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7 Odd Investment Ideas

Stocks, bonds, forex, mutual funds... everyone knows about these investment tools. And very few are the investors who can really make good returns. Trading stocks is not as easy as some sales pages make it sound, most mutual funds are run by idiots who don't care about your money, and you don't want to know the number of forex traders who committed suicide. Really.

So why don't we break the pattern? There are other ways to invest money that are not mainstream, and surprisingly often work much better than the conventional ones. You may call them odd. So be it:

1. Tea and Cocoa

cup of tea

Tea and cocoa powder don't expire. If stored properly they can be still good after 10 years. Now check any price chart on the web and you'll see that tea price has doubled and cocoa price - tripled in the last 10 years. Not bad, eh? At first you may think that storing tea or cocoa at home is insane - how much space will you need? Well, not that much. At $20 per kg you can store $2,000 in 100kg. That's not an option for huge investment, but you can do it without much hassle. And best of it, even if the price goes down, you can always just use that cocoa or tea.

If you want to invest larger amount you may consider commodity trading, cocoa futures or investing in growing tea.

2. Honey

Similar to tea and cocoa powder, honey never expires (if properly stored). At $10 per kg you'll need 100kg to invest $1,000 but that's just 70 large pots.

Honey price has raised 10 times for 30 years (1970 - 2000). So in theory buying a ton of honey now can almost secure your retirement after 30 years.


More seriously, if you want to invest more money you can consider investing in honey bees. You'll help the nature as well.

3. Wine


Investing in wine is less odd because many people do it. Still it's definitely not a conventional investment method. The great thing about wine is that (if properly stored) it also doesn't expire, and even gets better with the time. You know, old wine can be a lot more expensive than new wine. Some old bottles of wine can cost $10,000 or more per bottle. Imagine buying a bottle high class wine today for $50 and selling it for $500 10 years later. That's not impossible, and the return is 1,000%! And because there are expensive wines you don't need to store thousands of bottles at home. 100 bottles finest wine can be used to invest from $1,000 to $10,000.

Of course there are options not to store the wine yourself. There are wine investing funds which work just like mutual investment funds. Not only they will remove the hassle of storing the wine yourself, but will also eliminate the risk to drink it. And that's serious risk if you ask me.

4. Trees

There are several ways to invest in trees. The most popular is often referred as investing in timber and is known to bring steady ROI of 10% - 13% per year for a long period of time. 13% per year compounded makes more than 1,100% for 20 years which means $10,000 invested today can make $220,000 after 20 years. Not bad really.

Autumn Trees of Tenterfield

Another less popular but also very good option is to buy a plot of land and grow fruit trees on it. It requires some (little) work but when the trees grow and start giving fruits you can sell the fruit garden at much better price than the land costed. Or if you wish you can sell the fruits and get into the agricultural business.

5. Patents

Patents are only for the old machine

If you prefer something with higher risk, you can consider investing in patents and intellectual property. If the patent you buy is weak or the market is not interested in it, you are screwed. However if... if it "works" there is no limit to the ROI you can make. It can be millions of percents.

To reduce the risk many investors and entrepreneurs build a patent portfolio thus hoping that at least some of the patents they own will make good returns. Even then patent investing remains a risky business.

6. Stamps

Rare and valuable stamps usually don't lose their value. The returns are slow but steady - you can expect anywhere between 5% and 10% ROI per year. The real risk in stamp investing is not that the price will go down but that you may buy fake stamps.

On the other hand, stamps are very easy to store, don't take much space and don't ever expire (not in a human lifetime at least). They are not a very exciting investment vehicle but can be nice part of your well diversed investment portfolio.

Postage stamp - Mark

7. Water

Water Skiing

Yeah, sure, why not invest in air!

Well, I'm not kidding. There are exchange traded funds for investing in water. Maybe clean water is given to you but it's not the same for everyone in the world. And things are getting worse. That's why many of the water investing funds are expecting annual returns of 15% per year for the next 5 - 10 years. That's not bad at all for you as an investor.

If you are not keen in financial instruments and funds you may prefer a real way to invest in water. Think about investing in water infrastructure! It takes work and larger amounts of money but the returns can be huge.

Any other odd investment ideas you have?

Published at Feb, 17 '11 , Read 13827 times.

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User comments:

Conservative Investor at Mar, 07 '11 05:17
Some interesting ideas - Especially Honey - I've heard it has a very long shelf life!
Reply to this comment
Chris at Oct, 25 '13 12:53
I wonder what the risk/return ratio is on these investments. You also need to consider the liquidity. Some of these may be good long term investments but when it comes time to sell, it may take time to find the right buyer. Trading stocks using the largest social trading network at will help find good liquid investments.
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