Investing money is a lot of things, but it’s rarely fun. There are exceptions, as when someone simply has a serious knack for the stock market and is fueled by the excitement. For the most part though, investing is passive, stressful, obligatory, or some combination of the three. This is one reason so many people ultimately seek out alternative investments that don’t involve the simple purchase of stocks.
Now, to be clear sound financial strategy is still the most important thing. You should never make an investment just because you think it will be fun. However, if you have some money to put toward your future, you’re in some conservative funds or portfolios, and you want to find a way to invest that you can enjoy, there are some great options to consider.
1.) Real Estate
This is the first idea that will come to mind for a lot of people considering alternative investments, and if you have the money for it it’s definitely an appealing option. The general idea is to buy a vacation home at a popular destination, use it when you like, and rent it out the rest of the time. As you might suspect, earnings from this kind of practice vary greatly depending on the property, the amount of time rented out, the initial investment, etc. However, one analysis cited HomeAway as saying that the average owner who rents out a second home collects $33,000 a year from the property.
Mind you there are expenses related to upkeep and property management, but that’s not a bad annual check. That average would make up the cost of a $500,000 property in about 15 years, and then serve as a long-term investment paying back tens of thousands every year. And you still get to enjoy the property yourself whenever you like!
2.) Startup Funding
Startup funding has been around forever, but it’s become something more people are intrigued by thanks to a combination of factors. One is the television show Shark Tank, which effectively dramatized the venture capitalist process and made it seem fun (and profitable). Another is that there’s now a multitude of sites and apps that facilitate startup funding even with people you’re never going to meet.
Basically, you can buy into companies in exchange for early access to products and services or in some cases even equity, and hope that it pays off in the long term. It’s tough to get right, but it can be an enjoyable process, and sometimes you get in on the ground floor with really cool companies – even if the investment return isn’t lucrative.
3.) Sports Tickets
If you happen to be a sports fan, season tickets for a given team can be a great investment. You can attend the games you like and sell the tickets you don’t use – often for a profit. The real trick is getting in early on a stadium or seating area that’s going to be valuable in the future.
For instance, if the NBA expands (as is rumored to be on the table in the next five years), getting early season tickets for a brand new franchise could pay off. Or you could look to a growing sport, like soccer, for a similar opportunity. The MLS has come to prominence recently as a popular league and betting market, which means if you get seats now they could be significantly more valuable in the future. You have to keep paying of course, but having access early gives you an in to keep buying the seats.
4.) Art Dealing
The art market is exceptionally difficult for investors. Indeed, if you read about ways to make money in this specific area, you’ll quickly get the sense that it’s involved and exclusive. Tips like buying from an artist’s estate, or directly from a studio are sometimes given. Basically you need to have a finger on the pulse of the art world, and you need to have money to spend on some very expensive pieces. That said, if you happen to love art and have an eye for it, it may just be the most thrilling way to attempt to grow your money. Buying art can help you to build up your own collection, and you can progressively sell off pieces for whatever profits you can work out at your leisure.