Exploring Alternative Investments: Pros & Cons

Are you sick of the same old ways to spend your money?

Do you want to find new ways to make more money?

Alternative trades are all you need to know about. These unique and unusual choices can be very helpful, but they also come with their own risks and things to think about. In this article, I'll dive into the world of alternative investments and talk about some examples, benefits, common misunderstandings, and ways to keep track of them. By the end, you will know more about how to evaluate these items and add them to your portfolio. So, let's get started on this exciting road to financial growth and diversity!

Key Takeaways

  • Adding alternative investments to your portfolio can provide diversification and potentially higher returns, but it's important to understand the risks and complexities involved.
  • Alternative investments can provide diversification, potentially higher returns, and tax benefits, but they also carry higher risk and should be approached with caution.
  • Alternative investments have risks such as complexity, illiquidity, high fees, and speculative nature, making it important to carefully consider them and consult with a financial advisor.
  • When evaluating and incorporating alternative investments, it's important to determine your investment goals and risk tolerance, research different types of investments, evaluate fees and liquidity, consider tax implications, and consult with a financial advisor.
  • Misconceptions about alternative investments include the belief that they are only available to ultra-high-net-worth investors and that they are too risky.
  • Monitoring your alternative investments involves increasing your knowledge, evaluating your portfolio regularly, and drawing a personal financial roadmap.

Understanding Alternative Investments

Most people think of stocks, bonds, and cash when they think of investment. But there are a lot of other ways to spend that can give you more options and maybe even better returns. Alternative investments are those that don't fit into the traditional types of investments.

They include a wide range of things like real estate, commodities, private equity, hedge funds, art, antiques, and cryptocurrencies.

Diversification is one of the most important parts of a good investment plan, and different investments can be a big part of that. By adding alternative investments to your account, you can lower your risk and maybe even make more money.

But it's important to know that alternative options have their own risks and difficulties.

Types of Alternative Investments

Private equity or venture capital, hedge funds, managed futures, art and antiques, real estate, commodities, and physical assets are all examples of alternative investments. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn't usually have as many rules about these products, and they are often hard to sell.

Here are some of the most popular alternative investments:

  • Real Estate: Real estate is a popular alternative investment that can provide both income and capital appreciation. This can include rental properties, commercial real estate, and real estate investment trusts (REITs).
  • Hedge Funds: Hedge funds are private investment funds that are managed by professional portfolio managers. They can invest in a wide range of assets and use a variety of investment strategies, such as short selling and leveraging.
  • Private Equity: Private equity investments involve buying and holding ownership stakes in private companies. These investments tend to be illiquid and require a long-term commitment.
  • Commodities: Commodities are physical goods that are traded on commodity exchanges. They can include precious metals, agricultural products, and energy.
  • Art and Collectibles: Art and collectibles can be valuable alternative investments, but they can also be risky. These investments require a deep knowledge of the market and can be difficult to value.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that use encryption techniques to regulate the generation of units and verify the transfer of funds. They can be highly volatile and risky.

The Pros and Cons of Alternative Investments

Alternative investments can help you diversify your portfolio and give you the chance to make more money, but they also come with their own risks and challenges. Some pros and cons of alternative investing are as follows:


  • Diversification: Alternative investments can add diversification to your portfolio and potentially reduce risk.
  • Potential for Higher Returns: Alternative investments can offer higher returns than traditional investments.
  • Non-Correlation: Alternative investments typically don't correlate to the stock market, which means they can provide a hedge against market volatility.


  • Complexity: Alternative investments tend to be more complex than traditional investments and require a deeper understanding of the market.
  • Illiquidity: Alternative investments tend to be less liquid than traditional investments, which means they can be difficult to sell.
  • Higher Fees: Alternative investments tend to have higher fees and minimum investments compared to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds.

Avoiding Scams and Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

When looking at alternative options, it's important to stay away from scams and ways to make money quickly. Alternative investments that are legal can help you diversify your wealth and maybe even make you more money, but there are also a lot of scams out there.

Here are some tips to help you avoid scams and make smart business choices:

  • Do Your Research: Before investing in any alternative investment, do your research and make sure you understand the risks and potential rewards.
  • Check Credentials: Make sure the investment manager or firm is licensed and registered with the SEC or other regulatory bodies.
  • Avoid High-Pressure Sales Tactics: Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics and promises of guaranteed returns.
  • Don't Invest More Than You Can Afford to Lose: Only invest money that you can afford to lose. Alternative investments can be risky, and there is no guarantee of returns.

Examples and Benefits of Alternative Investments

Examples of Alternative Investments

Alternative investments are financial assets that are not stocks, bonds, or cash. Here are a few examples of different investments:

  • Real estate: This can include physical property or real estate investment trusts (REITs).
  • Private equity or venture capital: These are investments in private companies that are not publicly traded.
  • Hedge funds: These are investment funds that use alternative investment strategies and are only available to accredited investors.
  • Managed futures: These are investments in futures contracts, which are agreements to buy or sell an asset at a future date.
  • Commodities: This can include gold, silver, and other precious metals.
  • Cryptocurrency: This is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security.
  • Collectibles: This can include art, antiques, and other valuable items.


Diversification is one of the main perks of investing in things other than stocks and bonds. Alternative investments usually offer a wide range of markets, tactics, managers, and investment styles to choose from.

They don't have anything to do with the stock market, so they can be used to diversify a portfolio and help keep it from being too volatile.

This can help lower the general risk of a portfolio and boost returns.

Increased Performance

Investing in alternative assets could lead to better performance, which is another possible benefit. Even though you can't be sure of returns, alternative assets have the ability to give much higher returns than traditional assets.

A study called "The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870-2015," which looked at the performance of 16 advanced countries over 145 years, found that alternative investments have done better than traditional investments in the past.

But it's important to remember that alternative trades are often more risky and based on speculation.

Tax Benefits

Traditional investments don't always offer tax perks, but some alternative investments do. Because of how many alternative investments are set up, buyers get to keep more of their profits. In a lot of private alternative investments, investors become part-owners of the fund or syndication, which means that they get the tax benefits immediately.


Even though alternative options can be good in some ways, it's important to remember that they often have higher risks and aren't right for everyone. Before making any investments, it's important to talk to a financial adviser.

When looking at alternative investments, it is also important to stay away from scams and plans that promise to make you rich quickly.

Instead, you should focus on legal ways to spend that can help diversify a portfolio and maybe even increase returns.

Risks and Considerations of Alternative Investments

Alternative investments are getting more and more popular among investors who want to diversify their portfolios and possibly make more money. But before putting money into alternative options, you should be aware of the risks.


Alternative investments are risky because they can be hard to understand. Unlike standard investments like stocks, bonds, and cash, alternative investments usually require more research and may have complicated legal and tax issues.

Also, they are not controlled and don't have to report to anyone, which can make it hard for investors to figure out how risky they are.


The fact that alternative investments are hard to sell is another risk. Many alternative investments are not traded on public markets and may be hard to sell, which can make it hard for buyers to get their money when they need it.

High Fees

Also, fees for alternative investments are often higher than fees for standard investments, which can reduce returns. Also, many alternative investments have high minimum investments that not all buyers may be able to afford.

Speculative Nature

Lastly, alternative investments are often risky, and they can be very risky, leveraged, and changeable. Investors could lose all of their money or a big chunk of it. Before investing in alternative investments, you should carefully think about these risks and talk to a financial advisor who has experience with them to see if they fit with your investment goals and how much risk you are willing to take.

Asset Classes

Hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, and natural resources are all good examples of alternative assets. Before putting money into alternative trades, you should know what you want to achieve and when you will need money.

You should also think about how much danger you are willing to take, how much you care about taxes, and how much cash you need.

Performance Evaluation

To figure out how well alternative investments are doing, you can use measures and KPIs that are unique to each asset class. For example, the profits of a hedge fund can be compared to a market benchmark.

It is important to look at alternative investments on a daily basis to see if your portfolio needs to be changed.

Evaluating and Incorporating Alternative Investments

Investors who want to broaden their portfolios beyond stocks and bonds are turning more and more to alternative investments. These types of assets, such as commodities, real estate, cryptocurrency, art, and wine, offer more diversification, the possibility of high returns, and less correlation with standard investments.

Before adding these products to your portfolio, it's important to understand the risks and costs that come with them.

Evaluating Alternative Investments

When thinking about different investments, it's important to know what you want to get out of your investments and how much risk you can handle. Find out about the different types of alternative investments, their risks and returns, the fees and availability of each one, and how it will affect your taxes.

A financial adviser can also help you figure out if the investment fits with your goals and how much risk you are willing to take.

When deciding between different options, it's important to keep your goals in mind and know how much cash you need. Keep in mind that you may have to give up some liquidity in exchange for the promise of more variety and high returns.

Before engaging in these assets, you should think about how much money you have and what you want for your family.

Incorporating Alternative Investments

Before you add different investments to your portfolio, you should first decide what you want to achieve with your investments. Diversification and increasing returns are the two main things that buyers try to solve for.

Given these goals, it's sometimes clear which investments to choose, since some of them have a clear, main purpose in a portfolio.

For example, private equity can give you better returns, and real estate can help you diversify your portfolio and bring in money. Also, it's important to look for investments that offer more than just set income.

Interest rates and inflation are likely to be higher in the coming years than in past economic cycles.

This could hurt stocks and bonds.

The relationship between stocks and bonds may stay high, which means that bonds may not be as safe as they used to be.

Alternative investments can help balance a portfolio, protect against inflation, and even bring in money.

Why Real Estate is a Must-Have in Your Alternative Investment Portfolio

If you're looking to diversify your investment portfolio, real estate is a great option to consider. Not only does it offer potential for long-term appreciation, but it can also provide a steady stream of passive income through rental properties.

Investing in real estate can be done in a variety of ways, from purchasing physical properties to investing in real estate investment trusts (REITs) or crowdfunding platforms.

Each option has its own unique benefits and risks, so it's important to do your research and consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

One of the biggest advantages of real estate as an alternative investment is its ability to hedge against inflation.

As the cost of living increases, so do rental prices and property values, making real estate a valuable asset to have in your portfolio.

So, if you're looking to save money and diversify your investments, consider adding real estate to your alternative investment portfolio.

It may just be the key to achieving your financial goals.

For more information:

Real Estate Savings: Tips & Benefits

Misconceptions and Monitoring Alternative Investments

Misconceptions about Alternative Investments

People often think that only investors with a lot of money and businesses can make alternative investments. Even though some types of funds may only let qualified buyers or accredited investors invest, there are other kinds of investments that give access to other types of investments.

Also, different types of buyers can be interested in different kinds of alternative investments.

Alternative investments are also thought to be too dangerous and not worth the risk. Alternative investments may not be right for every investor because they have a unique risk-return profile and complicated investment characteristics.

However, they can help a portfolio by making it more diverse.

Before putting money into alternative investments, buyers should take a look at how risky their entire portfolio is.

A third myth is that buyers should avoid alternative investments that are hard to sell quickly. In truth, the fact that some alternative investments aren't easily sold can be a good thing for a portfolio.

For example, alternative strategies that aren't in daily-liquidity vehicles are less likely to be forced to sell holdings quickly and at a lower price than standard mutual funds.

Last but not least, some buyers think that hedge funds and private equity funds are the same thing as alternative investments. Alternative investments include hedge funds and private equity funds, but there are also many others, like real estate, commodities, and infrastructure.

Before putting money into alternative investments, it's important for investors to understand the different kinds and what makes each one special.

Monitoring Your Alternative Investments

If you have invested in different assets, it is important to keep up with how they are doing. Here are some ways to keep an eye on your non-traditional investments:

Increase Your Knowledge: One way to stay informed is to learn more about the alternative asset types you have invested in. Find nearby investors you can talk to, take classes online or at a local college, buy books on the subject, and join online groups for people with the same interests as you.

If you know more about your investments, you will be better able to make choices.

Review Your Investment Portfolio: Another way to stay up-to-date is to regularly review your investment portfolio. By rebalancing your portfolio based on your investments or the date, you can keep your asset mix and risk level where you want them to be.

You should also think about how much risk you are willing to take and make sure that your investments are part of the answer and not the problem.

Your earnings can go up if you spread out your investments and keep an eye on fees.

Draw a Personal Financial plan: Finally, you should draw a personal financial plan and think about your long-term financial goals. This will help you make smart choices about your investments and make sure they fit with your financial goals, how much risk you're willing to take, and how long you have to make money.

Final analysis and implications

Alternative investments, in the end, can be a great way to add variety to your stock and possibly make more money. But before getting in, it's important to know the risks and things to think about. Before making an investment choice, don't be afraid to do your research and talk to experts.

Don't forget that saving money is important, but so is putting your money to work for you.

Alternative investments may offer chances that traditional investments don't, but they also need a different way of thinking and a different way of doing things.

Don't be afraid to think outside the box and include non-traditional investments in your overall investment plan.

At the end of the day, the best way to spend is to stay informed, stick to your plan, and keep your eye on your long-term goals.

Whether you choose to use alternative investments or stick with more traditional ones, the most important thing is to stay true to your own investment philosophy and make choices that fit with your values and goals.

So, feel free to look into alternative investments, but do so carefully and with a good dose of skepticism.

Remember that there is no one way to spend that works for everyone.

What works for one person might not work for another.

Stay interested, keep an open mind, and never stop learning.

Who knows, you might find a new way to spend that will change your finances for the better.

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Links and references

  1. Encyclopedia of Alternative Investments edited by Greg N. Gregoriou
  2. Handy Investing Previous text Book by Paul A. Tucci and Lita Epstein
  3. KPMG report titled "Alternative Investments 3.0"
  4. ufl.edu
  5. investopedia.com
  6. ft.com
  7. sec.gov

My article on the topic:

Exploring Investment Options: Tips & Risks

Personal reminder: (Article status: rough)

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