Sometimes, you just want a different type of investment. Stocks, bonds, and cash are nice when starting your portfolio, but they are everywhere. Most of the ‘alternative' investments available, from real estate to gold, are a bit rarer, although still pretty darn common. If you want somewhere truly, truly unusual to invest your money, just what sort of options are out there?
That's just what I was wondering, and so I decided to put together a list of some of the truly alternative, completely out of the ordinary and simply unusual types of investments that exist out there. I'm not going to suggest that you should invest in any of them (assuming that you are even able to do so; there are reasons that they aren't that common, particularly cost for some of them), but it's good to know just what options are out there, and possibly shake your head in disbelief at the
10 Unusual Investments Out There
1. Cars: Let's be honest, for the most part, cars are a massive money sink, declining in price from the moment you drive them off the lot, even if you keep them in pristine condition. But if you purchase a high-quality, limited-edition car and pamper it well, you might be able to get an impressive return, thanks to the desire among those with money and a desire for classic rides (particularly the wealthy in rising Asian countries).
2. Artwork: Another item popular among the well off, stylish artwork can be a good investment, as well as helping to bring your living room together. While you probably don't have the cash to buy anything from Picasso (at least until you're wealthy enough not to worry about using it as an investment), if you find a skilled artist just starting out, you could purchase artwork today that could be worth a fortune if the artist hits it big. Resist any urge to snuff the artist, though; while the value of artwork tends to increase once the artist is gone, you don't need to speed up the process.
3. Wine: No, that container of Big Jim's Box O'Wine isn't going to be a good investment. However, high quality wine that is well-preserved and in limited supply, so it can find itself in great desire (particularly with the those aforementioned wealthy in Asian countries). Just keep it under quality preservation conditions (aka, get yourself a wine cellar, if you don't have one already) and you can potentially make a tidy profit, if you resist the urge to drink it.
4. Coins: Yup, sometimes that money in your pocket is worth a lot more than the face value. Even putting aside the fact that the metal in your pennies (and nickels) is worth more than a penny, there are coins that exceptionally valuable to collectors (called numistmatists if you want to know), and they could prove an impressive way to increase your net worth. You'll need to have a good understanding of what is, and what isn't, valuable in the coin world in order to make money (as with most areas of collectibles), so while you can sort out your older coins, don't expect a huge profit from the effort.
5. Books: I'm a fan of books, so I have to include this. A high-quality book from a popular author, can derive an impressive amount of cash (even if it's a recent book, say Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). Granted, you need to have a rare edition in excellent condition (even better with a signature from the author); that mass produced, dog-eared copy you have isn't going to fetch much cash at all; probably best to make sure you have a copy to read in addition to your collectible copy. (You are going to read the book, right?)
6. Other Collectibles: I could probably fill the rest of this article with different types of collectibles that have a sizable fan base, and thus, people who are willing to pay a pretty penny (or several hundred thousand) to get them. Stamps, baseball cards, and comic books are among the most common, although these sorts of collectibles can range from classic Barbies to shrunken heads. (Which would be a whole entry by itself, if it weren't illegal now.)
7. Virtual Goods: If the thought of buying ‘real' objects doesn't appeal to you, there is another option: go virtual. With sites like Second Life and Eve Online becoming ever more popular and allowing goods and services within the game to be exchanged for real life cash and vice versa, you can consider buying items within a game and selling them to other players if you desire. This is also the first (and only) option on the list where you can build up your investments just by playing a game. (Of course, if you decide to go this route, you'll have to be sure that you stick with games that do allow you to make such exchanges; some game producers don't look so kindly on that sort of thing…)
8. In Your Peers: I'm not even sure that peer-to-peer lending even counts as ‘alternative' anymore; there are so many websites and magazines that discuss putting some cash into something like Lending Club or Prosper that I doubt this is the first place you're seeing it mentioned. Still, if you don't have anything in a P2P investing site yet, it's definitely worth considering as a means to diversify your holdings (and hey, help out someone trying to get money to reach their goals, as well).
9. In The Crowd: On the same token, it's becoming increasing possible to put money into crowdfunding and get a profit out of the deal. Some sites limit you to non-monetary compensation, but others allow you to put your cash in and, if your investment pans out, even derive a profit thanks to the equity you gain. (Plus, we're already seen the profit you can derive from having physical items if there is enough demand.) It's not a major investment type (yet), even when compared to things like ‘artwork' and ‘wine', but not a bad consideration nonetheless.
10. Pro Sports Teams: Alright, this one is truly, truly unusual, not only for the limit of teams out there but also the sizable cost associated with them. But if you have the chance to do so, you'll not only be able to achieve a goal that millions of fellow fans have, but also benefit from the merchandising and ticket sales (among other profits) generated by the team. Just ask Paul Wythes.