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The goal of investing, put simply, is to grow your money into even more money.

More specifically, though, people invest their money so their assets appreciate at a higher rate than they would sitting around in savings accounts or money market funds.

How much you can expect to earn from any investment will vary widely, but it’s pretty easy to beat a savings account, which even now averages less than 1% annually. Even high-yield savings accounts throw off about 4% or 5%, and many investments can easily surpass that.

But what if your goal is a much higher return—say, 10% or more?

The good news is: That’s an achievable bar. The bad news is: 10% returns don’t exactly grow on trees. You’ll need to choose wisely, and a little luck never hurt anyone, either.

To help your chances, I’ll point you in the direction of some of the best places to look if you want a great return (10% or more) on your investment.

How Do I Earn a 10% Rate of Return on Investment?

dividend growth appreciation cash growing

To be clear: There is no such thing as a guaranteed 10% return on investment. In fact, there are very few investments that guarantee any sort of return.

Still, there’s plenty you can do to improve your odds of getting a generous return.

The most basic goal for any investment is to buy low and sell high. Time can help you do that. For almost all types of investments, the longer you can hold it, the more valuable it can become. That happens for any number of reasons—time allows a company to grow larger, it allows interest to compound, it even allows fine art and wine to become rarer.

So, if you’re looking to earn a 10% rate on investment, here are some of the best places to look:

1. The Stock Market

stock market chart trading investing brokerage account

Stocks are fractional pieces of ownership in companies that allow you to share in their profits. When you buy stock, you hope that over time, as the company’s market value grows, investors will be willing to pay more for that stock, allowing you to sell for a profit. And in some cases, companies also make cash payments to shareholders, called dividends, that add to your returns.

The “stock market” is just an umbrella term that covers all of the various exchanges on which publicly traded companies’ stocks are sold. You can’t really invest in the “stock market,” but you can invest in individual stocks, or—using funds, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)—you can invest in whole groups of stocks.

For example, one popular group of stocks is the S&P 500—an index that tracks the collective performance of 500 of the largest companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. When people wonder how the stock market is doing, they look at the S&P 500’s performance as a proxy.

The S&P 500 has produced an average annual total return (price plus dividends reinvested) of 10.3% since it was founded in 1957. So clearly, not only can you earn 10% from stocks—over the long term, that’s exactly what investors have earned.

Unsurprisingly, S&P 500 funds are an investment portfolio staple—literally trillions of dollars are invested in S&P 500-linked funds.

Just keep a few things in mind:

  • That’s an average return. Some years, the S&P 500 has returned more. But some years, the S&P 500 has returned less. And in a few years, the S&P 500 has actually lost value.
  • Different groups of stocks will produce different returns. The S&P 500 looks very different than the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average, which looks very different from the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which includes shares from thousands of companies.
  • Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. None of us know how the economy and stock market will look a day from now, let alone a year or decades from now. Yes, the S&P 500’s historical return shows that the index is capable of producing 10% returns, but that in no way has any bearing over what comes next. It could return more. It could return less. It could even lose money. (And the same goes for any other investment.)

Still, stocks remain one of the most highly recommended sources of investment returns. From financial advisors and wealth managers to your dentist’s friend’s sister, most people would tell you that if you’re looking for a source of high return, you should invest in the stock market.

And remember: If you’re just starting out, you’ll need a brokerage account or individual retirement account (IRA). Consider opening one through these top investment apps for beginners.

Don’t know where to start? Consider Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Whether you’re new to investing or just don’t have time to do diligent research on potential stock investments, stock picking services can help you put your money to work.

Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor isn’t just one of WealthUp’s best-rated stock services and investment newsletters—it has also elevated my personal portfolio’s overall return. My results have outpaced the broader stock market. It’s a superior investment research tool that identifies companies that should lead their respective industries for years to come.

Related: How to Get Free Stocks for Signing Up: 13 Apps w/Free Shares

2. Publicly Traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

reit real estate investment trust

Real estate investing provides a wide range of benefits, including diversification, less correlation with the stock market, and income. And investors have several ways of tapping the opportunities of property ownership.

Perhaps the easiest route is to own shares of real estate investment trusts (REITs).

REITs are a special type of business structure for companies that own (and sometimes operate) real estate. And not only have these businesses averaged 10% to 12% annual returns over time (depending on the study), but they’re particularly sought-after by income-focused investors.

You see, REITs receive federal income tax breaks—in exchange for distributing at least 90% of their taxable income back to shareholders in the form of dividends. The result? REITs typically yield well more than the broader market. For example, a popular REIT ETF—the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ)—currently yields well more than twice as much as the S&P 500 right now.

Real estate investment trusts typically will hold dozens if not hundreds (or even thousands) of properties. Most REITs will invest in properties related to a certain industry—say, commercial real estate, apartments, hotels, industrial parks, even driving ranges—though some hold a variety of different properties. And you can buy publicly traded REITs exactly how you would any other stock—with a couple clicks of your mouse.

Related: 13 Best Stock Trading Apps & Platforms [Free + Paid]

3. Private Real Estate

real estate investing strategies medium

While publicly traded REITs are an excellent way to hold real estate, they’re not the only way. Private real estate tends to be a lot less correlated with the stock market, making it a sought-after source of diversified returns that can help keep your performance aloft even if stocks are struggling.

If you can afford it, you could always buy and run a rental property. That said, directly owning real estate isn’t for everyone. It’s prohibitively expensive. It’s complicated—many landlords end up having to hire real estate property managers to help run the business. And real estate accounting can be a nightmare.

Indirect private real estate is another matter entirely.

Financial technology has made it much, much easier for you and I to invest in private real estate. Now, thanks to real estate crowdfunding platforms, large groups of individual investors can combine to invest in apartment buildings, commercial real estate, and other properties—allowing each investor to commit far, far less capital than what would be required to buy a property on their own.

A pair of WealthUp’s favorite solutions for investors who want to tap the potential of private real estate:

Best Real Estate Investing Platform
Best CRE Investing Platform for Accredited Investors
Minimum Investment: $10. Fees: Fundrise: 0.15% annual advisory fee. Fundrise Pro: $10/mo. paid monthly, or $99/yr. paid annually.*
Minimum investment: $5,000.
Best Real Estate Investing Platform
Minimum Investment: $10. Fees: Fundrise: 0.15% annual advisory fee. Fundrise Pro: $10/mo. paid monthly, or $99/yr. paid annually.*
Best CRE Investing Platform for Accredited Investors
Minimum investment: $5,000.

* We earn a commission for this endorsement of Fundrise when you sign up, with no additional cost to you.

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

4. Fine Art

classical painting museum art masterpiece

Believe it or not, fine art can be an excellent, high-return investment.

For instance, Masterworks claims that contemporary art, as an asset class, returned 13.8% annually on average between 1995 and 2021, topping the S&P 500’s 10.2% annualized return. And art finance firm Fine Art Group claimed last year that its assets outperformed the S&P 500, 14%-11.9%, over a 10-year period.

Still, blue-chip art by the likes of Picasso or Monet can be prohibitively expensive—most investors simply can’t afford to buy individual pieces of investment-grade art. And even those who could afford a high-end piece of artwork would still need the facilities to properly store it, pay to ensure it, and have the proper connections to sell it for a profit.

However, tech platforms have made these investments more accessible than ever.

Masterworks, for one, allows non-accredited and accredited investors alike to purchase fractional interests in expensive pieces of art, for much more reasonable sums. If your application is approved, you can buy partial shares of ownership of artwork created by the likes of Andy Warhol, Banksy, and more.

Related: 12 Best Investment Opportunities for Accredited Investors

5. Fine Wine

best wine investing apps connoisseur sommelier notes alternative investment

Fine wine is another collectible that can deliver high returns.

To be clear: Wine’s long-term track record is closer to the high single digits, but it has enjoyed periods of 10%-plus performance, including across the past 15 years.

The investment rationale is fairly straightforward:

  • As the amount of wine from specific years and regions diminishes, the value goes up.
  • Wine isn’t directly correlated with the economy and can hedge against inflation.
  • If nothing else, in the event your wine doesn’t sell, you can still drink it.

Fine wine has many of the same problems as art—some bottles might be prohibitively expensive, storage and insurance aren’t cheap, and finding buyers on your own can be a chore. You can negate most of these issues through a tech platform like Vinovest, however.

Vinovest ensures wine authenticity, stores it for you, ships it to buyers when you’re ready to sell, and even allows you to take physical delivery of wine.

Vinovest Managed accounts help you build a wine portfolio and even allow you to discuss investment strategies with an advisor. They’re primarily maintained by Vinovest experts and the platform’s artificial intelligence algorithm. You can also opt for a Trading account, where you choose what to buy and sell, and the prices at which you want to try to buy and sell. But I only suggest using this account if you’re an experienced wine investor.

Want to learn more? Visit Vinovest and sign up today.

Related: 5 Best Wine Investing Apps & Platforms [It’s a Cellar’s Market]

6. Small Businesses

small business stock art

They say one of the best investments you can make is in yourself. And I happen to think they’re right.

If you have a knack for business and some money to get started, creating your own business—while quite difficult—also has an extraordinarily high ceiling. Many people start new businesses based on a new or differentiated product or service they’ve created, but the truth is, you don’t even have to come up with something new or novel to start your own firm. For instance: If you’re an expert in your field, you can start a consultancy and profit as you share your knowledge with others.

However, if you don’t feel like walking down the entrepreneurial path, you could also consider investing in other small businesses.

Webstreet, for instance, provides access to a more difficult-to-reach industry: online firms—from content websites to micro-software-as-a-service (SAAS) businesses to even Amazon storefronts.

WebStreet’s investment process is fairly simple. You review open funds and determine which one(s) you want to invest in. You invest at least the minimum required, and you become a fractional owner of each underlying business. You’re entitled to a share of gains from any profitable business exit, and you’ll typically receive quarterly distributions, too..

Just note that WebStreet is available only to accredited investors, with a required minimum investment of $60,000 in each fund.

Related: 10 Best Micro Investing Apps [Small, Automated Stock Trading]

7. Peer-to-Peer Lending

peer 2 peer stock art

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, at its literal definition, is when an investor gives an individual or business a loan, much like a bank would. Some people and companies either can’t secure a loan from a bank, or could but at usurious terms, and that’s a gap peer-to-peer lending helps fill.

The investment thesis is easy: You receive interest on the loan, as well as eventual repayment.

Doing this on your own, of course, is fraught with landmines. You have to evaluate every borrower’s risk of default. You likely need a significant amount of capital to lend in the first place. And you have to figure out how to enforce the terms of the loan.

You can reduce many of these risks by considering a peer-to-peer lending investment platform. P2P lending platforms not only do most of the grunt work for individual investors, but some enable you to invest with less capital by allowing you to fund just a portion of a loan. Just note that many P2P lending platforms aren’t FDIC-insured, so if the company behind the platform fails, you could lose all of your investment.

Related: 14 Best Discount Brokers [Low-Cost Online Brokerage Accounts]

8. Gold + Other Commodities

Barrick Gold GOLD stock

Gold, other precious metals, and nonmetal commodities are another investment with the capability of providing double-digit returns across different periods of time, even though their historical averages are a bit lower.

For instance, between 1971 and 2022, commodities broadly delivered average annual returns of 8.3%, and gold specifically returned 7.8% on average. But consider this: According to Barron’s, between August 1976 and September 1980, gold returned an annualized 56.3%, sprinting past the 10.8% average returns of the S&P 500.

Commodities can also offer low correlation with the stock market, meaning they too can provide differentiated returns.

They’re mighty difficult to buy directly, however.

With metals like gold and silver, you can at least buy them in coins and bars, though it’s a bit more difficult than simply clicking a couple buttons in your browser—plus you have the same issues with storage and insurance costs, as well as finding a buyer, as you do with other physical alternative investments such as wine and art. And purchasing some commodities is downright impractical: Imagine trying to deal with drums of oil and bales of hay.

“Honey! Do you mind if we drain the swimming pool to store a few thousand barrels of black gold?” Something tells me that conversation won’t end well.

If you want exposure to commodities without the hassle of owning the real deal, you might try commodity ETFs, which you can buy in traditional investment accounts.

Commodity ETFs work in a number of ways, but the two most common are:

  • Spot ETFs: Funds that are backed by the physical commodity. For instance, many gold ETFs actually hold bullion in vaults. Because they’re invested in the underlying commodity, these funds tend to track the spot price pretty faithfully.
  • Futures ETFs: Funds that hold commodity futures contracts. These might not necessarily track the price of the commodity as faithfully as spot ETFs, but they can be more cost-effective and even produce better returns than the underlying commodity.

For investors who merely want exposure to the profits of commodities, ETFs can do the trick. But if you want the security that comes with holding tangible assets, you’ll have to buy the physical commodity itself.

Related: 3 Best Energy ETFs for Beginner Portfolios

9. Junk Bonds

credit debt investment bonds watch

A bond is effectively a loan that an investor makes to a business, government, or other entity. When an investor buys a bond, the borrower promises to pay back the original principal after a certain amount of time, as well as interest, which is usually made in regular payments until the bond is paid back.

Bonds are historically known for providing safety, not performance. Bond prices aren’t nearly as volatile as stock prices—most of the return you’ll typically get will come from that interest. So most bonds (Treasuries, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, and many corporate bonds, among others) just won’t do.

Still, if you’re looking for a high return, you might want to look toward junk bonds.

Bonds are categorized in a number of ways, but one important way is their creditworthiness. Credit ratings agencies evaluate both bonds and issuers, and provide a range of grades that help investors know how likely they are to be fully repaid with interest. But broadly, those grades fall into two lumps: 1.) investment-grade bonds, and 2.) below investment-grade bonds, otherwise known as “junk.”

Junk bonds vary in quality, but the general idea is that there’s some risk of a bond not being repaid. So, why would anyone invest in them? Well, in exchange for that higher risk, issuers must pay higher yields compared to what’s paid on better-quality debt.

Naturally, you might be wondering how you can cut down on some of that risk. The quick-and-dirty answer is: buy a junk bond mutual fund or ETF. These funds will buy hundreds, if not thousands, of junk issues, virtually eliminating the risk that any single junk default will deal a major blow to your portfolio. Junk bond index funds in particular can give you that diversification for very small fees.

Just set your expectations appropriately: Junk bonds have indeed produced 10%-plus annual returns during several years in the past, and that could easily happen again in the future. But over the long term, their returns tend to average out to the mid-single digits.

Related: 13 Best Stock Trading Apps + Platforms for Beginners

10. Paying Off High-Interest Debt

erase debt

What if I told you that many Americans have a sure-fire way of earning a 20%-plus return on their money?

Well, given what I said about guarantees, you’d naturally be pretty skeptical. But if you have high-interest debt—like, say, what you owe on a credit card—paying off that debt could be one of the savviest investments you’ll ever make.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have $10,000 kicking around. You also have $10,000 in credit card debt at a 21% APY (the national average).

Scenario 1: You could invest that $10,000 in the stock market. 

Let’s say you happen to earn the stock market’s long-term average of around 10%. Well, 10% of $10,000 is $1,000, so you would earn $1,000 on your investment.

Scenario 2: You could pay off your $10,000 in credit-card debt. 

If you didn’t pay off a dime in principal on your credit-card debt this year, you would accrue $2,100 in interest this year. So if you took that $10,000 and paid off your entire credit-card bill, you would save $2,100 in interest payments. (The figure would actually be larger since the outstanding balance compounds each pay period, not just annually.)

This doesn’t work with all debt. If you have low-interest debt—say you’re only paying 3% interest on your auto loan—then from a purely mathematical perspective, you’d be better off putting your money in any number of investments than paying off that auto loan. Forget stocks; right now, you could beat that in high-yield savings and money market accounts.

But remember: Money isn’t always about the numbers—sometimes it’s about psychology, too. If you “make” less money by paying off your auto loan, but you gain the peace of mind knowing you won’t lose your car should anything happen to your job, that might be a worthwhile tradeoff for you.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of Young and the Invested. He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.