Avoiding the Next Crash: 10 Alternative Investments Outside of Stocks, Bonds, ETFs and Mutual Funds

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It may seem hard to imagine that it has been 10 years since the United States was in the grips of the financial crisis. The crisis is over and the bull market has continued to thrive in 2018, but this run-up in stocks is also now closing in on 10 years old. Many investors remain scared about the next market correction becoming a market crash, and there are many investors who were too deeply scarred during the financial crisis. Many investors have stayed in bonds and earned very low returns during what the history books are likely to call the “Great Recovery.”

With U.S. stocks valued at all-time highs overall, maybe those investors who still hate stocks or who think bonds pay too little should look into alternative forms of investing. This may seem like a crossover for generating additional income, but alternative investments also can generate occasional windfalls that can help the army of Americans who are short of their retirement goals catch up. There are millions of Americans who make money outside of just buying stocks or bonds. Some alternatives to traditional investing can be quite safe. Others can be quite risky or come with many complications.

24/7 Wall St. has outlined 10 alternative investing strategies that the public can use. While there may be restrictions, many forms of alternative investments may even be able to be used for retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs.

Before thinking about all the strategies that can be used outside of investing in stocks or bonds, note that not all alternative investment strategies are appropriate for every person. Those who cannot adequately pursue their strategies might just end up wasting money that they never get to see or use again.

Let’s consider what happens when it comes to retirement. No matter what, it does take money to live on even after your paychecks stop coming. Most Americans have under-saved when it comes to adequate retirement as 401(k) investments. Social Security checks also fall short of what most people need to live. And most people no longer have access to traditional pension plans.

One theme that should be more than evident here is the timing and liquidity of an asset. Investors can buy or sell stocks and most bonds in a few seconds with limited effort. Alternative investments can mean years of your capital being locked up, and there may be penalties that have to be paid to exit alternative investments.

Every form of alternative investment comes with risks, and just like in regular investing there is no such thing as a free lunch. We have included at least some of the pitfalls and risks that must be considered in each individual asset class.

Here are 10 alternative investment strategies that are not in publicly traded stocks and most bonds.

1. Property and Real Estate

You have probably heard the phrase “They are not making any more land” before. That is by and large true. Investing in real estate has helped make many millionaires in America over the years. Some land investors would never dream of buying stocks or bonds because they have done so well. Whether you are a landlord owning houses or apartments or renting to businesses, the goals are generally common: get ongoing income, having tenants pay off the mortgage or note over time and ultimately recoup a large amount of equity when the property is sold. Outside of traditional land, there is also timberland, farming, hunting leases and many other options.

The downside or cons of land and real estate need to weighed. First and foremost, it generally requires a lot of money to buy most land and real estate. Land and real estate can be rather illiquid, and it could take years to sell. Land can also sit vacant or unimproved for many years. Land owners also get to pay property taxes and often have to pay for improvements or maintenance, all of which can add up quickly and over time.