When you think about investing, you probably think about investing in the stock market. But there are a lot of alternative ways to invest your savings than just stocks, or even mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
Once you have entered the daily life of the average young adult you are introduced to any number of new investment opportunities. Some of these, like gaining more freedom and autonomy, are welcomed, but then there comes the tricky stuff, like financial and retirement planning.
If you have started earning a reasonably steady income, or regularly accumulate money from another source, you may be starting to think about ways to invest that don’t involve the stock market.
How To Find Reasonably Safe Alternative Investments?
It’s difficult to navigate the intricacies of finances on your own, but the first lesson you can learn is that there’s more to investing than just the stock market.
Some research shows that Millennials may actually be more open-minded to alternative investments than previous generations, and we already make up approximately 14.7% of investors in the United States.
There are several ways beyond investing in stocks that you can invest your money that could serve as a smart financial decision now and for further down the road.
If you feel your hands starting to sweat at the thought of making some weighty financial decisions, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But there is no better time to start investing in your future than as a young, sharp, motivated person coming into your own.
Ways to Invest That Don’t Involve the Stock Market
Not interested in the stock market? Here is a list of alternative investments instead.
Investing in farmland has long been recognized as a high-performing investment with consistent returns and low volatility. Farmland enjoys highly favorable supply and demand conditions. As the world’s population grows, our demand for food grows with it. As the primary source of our food supply, agricultural land only stands to grow in demand in the coming years.
At the same time, it is in limited and even decreasing supply. According to the American Farmland Trust, the U.S. loses roughly three acres of farmland per minute to development. That means that farmland must be preserved in order to preserve our food supply; it also means that farmland is a precious resource that only stands to increase in value.
Farmland makes for an attractive investment for many reasons. It allows landowners to earn income in two ways: first, from annual rent payments from the farmer who operates the land, and second, from appreciation over time, realized at the time of the sale. Together, these two sources of income from farmland have consistently generated average returns upwards of 10% over the past 30 years.
Moreover, farmland has shown remarkable stability. It has exhibited positive returns every year since 1990. Using Sharpe ratios to compare risk/return profiles, farmland’s score of 0.86 evidences higher returns with lower relative risk than any other common asset class.
Farmland does not discernibly correlate with the stock market, but it does tend to track closely with inflation, which is why many investors have turned to farmland as an inflation hedge.
In short, farmland exhibits many qualities that make it a very attractive addition to a fully diversified investment portfolio.
But how can you invest in farmland? You can invest in farmland with companies like AcreTrader.
AcreTrader is a real estate investing platform that makes it easy to buy shares of farmland online and earn passive income. Using some aspects of crowdfunding, AcreTrader allows investors to purchase shares in rigorously vetted farmland in the U.S. and abroad.
At the same time, AcreTrader helps farmers scale through innovative sales and leasing opportunities. AcreTrader broadens access to a previously inaccessible asset class that many investors are finding more appealing the more they learn about it.
2. Rental Property
Wouldn’t it be great if you could become a landlord of single-family rental properties without dealing with all the hassle of buying, improving, and re-selling real estate? You don’t have to be a millionaire to invest in these types of properties. You can now find your inner property owner with Roofstock.
As with any other rental property, investors earn returns from the rental cash flow and any appreciation in the property value when it’s sold, and all without painting a wall or getting your hands dirty.
There is a reason why the number of investors on its platform increased 126% last year, the sector is booming with investors clamoring to get a return outside of stocks and bonds.
If you’re interested, I recommend you sign up for more information from Roofstock by clicking here.
3. Short-Term Investments
If you haven’t already, starting a savings account with your bank, or creating a money market fund or short-term Certificate of Deposit (CD) can be a worthy investment suitable for any financial emergencies you could experience down the road.
In other words, they can serve as a sort of emergency fund, able to provide liquidity for any idle cash you have. For any short-term troubles, experts state that the ideal goal would be to shoot for funds that would be able to cover living expenses and the like for at least three to six months. Provided you have at least $1,000 or so, there is no reason not to get a certificate of deposit.
Tip: CIT Bank CDs provide a safe, secure way to grow your savings. With the CIT Bank No-Penalty CD, you get the security of an 11 month CD with no withdrawal penalty seven days or later after funds have been received. Open an account today.
4. Real Estate
One of the easiest ways to grow your money is to invest in real estate. In a recent post about the best personal finance books, we learned about Robert Kiyosaki, author of ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ who learned to quickly grow his money by making down payments for rental properties and gaining profit by selling the property later at a higher price. Unfortunately, this option does require some real estate knowledge that not everyone has.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could invest in commercial real estate and apartments without dealing with all the hassle of buying, improving, and re-selling real estate? You don’t have to be a millionaire to invest in these types of properties. You can now invest in large-scale real estate for as little as $500 with Fundrise.
Through their real estate investment products, investors earned an average of 8 – 11 percent on their money last year, and all without painting a wall or dealing with unruly tenants. There is a reason why they currently have over 200,000+ users, this real estate app really pays you! If you’re interested, I recommend you sign up for more information from Fundrise by clicking here.
Another way to invest in real estate is by buying a property and renting it out. With the ever-increasing inflation rate, rents will go up while your mortgage payments stay the same. This increases your cash flow and your rental yield as an investor.
5. Peer to Peer Lending
Did you know that you could lend out money and earn passive income? Believe it or not, you can lend out money and get paid interest on your money at LendingClub. As of recently, this has become known as great return on your money, investors have started putting their money into peer-to-peer lending companies like LendingClub.
How does it work? By lending out your own money to peers in the form of personal loans, you are able to earn interest – similar to the way that banks and other lenders produce income. This is a way to make a direct impact in the lives of people.
The best part? It’s so easy to open an account and begin investing in this passive income venture.
But, think of it like this – if you put only $345 into an investment account at Lending Club and earned 14% year (pretty easy to do at Lending Club, you’d have $180,377 saved up in 30 years! Talk about a good return on your money.
Beginning to invest in an IRA is considered one of the best ways to get started on saving for your retirement. While you may be thinking, ‘Huh? I’m young, why do I need to start saving for retirement NOW?’
The truth is, your twenties and thirties are actually the best time to start thinking about this. Got to start saving early if you want to have your golden years free of financial worry.
There are several types of IRA accounts you can choose from, even Gold IRAs, and the type you should choose may vary depending on your profession and financial history.
Many experts recommend a Roth IRA over a traditional IRA for younger people because as opposed to the latter, Roth IRAs offer tax-free withdrawals and often feature 401(k) plans. You can look at all the different types of IRAs here to see which one is best for your situation.
One alternative means of investment that has been rearing its head in economic discussions over the last few years is cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. Although, besides Bitcoin, there are actually several other varieties of this type of currency that exist online and continue to grow in popularity as the notion of cryptocurrency, in general, is starting to make more noise.
Although cryptocurrencies have been around since the late 2000s, it’s only in recent years that recognition of digital currency has reached mainstream conversation. Financial experts have had mixed reactions to it, some labeling it risky and unreliable with its previously unstable market values. But others are starting to see it as a kind of revolution in the way currency can work, and over the years it has become a highly secure option for investment.
Cryptocurrencies have received particular renown on the net as a digital currency that’s not owned by the government. This can sound either ominous or freeing, but many are calling it the “money of the future” that is rapidly gaining more popularity worldwide for painless digital transactions.
The best place to buy crypto currently is TradeStation Crypto, which allows you to buy, sell, and earn cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Cardano, Dogecoin, and Ethereum.
You can also trade equities, options, and futures with TradeStation. More people should be using the free app to start investing. Doesn’t hurt to sign up, feel out the platform, and make a small investment that can pay off big.
Safer Alternative Ways to Invest Your Money
Here is a list of safer ways to invest your money that allows you to be more liquid with your cash.
8. High-Yield Savings Accounts
This is another way to invest your money beyond just stocks. It’s much more profitable than the normal savings account. Your money can sit in there and accrue some interest until you are ready to invest in bigger and more profitable ventures.
If you are looking for a new savings account, check out our below our most updated list of the best savings accounts available to you.
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10. Short-Term Government Bonds
These are bonds with maturities of less than five years. They don’t yield much but they have lower risk and preserve capital.
You can consider investing in short-term bond funds that are made up on bonds that mature in 1 to 3 years. The holding period until maturity is low so your risk of rising interest rates which will cause the fund’s value to decrease is lower than longer-term bonds.
11. Invest In Yourself
Investing in yourself is one of the best investments you could ever make and it can take many forms: pursuing a creative project, nurturing a talent taking a course, or learning a new skill. Here are a couple of companies that offer online learning courses that you could take to jump-start your career:
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If you find it difficult to find time to take online courses, you can download them onto your smartphone and study while you’re on the go.
By working towards improving your skills and education with online courses, you get in the right habit and build your resume and fast-tracking your career.
This is a low-yielding investment that could pay as low as 3% on your capital. The advantage is that your capital is kept safe and your returns are guaranteed.
13. Donate to Charity
One of the best alternative investments is to make an impact in the lives of the less fortunate through charitable giving. Investors who are into impact investing also get tax deductions.
14. Invest in an Emergency Fund
One wise thing to do once you have money in hand is to set up an emergency fund or fund it if you already have one.
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Acorns is your guide to financial wellness. They’ll help you invest, save and spend smarter starting at just $1 per month. There’s no catch. With Acorns, you will be investing without even knowing it just by rounding up your purchases. Let your money make you money.
Investment fraud is a serious problem especially if you are considering alternative ways to invest. Fortunately, it is also something that anybody can help to combat. The better-educated investors are about what investment fraud is and how to combat it, the safer everyone is from these types of scams.
What is investment fraud? Investment fraud is a type of fraud that occurs when someone is convinced to make an investment under false pretenses. Preventing investment fraud relies on investors being able to watch out for and avoid the most common types of investor fraud.
Here are some of the simplest ways of preventing investment fraud.
There are ways to protect yourself from investment fraud scams and swindles. Here are some of the most effective ways to do it.
Fraudsters rely on people not doing their due diligence in order to be able to run scams and defraud investors. You can do a great deal to combat investment fraud just by making sure that you ask the right questions when you are making an investment. Make sure that you do independent research; fraudsters can easily falsify references and similar indicators of legitimacy.
Asking your own questions and doing your own research will enable you to root out any fraudsters quickly and avoid getting into business with them, to begin with.
Research before you invest
You should never go into business with anyone solely on the basis of information that they have given you. It is far too easy to scammers and fraudsters to present you with fake records and to lie to you. Make sure that you completely understand any business or product before you make a final decision on whether to invest or not.
You can use the SEC’s EDGAR filing system to look up any company’s financial statement. You should do this for any business that you are thinking about investing in so that you can conduct your own audit.
Check out the salesperson
You should always make extra sure that you carefully check out the salesperson who actually offers the investment to you. Do they seem legitimate or have offbeat tendencies during the conversation?
Go with your gut — even if you know this person in another context, you should still assume that they are a scammer and not think otherwise until you have proven to yourself that they are legit. If you don’t do your due diligence now, your business will be exposed to greater losses later on.
Make sure that whoever contacts you about selling securities has the appropriate license to do so in the state that they are operating in. You should also look for any evidence of run-ins with the regulators that they might have had.
Be suspicious of unsolicited offers
You should always be extra careful when you are dealing with an unsolicited offer. Ask yourself why the offer is being presented to you.
An unsolicited offer is not necessarily illegitimate, but the majority of scams will take the form of unsolicited offers and so they should always be scrutinized.
There are numerous different types of investment fraud; some are very sophisticated, and others are designed to get quick money out of greedy people. Don’t let your desire to make money blind you to an offer that seems too good to be true.
Alternative Investments Diversify Your Portfolio
Whether you’re ready to invest now or later or flat out not interested in the stock market than one of these alternative ways to invest should be your answer.
The bottom line is that some of the most common ways that millennials are investing money beyond stocks include cryptocurrency investing, real estate investing or short-term investments like Certificates of Deposits (CDs) through CIT.
You can choose how much to invest on any basis of regularity in these alternative investments, but it doesn’t hurt to save up any leftovers for later – and I imagine they’ll be much appreciated should you find yourself in need of them.
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