStreet, make sure to check out both the pros AND the cons:
Earn passive income
Long lock up periods
Diversify your portfolio
You may have an increased risk
Alternative Investments Pros and Cons
As with all good things, there are pros and cons that you should consider before investing your hard-earned money.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of alternative investments:
More difficult to value than publicly traded assets
Decreased overall volatility
Potential for higher returns
Often a higher risk
Potential for passive income
Often more volatile
Think of alternative investments as a way to further diversify your portfolio.
Ultimately, the 3 main benefits I find of alternative investments include the following:
- Growth potential
- Hedge against inflation
However, alternative investments should never be your only investment.
The stock market is not the only place you can invest your money.
In fact, there are many different alternative investments to the stock market that you can choose from to invest and grow your money for the future.
List of alternative investments include:
- Fine arts
- Real estate
- Precious metals
- Real Estate Crowdfunding
Before investing your money, make sure you do your own research and due diligence.
The short answer here is no; you do not need alternative investments to become a successful investor.
Alternative investments are typically for those people who are:
- OK to take risk
- OK with volatility
- OK to lose their money
As you can see, alternative investments have a significant downside, but they certainly have a large upside, meaning they can make you a lot of money.
The reason why I like to consider alternative investments is because of the following factors:
- Exposes me to potential gains
- Adds diversification to my portfolio
- Could make my portfolio more stable
Even though alternative investments are a great way to diversify your portfolio, I would suggest making sure you weigh the pros with the cons before you financially commit to alternative investments.
The four main types of investment alternatives may include:
- Real estate
On the other hand, the most common types of investments include:
- Mutual funds
- Exchange traded funds (ETFs)
Keep in mind that it’s probably never a good idea to invest 100% of your net worth in alternative investments.
You’ll likely want to keep a portion of your money invested in more traditional investments (like stocks and/or bonds) in addition to investing in alternative investments.
If you have your money in traditional investments like the stock market, then alternative investments could be a good way to diversify your portfolio in an effort to mitigate risk.
Alternative investments offer you (and your money) some advantages, including:
- Potential growth
- Decreased volatility
- Portfolio diversification
- Potential passive income
Of course, there are risks associated with alternative investments, and it would be crucial for you to do your research before financially committing.
Typically speaking, alternative investments are riskier than traditional investments.
Some reasons may include because alternative investments are:
- More complex
- Have higher fees
- Are more difficult to understand
- Have potential for higher returns (meaning more risk)
If an investment product has the potential for a high return, then you almost always have the potential for high risk.
Of course, with alternative investments like:
- Hedge funds
- Private equity
- Venture capital
- Structured products
…You’ll very likely have high risk, high fees, and high volatility.
Typically speaking, these types of alternative investments are used by high net worth individuals (with $1 million or more in net worth), because they can afford to take a loss if only a portion of their net worth is invested in these alternative investments.
Alternative investments can be a fantastic way to diversify your money when you already are invested in the stock market.
Keep in mind there are many other options out there, and I would suggest doing your own research as well, to become more familiar with the alternative investments market.
The key to becoming a successful investor is this:
- Invest consistently
- Invest for the long-term
- Invest without your emotions
Before you financially commit to alternative investments, make sure you understand the risks associated with some of these products, as well.
As a reminder, some of these risks include:
- Risk of loss
Personally speaking, I would never invest 100% of my money in alternative investments.
At one point, however, I’ve invested about 5% to 10% of my net worth in alternative investments specifically for the benefit of diversification.
The Bottom Line:
Alternative investments are a good option to further diversify your portfolio, mitigate investment risk, and potentially increase your future returns. Just make sure to research your alternative investment before you financially commit.
Now I’d like to hear from you:
Which alternative investment idea from today’s post are you going to consider for your portfolio?
Are you going to invest in cryptocurrency? Or take advantage of Self-Directed IRAs?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.