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Stocks represent one of the most tried-and-true ways to invest money. Though, several other options exist outside of buying stocks on a stock exchange.

A wise investment portfolio captures several means for building wealth and preserving it once you’ve reached your financial goals.

Depending on your investment timeline, you have several options to consider. Short-term options like money market funds, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), and savings bonds exist to provide low-risk returns that aim to keep up with the inflation rate.

You might also have longer-term needs for price appreciation.

Below, we cover several long-term non-stock investments (meaning no exchange-traded funds, mutual funds or individual stocks) for you to consider.

Best Alternative Investments to the Stock Market

1. YieldStreet – Alternative Investments (Financial Securities in Real Estate, Art Finance & More)


yieldstreet sign up

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $500
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

Alternative investments have become increasingly popular as fintech services open up once closed markets to the individual retail investor. These opportunities have democratized numerous markets and unlocked previously-inaccessible cash flows to pad your income from assets.

Yieldstreet is one such platform leading the charge to provide access to income-generating assets in several asset classes.

Yieldstreet is an alternative investment platform that provides you with income-generating opportunities. These investment opportunities come backed by collateral, typically have low stock market correlation, and span various asset classes. Such asset classes include:

  • art finance
  • real estate
  • commercial finance
  • legal finance, and more.

Yieldstreet has been in business since 2015 and has returned over $600 million to its investors since its founding.

Historically, their yields range from 7-15% and have predefined payment schedules (i.e., monthly or quarterly payments). They may pay principal and interest upon the occurrence of certain events (e.g., case settlement within a legal finance investment).

The durations of investment opportunities range from 6 months to 5 years and have investment opportunities starting as low as $500.

Learn more by opening an account now for access to passive income-filled returns on your investments.

Related: 18 Best High-Yield Investments [Safe Options Right Now]

2. Percent (Private Credit Investments)


Percent Homepage

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $500
  • Type of Investor: Accredited Investors Only

Percent is an investment opportunity for accredited investors interested in accessing private credit (non-bank lending).

Percent has built a way for retail accredited investors to access a wide range of private credit opportunities with a clear view into their performance through its innovative tools and comprehensive market data.

Investors can make better-informed decisions, source and compare opportunities, and monitor performance with ease, all on the Percent network.

Additionally, investors have attraction for the alternative investment platform’s shorter term, higher yielding, and uncorrelated returns to other asset classes.

Specifically, they offer shorter-term debt  investments, with many durations between 9 months to several years, and liquidity available after the first month, if the borrower provides this option.

The service targets annualized returns on unsecured notes between 10-15% on average and up to 18%.

To participate, you won’t need to invest with an appreciable amount of capital. The service offers lower investments minimums, with most deals requiring only $500 to invest.

You can diversify your portfolio with access to:

  • small business lending in Latin America,
  • US litigation finance,
  • crypto-collateralized loans,
  • Canadian residential mortgages,
  • merchant cash advances, and more.

If this sounds of interest, getting started only requires you to visit Percent’s site and open an account to learn more.

 

3. Real Estate – Direct Ownership and Management (or with 3rd-Party)


house for sale

  • Minimum Investment to Start: Varies
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

Real estate investing is the most common method for building an investment portfolio in stock market alternatives.

You have several means for making this alternative investment to the stock market, such as:

  • direct ownership and management of the rental property or hiring a property manager,
  • investing in real estate investment trust options,
  • buying property through private placements (typically reserved only for accredited investors)
  • participating like institutional investors through private equity funds focused on alternative asset classes like rental property or commercial real estate
  • participating in crowdfunded real estate platforms (covered next).

When we talk about this stock market alternative, we mean investing in real estate directly through a financed or all-cash purchase of a rental property and finding tenants to occupy it.

However, before choosing to buy a property to rent to others, you should ask yourself a few questions, including:

  • Do you want to rent commercial or residential properties?
  • Are you interested in ready-to-rent properties or “fixer-uppers?”
  • If you don’t already own a suitable property, can you afford the mortgage on another property?
  • Do you want to rent directly or through a third-party service like Airbnb?

Before proceeding with your investment, you might consider being debt-free before you think about buying a place to rent.

Besides not having enough money upfront to pay cash for a rental property, common mistakes people make after buying property to rent include:

  • Not being ready to be a landlord (being a landlord isn’t passive)
  • Not maintaining enough cash flow
  • Being unfamiliar with local codes and ordinances
  • Not screening tenants thoroughly
  • Not collecting rent promptly

Does all of that sound like a lot of work? It is! Unless you can afford to hire people below you to work as landlords (also known as property managers), this is a very active way to invest in real estate.

Related: How to Invest Money: 5 Steps to Start Investing w/Little Money

4. Crowdfunded Real Estate


real estate investment evaluating medium

  • Minimum Investment to Start: Varies
  • Type of Investor: All Investors (Some Accredited Only)

It might come as little surprise, but numerous types of real estate investments appeal to many people for multiple reasons:

However, the hands-on factor of owning, renovating and maintaining your property and acting as a landlord deters many people from getting started.

Opportunity: Thanks to the advent of fintech, or the use of technology to enhance and automate certain financial transactions and processes, many companies now offer the opportunity to invest in real estate with or without owning property.

Currently, one of the leading (and easiest) ways to get started with real estate investing is through crowdsourced lending or purchasing.

Several online platforms cater to this investor demand by providing various service levels, investment options, and different points of investment in the real estate value chain.

This results in you avoiding any aspect you might not wish to participate in, such as owning or managing properties but still gaining exposure to these alternative investment options.

Depending on the type of investment you wish to make in real estate crowdfunding ventures, you have multiple options available to you.

One helpful service that helps you navigate through offerings found on these platforms is Millionacres’ Mogul service.

While it comes with a high price tag, the fee easily justifies itself by the potential for higher returns and tax planning assistance when you invest enough.

Risk: These apps rely on outsourcing investment selection, cost management, and overall real estate investment portfolio operation.

While these companies should only employ individuals well-experienced in this line of work, market conditions can worsen and result in poor investment outcomes even with the best investment vetting and selection.

Suppose enough of the underlying real estate portfolio sours. In that case, this could result in financial strain for the crowdfunded real estate investment app, potentially shuttering the company or forcing different financial results than expected.

This risk is not unique to crowdsourced investment platforms, however. Traditional real estate investing like that mentioned above can result in similar results.

The difference when investing through an app with others is the shared risk you bear with other investors instead of owning and managing the property yourself, bearing the entire risk and decision management.

Related: 11 Best Fundrise Alternatives [Accredited & Non-Accredited Apps]

→ Commercial Real Estate – Equity Multiple (Accredited Investors)


equity multiple sign up

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $5,000
  • Type of Real Estate Investment: Commercial Real Estate
  • Type of Investor: Accredited Investors Only

Some platforms like Equity Multiple allow you to invest in individual properties, specifically commercial real estate. Others allow you to invest in real estate property portfolios.

Equity Multiple carries a minimum $5,000 initial investment and comes with a limitation on the type of investors who can participate.

Namely, Equity Multiple only allows its individual commercial real estate projects to receive investments from accredited investors.

For those interested in learning more about Equity Multiple, consider signing up for an account and going through their qualification process.

Related: 13 Best Stock Picking Services, Sites, Advisors and Subscriptions

→ Residential Real Estate – FundRise (Accredited + Non-Accredited)


fundrise product info

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $1,000
  • Type of Real Estate Investment: Residential & Commercial Real Estate
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

FundRise allows you to choose investments in real estate portfolios or several properties in one investment. In theory, this diversifies your investment risk while simultaneously providing you access to several properties.

The most popular real estate investment platform offering a portfolio approach is Fundrise. This investment platform provides several options for you to review and invest your money. Their available portfolio options include:

  • The Starter Portfolio – This option allows investors to start investing in real estate with as little as $500.
  • Core Portfolios (Supplemental, Balanced, and Long-Term Growth) – Each of these “Core Portfolios” comes with a higher minimum investment of $1,000 and targets a different investment objective. Supplemental aims to provide additional income from real estate investing on the Fundrise platform. Long-Term Growth invests money for the primary goal of capital appreciation. At the same time, Balanced focuses on both of these investment objectives. By offering these investment portfolio options, investors can choose which investment objective best aligns with their financial goals.

 

Related: 18 Best Stock Investment Research Software & Websites

→ Multifamily Real Estate – DiversyFund (Accredited & Non-Accredited)


diversy fund sign up

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $500
  • Type of Real Estate Investment: Multi-Family Residential and Commercial Real Estate
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

DiversyFund is a widely-known and trusted platform for people looking to invest in real estate. This service caters to individuals interested in multifamily units like apartment buildings.

The service targets properties they believe will appreciate with added investment after purchase. They renovate properties with a medium-term time horizon (~5 years) and look to flip them to other investors.

This model yields investors cash returns while invested and a capital gain once sold.

The service has developed expertise in the multifamily real estate market, targeting apartment complexes containing 100-200 units that produce monthly cash flow.

You can start investing in one of DiversyFund’s portfolios for as little as $500.

Related: 36 Best Passive Income Ideas [Income Investments to Consider]

→ Fixer-Uppers – GROUNDFLOOR (Accredited + Non-Accredited)


groundfloor sign up

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $10
  • Type of Real Estate Investment: Residential Real Estate
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

GROUNDFLOOR offers short-term, high-yield real estate debt investments to the general public. The service targets fix and flips, better known as fixer-uppers for short-term debt instruments ranging between 3-18 months in length.

If you are interested in fixer-uppers but don’t have the personal expertise to select the right property, nor choose the best contractors for their value, you should consider GROUNDFLOOR.

The service aims to make an asset class otherwise inaccessible to the general public and has averaged 10% annual returns. You only need $10 to begin investing on the platform.

Related: How to Invest in Stocks [A Beginner’s Guide to Start Investing]

5. Fine Art


alternative investments art medium

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $1,000 (Masterworks)
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

If you prefer to look at paintings over jewelry, collectible art may be an investment you should consider. When looking into building wealth, not all art investments are created equal.

The art you invest in must come with certificates of authenticity.

Additionally, fine art will most likely increase in value if a well-known artist creates the piece. This applies especially to an artist who has passed away and cannot release new pieces.

Buying famous artwork on your own carries a high price tag and comes fraught with risk for those without knowledge of the industry.

To reduce your costs and risk, you may want to consider using Masterworks or a similar platform.

Masterworks allows you to purchase fractional shares of ownership of famous paintings. For example, you might have partial ownership of a painting done by Claude Monet.

Masterworks’ expert art collectors specifically choose paintings they believe will have the highest appreciation rates and lowest risk.

This is a wonderful option for people who want to invest in art, but don’t know how to find private buyers on their own, don’t have the funds to purchase these costly works of art, or aren’t sure how to store them properly.

The minimum investment to get started through Masterworks is $1,000. It should be noted that this type of asset is illiquid and can’t be sold as quickly as other appreciating assets.

If you’re passionate about art and looking for a long-term investment, you may be able to capitalize on blue-chip paintings appreciating. Sign up to learn more.

 

6. Small Businesses


mainvest sign up

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $100 (Mainvest)
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

Imagine, if you will, a small town in the heart of America. The streets are lined with quaint shops and diners that offer home-cooked meals to locals and visitors alike.

When you walk down this main street, you can feel the sense of community that fills the air. People stop by each other’s businesses to chat about their day or lend a helping hand when needed; it feels like everyone is family here. And that’s because they are, whether you realize it or not.

It’s not just one small company that provides jobs for this town; instead, every store owner has created their own business that brings joy and financial stability to those around them too. Wouldn’t you want to support such a community and see it flourish?

Well, now you can through a small business crowdfunding service called Mainvest.

Opportunity: Invest in small businesses local to you or nationwide. Have an impact investing approach to place money into businesses that drive the majority of employment in America.

Risk: These are small businesses, some of which are in their infancy. They also have exposure to risks related to public policy, such as shelter-in-place orders enacted by many states and localities as a result of the pandemic.

If you’d like to invest in small businesses, Mainvest curates vetted small business opportunities in your local community or nationwide for you to invest, track and build a portfolio of income investments.

These business ventures offer returns between 10-25% per year through revenue-sharing notes, which act as financial agreements to share revenue with investors until reaching a certain return.

Instead of charging interest rates on a traditional loan, these alternative investments offer payments.

mainvest revenue sharing notes

Mainvest is responsible for protecting investors from businesses that don’t have a firm direction or investment rationale for retail investors. The service only accepts 5% of businesses who sign up for the platform to raise capital to grow their businesses.

The platform vets these businesses to allow you to make informed investment decisions based on your own interests and investing strategy.

You can invest based on location, industry and risk appetite by comparing terms and qualitative data for the 300+ investment opportunities launched on the small business investing platform since its founding.

Consider tapping into a new kind of investment with as little as $100 on Mainvest. Start small and see how the alternative asset class performs before making it a significant part of your portfolio.

Related: How to Invest in Small Businesses [Act Local for Long-Term Gain]

7. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)


real estate investing medium

  • Minimum Investment to Start: ~$5,000 (Streitwise)
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

A REIT is a real estate investment trust, which is technical jargon for a type of real estate investment company that owns and manages real estate on behalf of a group of investors looking to earn passive income.

They’d rather hire a team to do the work and collect their regular distributions from real estate investment trusts.

One advantage to REITs is their legal structure. If REITs pass along most of their rental income earned from properties they own to investors, they pay no corporate tax. Only shareholders pay tax in that circumstance.

Opportunity: Investors can purchase REITs on the stock market just like they would any other company or equity. If you’re looking for a solid income investment, dividend-paying REITs could be your way to go.

The best REITs offer a dividend that increases regularly and can act as a source of income in the future.

Like holding dividend stocks, owning individual REITs can be riskier than a variety of REIT stocks in an index fund. Funds provide several great benefits, such as immediate diversification and safety.

You might also consider non-market-listed REITs from private companies like Streitwise. This company has outpaced public REITs regarding distributions and has a stellar track record of dividend payments.

Streitwise is a new era of real estate investing. With the capital raised by qualified investors, the company leverages the best-performing property investments into professionally designed portfolios.

With your income as their mission, the returns are distributed and serviced through an online REIT.

Suppose you’re looking to generate income while conserving cash on hand. In that case, Streitwise provides the perfect opportunity for both accredited and non-accredited investors and offers one of the lowest fee structures around.

The company has provided an 8.4% annualized return due to its superior property selection and low fee structure, far outpacing comparable Public REITs or bonds.

streitwise dividend yield comparison

Qualified investments include properties stretching primarily across America from the Midwest to the West Coast and leveraged based on Streitwise’s analysis.

By placing $5 million of their own money in these investments, Streitwise places a good deal of skin-in-the-game for all sponsors and 100% incentive alignment between sponsor and investor interests at all times.

The service has a minimum of $5,000 to begin investing in commercial real estate properties. The company provides REIT offerings federally registered with the SEC and offers them to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

Risk: Investing in REITs is an excellent low-effort long-term passive income strategy. That said, you will need to spend time analyzing the various companies they invest in, but they can be well worth it for the long term if chosen wisely.

While it is a primarily passive activity, you can lose a lot of money if you don’t know how to invest in REITs properly or don’t know what you’re doing. Much like stocks, REIT prices can fluctuate in the short term, causing volatility for your portfolio.

However, if you feel REIT investing is a worthwhile endeavor and you’d like to explore private REITs through Streitwise or publicly-traded REITs through an online discount broker like M1 Finance, you’d be in good company.

To build your passive income stream from REITs, keep reinvesting your dividends automatically to build up your position down the road when you need the income.

Related: Best Commission-Free Stock Trading Apps & Platforms

8. Invest in Farmland


land

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $10,000 (FarmTogether)
  • Type of Investor: Accredited Investors

There are other types of real estate you can invest in outside of residential and commercial properties, such as farmland.

Historically, farmland investing has only been available to the ultra-wealthy. However, with the introduction of crowdfunding platforms like FarmTogether, this high barrier to entry has been significantly reduced. The asset is widely accessible to investors of all kinds for the first time.

As one of the best income investments, farmland typically offers a steady, reliable return on investment, low correlation to traditional assets like stocks and bonds, and a hedge to inflation.

Over the past several decades, farmland has consistently yielded returns of over 10%; after all, the primary use for the land is food, and people will always need to eat.

This also makes farmland real estate particularly well-suited to appreciate over time. In fact, over the past ten years, American farmland has risen in value by more than 6% each year.

 

9. Peer-to-Peer Lending


young woman and man shaking hands medium

  • Minimum Investment to Start: $10 (MyConstant)
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

A peer-to-peer lending company is a third-party organization that operates a platform that facilitates loans between individuals.

Companies operating in this space include Prosper and MyConstant, focusing primarily on consumer loans. Previously, platforms like Lending Club dominated the space.

Prosper offers unsecured loans, while the MyConstant offers secured loans backed up by collateral.

In this case, MyConstant requires borrowers to deposit cryptocurrency to secure the loan.

Other platforms focus on businesses and offer higher borrowing limits.

Opportunity: As a lender, the interest rate you charge will determine your interest income as borrowers pay interest on their loans. These interest payments combine with principal value, meaning not all payments count to earn income through interest payments.

But because the loan could be unsecured, you face the risk of default, meaning you could end up with nothing. On the other hand, secured loans carry more significant recovery potential and thus lower risk on your part.

When considering unsecured or secured loans, you should still diversify across multiple loans to reduce your exposure to any one borrower. You can do two things to make this happen:

  • Invest in smaller amounts over multiple loans. At Prosper.com, the minimum investment per loan is $25. At MyConstant, you can invest in a pool of loans for as little as $10. You don’t fund any single loan, rather a pool of loans which borrowers access to fund their loans.
  • For Prosper, you can analyze historical data on the prospective borrowers to make informed picks and meta-analysis to identify common risk factors amongst defaulting borrowers and set your filters to avoid these borrower characteristics (e.g., high debt-to-income ratios, low incomes, etc.).

Risk: P2P lending is not a passive job. You need to carefully check to see if people are good borrowers, and you must pay close attention when payments come in.

MyConstant offers an alternative, secured model where you fund a pool of loans instead of a specific loan.

After getting a handle on both types of peer-to-peer lending marketplaces, you can reinvest your interest earnings to compound your returns and build an income stream.

This income investment can provide good risk-adjusted returns if handled carefully and skillfully.

For MyConstant, I’ve personally invested over $2,000 in their loan product and earned average interest rates between 6.0 – 9.0% annualized over my investment term.

constant loan portfolio

One thing to be mindful of, economic recessions can make high-yielding personal loans risky bets. When the tide is in, everyone floats. When it goes out, you’ll see who can’t perform.

 

10. Cryptocurrency


cryptocurrencies

  • Minimum Investment to Start: None
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

Over the last five years, cryptocurrencies have burst onto the scene as an asset class all their own. Cryptocurrency statistics show they’ve come from non-existence to a collective market capitalization of nearly $2 trillion in the last 10 years.

That represents the fastest rise of any asset class in history regarding the magnitude of returns investors have made. A remarkable rise, to be sure. But should you consider adding a position in your portfolio for cryptocurrencies?

Many millennials have stated they see Bitcoin as a better risk-off asset than gold, driving a significant rise in ownership during the COVID-19 market downturn.

The rapid rise in value likely underpins a continual interest in holding at least a small position in cryptocurrencies as we advance.

So, how can you begin investing in cryptocurrencies? Many investing apps offer the ability to purchase major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and more.

The best app I’ve found for investing in cryptocurrency has been eToro. This social investing app allows you to replicate the trades made by professional crypto traders on the platform.

You can also take up the common practice of “HODL” made famous by the crypto community, meaning “hold on for dear life.” This is a long-only focused investment strategy given the inherent warning of embracing the investment and holding through market volatility.

There’s no denying the risks of crypto investing with the wild swings and massive capital flowing into the asset class. This is why you should only consider starting to invest with a small portion of your overall portfolio in this new investment category.

Like nearly all investments, your capital is at risk, and you can lose money. Before proceeding with cryptocurrency investing, make sure you understand the risks involved.

That said, given the rampant interest seen from investors worldwide, it seems like these virtual currencies are here to stay.

One benefit of cryptocurrency comes from harvesting tax losses in your holdings and immediately reestablishing a position in the cryptocurrency.

Because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies securities, you can lock in capital losses without needing to sit out of these alternative investment opportunities.

If this sounds like something worth exploring, try opening an eToro account and making an initial deposit to begin investing in cryptocurrency.

Related: Best Investments for Roth IRA Accounts [Target High-Growth]

11. Gold


young and the invested engagement ring 1

  • Minimum Investment to Start: Varies
  • Type of Investor: All Investors

Not only are these common jewelry elements beautiful and functional (if worn), but they are also physical assets that appreciate in value over time.

Further, many award premium values to these luxury items because they have remained popular for thousands of years.

In fact, humans have always placed value in precious metals and stones, and that sees no signs of abating any time soon.

Gold tends to go up during inflationary times and during times of economic and financial stress. This means that when the U.S. dollar loses value, people turn to the security of gold and, in turn, physical gold prices rise.

You can purchase this alternative investment option directly as gold bullion or gold coins. Alternatively, companies offer exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, such as the SPDR gold trust, to invest in companies that closely track the price of gold.

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About the Site Author and Blog

In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time.  My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines.  Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.

I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity.  I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey and connect with and help others who share the same goal.

Disclaimer

I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing.  Any recommendations made by me are my own.  Should you choose to act on them, please see the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.

About the Site Author and Blog

In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time.  My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines.  Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.

I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity.  I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey and connect with and help others who share the same goal.

Disclaimer

I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing.  Any recommendations made by me are my own.  Should you choose to act on them, please see the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.