Investing Basics:
A Guide to Non-Traditional Investments

Investing for growth is a principle that applies to other types of assets that lie outside the normal realm of finances.  Some of these non-traditional investments are well known and others are not.  Here we will go over some of the common ones as well as some of the not so common ones.  Precious metals were covered separately on this site.  See that article for more information on that particular investment.


Real estate is one of the better-known investments.  The first large purpose of most adults is usually a home.  Real Estate is also a well-known income-producing asset due to the ever-increasing need for housing.   Another aspect of real estate which is often neglected, are the underlying mineral rights which in some cases can be worth more than the property itself -- especially if large amounts of oil reserves are involved.   Real estate is satisfying to some people because of the fact it is a tangible physical asset unlike most financial investment products.   Real estate continues to produce returns close to the average over the long term of the stock market.  As long as that continues it will continue to be a primary alternative investment.


Coins have been increasingly promoted as an alternative investment.  This is a valid concept for the gold, silver and platinum coins that have value based on their metal content alone.  However, the fact is that most coins do have intrinsic value.  Those that are not one of the primary precious metals are extremely susceptible to inflation.  Foreign currencies are a subset of this class of investments that offers unique protection against domestic financial trends.  As the world goes increasingly global it is easier and easier for the average investor to obtain foreign currencies with easy immediately.  Thus, it is likely that foreign currencies will grow to play a much larger role in the investment industry.


One key characteristic of an investment is that it is an entity that produces or grows on its own rather than keeping static value or losing value.  This certainly applies to intellectual property.  As the digital economy continues to grow it is likely that this aspect of the economy will continue to grow desperate the fact that the legal system is still catching up with it.  Digital assets are traded daily through various channels.  Some digital assets command values in the triple digits.  Even more amazing is the fact that most of the digital assets commanding the highest values are coming from the gaming industry.   As this continues to grow it is expected that other segments of the economy besides the recreation/leisure channel will begin to value and trade digital property.


Art and antiques have a longer history as an investment than most traditional investments.  Long before the stock market existed, prized art pieces were garnering values many times in excess of their material components.  Many antiques also maintain value easily and grow in value over time.  Corporate giant Ebay has done much to increase the value of these types of assets as an investment.  Before Ebay become a standard form of doing business for collectibles, finding a buyer for one often required inordinate amounts of time and research.   However, most owners are easily able to find a buyer and receive a respectable price simply by listing their item on Ebay and handling the transport of goods themselves.  This is one reason collectibles such as art and antiques will continue to play a larger role in the investment world.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.