What Are the Different Types of Alternative Investments?

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Investors looking to diversify their portfolios beyond stocks and bonds may consider alternative investments. Alternative investments are those that fall outside the traditional asset classes of stocks, bonds, and cash. This includes investments in real assets, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital, commodities, and derivatives.

Real Assets

Real assets are tangible investments that can be owned, stored, and traded. These investments include physical assets such as real estate, art, and precious metals. Real estate investments are often made through real estate investment trusts (REITs) or other real estate focused investment vehicles. These investments are often considered to be a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty.

Hedge Funds

Hedge funds are alternative investments that are typically managed by professional money managers. These funds are not subject to the same regulations as traditional mutual funds and can use more aggressive strategies. Hedge funds can invest in a variety of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, and derivatives.

Private Equity and Venture Capital

Private equity and venture capital are two types of alternative investments that involve investing in private companies. Private equity firms invest in mature companies, while venture capital firms invest in early-stage companies. These investments often carry a higher level of risk than other alternative investments, but can also offer higher potential returns.


Commodities are physical goods such as oil, gold, and wheat that are used to produce other products. Investing in commodities can be done through a variety of methods, including futures contracts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and commodity-focused mutual funds. Commodities can provide a hedge against inflation and can be used to diversify a portfolio.

Alternative investments can provide investors with an opportunity to diversify their portfolios beyond stocks and bonds. While these investments can be risky, they can also offer higher potential returns. It is important to research the different types of alternative investments and understand the associated risks before investing. By doing so, investors can make informed decisions and maximize their potential returns.

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