79 Alternative Investment Platforms to Earn Stronger Returns, Build Cash Flow, and Diversify Your Portfolio

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I’ve been excited about alternative investments since my early days as an aspiring real estate investor and peer-to-peer loan shark.

If you’re bored/scared/disillusioned with the “traditional” stock market and mutual fund asset classes, or if you just are curious what else is out there, this post is for you.

The cool thing is we’re living in a golden age of alternative investment opportunities, and it was quite an undertaking to compile these options.

My curiosity in this stuff stems from the question: “What’s the best way to grow money?”

Investing is a way to paid over and over again from work you do once. Or at least that’s how I’m coming to look at it.

Before You Invest

Disclaimer: This article is NOT investment, tax, or legal advice, nor is it a solicitation for investment. I have an affiliate relationship with some of the companies listed below.

Please do your own due diligence when evaluating any investment opportunity, and know that “alternative” doesn’t necessarily mean “better,” since individual needs and goals vary.

There are a number of factors to consider before making any investment, including an “alternative” one. Those include:

  • Your current financial situation. Some of these investments are only open to high net worth or high income individuals.
  • Your near-term money needs. Is there a chance you’ll need the money for a major purchase in the near future?
  • Your investment goals. Are you looking for passive income? Long-term appreciation? Tax advantages?
  • Your risk tolerance. Is this “play money” you can afford to lose? Or is this a retirement nest egg you’re counting on?

Net Worth Theory

This would also be a good time to share my “net worth” theory of investing. That is, with any new investment, I’d recommend starting with a small sliver or your net worth, and increasing your holding over time as you feel more comfortable.

Don’t know your net worth?

It’s just assets – liabilities, or what you own minus what you owe.

For a free tool to track all your accounts in one place and get a snapshot of your net worth, you can’t go wrong with Empower.

Once you’re set up, you can check out cool (and nerdy) allocation recommendations like this:

personal capital real estate allocation

Based on my profile, Empower is recommending around 10% of my portfolio in “Alternatives” — which included real estate.

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Alternative Investment Categories

This post is broken into several different “alternative” asset classes, which are then broken down into their openness to accredited and non-accredited investors.

(Accredited investors, in the US at least, are people with a net worth of $1 million or more excluding their primary residence, or who earn $200,000 a year as an individual or $300,000 a year as a married couple.)

You can see some of my top options in each of the categories below, or check out this cool free tool to filter to the ones that are the best fit for you.


Real Estate Investing

Real estate investing comes in many forms, including wholesaling, traditional rentals, house hacking, and everything in between.

Over the last few years, I’ve been increasing my real estate holdings as a percentage of net worth (shooting for around 20% long-term) — and that’s mostly taken the form of public (like Vanguard’s VNQ) and private (like Fundrise, below) REITs.

I like the cash flow and the diversification that comes with owning several properties instead of the liability that could come with just one direct investment. Let’s just say I’ve been burned in the past!

You may not consider real estate “alternative,” but new platforms and technology are opening up new ways to participate in the real estate industry with less work.

For Non-Accredited Real Estate Investors


Fundrise was my first foray into alternative real estate investments. They have several “eREITs” that own or hold professionally-vetted and managed investments in commercial properties all around the country.

The platform is open to all investors with a $10 minimum and has historically paid dividends every quarter.

(Disclosure: I’ve been a Fundrise investor since 2015. When you sign up through my referral link, I earn a commission. All opinions are my own.)

fundrise homepage

What appealed to me with Fundrise was the quarterly cash flow, low minimums, and being automatically diversified in not having to pick-and-choose individual deals. I also like the management team’s long-term vision and strategy in the properties they invest in.

YouTube video

Check out my full Fundrise review to learn more.


A newer entry, Arrived lets you buy fractional ownership of income-producing rental properties. With minimums of just $100 per property, it’s a way to benefit from real estate investing without a huge down payment or other management headaches.

arrived homes

At press time, it looks like you have to pick and choose your deals. Some investors may like that granularity, though I’d love to see a fund option for easy diversification.


Groundfloor is a revolutionary player in the private lending crowdfunding space because for a couple reasons. First, their platform is open to non-accredited investors, and second, the minimum investment is just $10 per project.

groundfloor short term real estate loans

You pick and choose the deals you want to invest in, and there’s no REIT option at the moment. I made my first loans on Groundfloor earlier this year and will report back on how they perform.


Roofstock is the leading marketplace for “turnkey rental” properties, single family homes that already have tenants and property management in place.

roofstock rental properties

With as little as $20,000 down, you can begin building your real estate empire. Most Roofstock investors are out-of-state buyers, drawn to the platform seeking more attractive investments than they can find in their home market.

If the 1% rule isn’t realistic in your neighborhood, you might find opportunity being a long-distance landlord and generating gross yields of 6-15% based on the listings on their platform.

It’s a slick site to browse and compare deals across multiple states.


RealtyMogul was one of the first real estate crowdfunding sites I came across, and they have two REIT options that are open to non-accredited investors with relatively low minimum investments (starting at $5000).

However, at press time, their REITs currently only have 10-11 properties in them, which doesn’t seem particularly diversified. These funds currently pay 4.50-6% annualized distributions on a monthly or quarterly basis.

For accredited investors, the platform also offers private lending deals with minimums ranging from $25,000-50,000.

Other Real Estate Options for Non-Accredited Investors

  • HomeUnion provides turnkey rental property search and acquisition services in several markets.
  • Doorvest will help you buy and manage out-of-state rental property. The fees are higher here, but they guarantee the rent gets paid.
  • YieldStreet – A $1000 minimum can get you into YieldStreet’s “Prism” fund that includes not just real estate, but also art, financial contracts, and more.

Real Estate Options For Accredited Investors


Invest in America’s farmland with AcreTrader, starting with $5000 minimums. Since 1990, farmland investments have seen an 11% annualized return (according to the site).

acretrader farmland investing

Can’t even keep houseplants alive? Don’t worry — AcreTrader carefully vets each deal, and crowdfunds the purchase of active farmland. Then they rent it back to the farmers who operate it.

AcreTrader investors make money in two ways:

  1. Appreciation of the land in the event of a future sale
  2. Annual cash rent payments from farmers.

The company aims for annualized cash distributions in the 3-5% range.

More Real Estate Options for Accredited Investors

  • FarmTogether – Similar to AcreTrader above, targeting 8-15% total annualized returns. Minimums are $10,000-50,000 depending on the individual deal.
  • EquityMultiple – Buy into high yield, professionally-managed properties for as little as $10,000, with 14.5% historical returns.
  • CrowdStreet – $10,000 minimums for hand-selected crowdfunding deals.
  • Cadre – Invest in “institutional-quality real estate” on a deal-by-deal basis or through Cadre’s Direct Access Fund. $25,000 minimums.
  • Real Crowd – Review and invest in “private money” real estate transactions on commercial property like multifamily buildings, retail developments, office buildings, and industrial buildings. Minimum investments vary by property but range from $10,000-$100,000.
  • CityVest – “Insider access” to pre-screened and institutional real estate investments. The site advertises 10-25% passive returns and the minimum investment is usually $10,000.
  • Patch of Land – $5000 minimums, targeting 9-12% returns.
  • LendingHome – $5000 minimums, targeting 8-10% returns.
  • Iintoo – $25,000 minimums, targeting 10-15% returns. This company acquired the assets of RealtyShares, another popular platform in this space.
  • Assetmonk – Crowdfunding investments for curated commercial property projects in India.

Other Alternative Real Estate Investing Options

Raw Land

Mark “The Land Geek” Podolksy calls investing in raw land “the best passive income model.” The system as he described it to me on the podcast involves finding out of state landowners who owe back taxes on their parcels.

This is public information for each county, so it’s just a matter of seeking it out. Then he sends those landowners an offer letter, and begins the negotiation process. Once he’s taken ownership or control of the property, he can re-sell it for a cash flip or sell it on an owner-carry contract for an attractive monthly payment like $99 a month for 72 months.

I recently sat down with a student of Mark’s, Roberto Chavez, to learn how he’d built this into a $10,000 a month income stream:

Tax Liens

Tax liens can be an attractive alternative real estate investment for a couple reasons. The first is they pay solid interest rates, often 8-15% or more, and they’re backed by state and local governments.

Next, the tax lien certificate has the real property as collateral, meaning if the owner doesn’t pay his or her back taxes, the lien holder could take ownership of the property for pennies on the dollar.

The challenge here is that every state and local area has different rules and processes for buying the liens. I’d be interested in finding a professionally-managed fund that did this at scale. Any leads?

Domain Names

Domain names are widely considered “digital real estate” and can appreciate in value over time.

I sat down with Mark Levine, a professional domain flipper, to learn more. He explained his average domain purchase price is $40, and his average sales price is $2,800.

Obviously that’s a great profit margin, but Mark also said it’s a good year if he manages to sell just 2% of his inventory!

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Fine Art, Classic Cars, Music, and Wine


Masterworks is the first company to democratize ownership in multi-million dollar, blue-chip paintings, for retail and accredited investors with minimum investments as little as $1,000.

masterworks invest in fine art

According to Artprice, blue-chip art has appreciated 14% annually since 1995. Masterworks is focused on acquiring paintings from the Top 100 worldwide artists–most of which are dead … so they’re not making any more art.

This is a longer-term investment with less liquidity, but art is considered a non-correlated asset to add to your portfolio.

If you’re looking for diversification, strong historical returns, and a hedge against volatility, Masterworks is worth a look.


“Diversify your portfolio with sought-after wines that historically outperform the market,” Vinovest advertises. Wine tends to have low correlation with other financial assets (stocks, bonds, real estate), with less long-term volatility.


With Vinovest, you can buy a portfolio of fine wine starting with a $1000 minimum investment. The company handles all the storage and insurance, and you can “liquidate” (pun intended) your holdings relatively quickly.

According to the site, you can even request a bottle from your portfolio to drink yourself if you want!

Royalty Exchange – This innovative platform lets you buy future royalty rights to popular (and not-so-popular) music. It’s a way for artists to get paid cash today, and for investors to potentially earn passive income for years. In browsing the listings, I found tracks from Jay-Z, Rihanna, Drake, and more.

Cult Wines – According to WineInvestment.com, “Fine wine has consistently offered investors double-digit returns year-on-year.” This isn’t where I’d put my first bit of extra cash though; minimums start at £10,000.

Rally Rd – The Rally Rd app aims to crowdfund the purchase of potentially-appreciating assets like classic cars, fine wine, and other collectibles. As an investor, you can sell your “shares” in each collectible to other Rally Rd buyers, or get paid out when an asset gets re-sold.

Business Lending

Business lending is a sub-category of peer-to-peer lending where you can lend your money to growing businesses that need extra cash to expand. Different platforms offer different “types” of loans and cater to different types of businesses, but the common thread is the companies don’t have to dilute their ownership stake because they’re just paying interest on debt instead of giving away equity.

And for investors, business lending represents the chance to support small business growth while earning attractive returns.


On Kickfuther, you can help support growing e-commerce companies by lending them money for inventory. These small businesses are often plowing all their cash back into more product to sell, and pay an average of 19% annualized interest to help them acquire inventory faster.

(Accounting for defaults, that gets knocked back to a 7% average return on investment since mid-2017.)

kickfurther homepage

My first batch of “consignments” — loans made through Kickfurther, didn’t perform particularly well. Since then, the company has put a number of new protections in place, including more stringent borrower credit score requirements.

For instance, borrowing companies are larger and more established now, with most doing over $1 million a year in sales. Kickfurther also inserts itself into the cash-flow management of the business, either paying factories directly or making direct reimbursements from factory-authorized invoices.

Plus, I was able to fund my loans with a credit card, which helped me meet the sign-up bonus minimum spend requirements.

Kickfurther takes a 1.5% fee when you withdraw cash from your account.

Get a $10 sign-up bonus toward your first deal when you join through my referral link.

Other Business Lending Options

  • Mainvest – Help kickstart small local businesses, and get paid back quarterly from their future revenues. You can pick and choose which companies to support, with minimums as low as $100.
  • Lending Crowd – Earn a target rate of 6-8% supporting British businesses on LendingCrowd, where the minimum bid is £20 per loan.

For Accredited Investors


On Funding Circle you can lend money to established and growing American small businesses.

The interest rates vary from 5% to over 20%, but historical returns are in the 5-7% range. There’s a $500 minimum per loan, but $25,000 minimum required deposit to open an account.


Help small businesses grow with short-term, asset-backed investment opportunities on P2Bi.com.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending offers the chance to lend money to your fellow citizens and earn interest on your loans. Basically you’re buying fractional ownership of small loans, usually for debt consolidation.

The downside is that most peer-to-peer loans are unsecured debt, meaning you have no recourse when borrowers default. And they default all. the. time. It also isn’t the most tax-advantaged investment because the defaults count as investment losses, and you’re limited to deduct $3,000 a year. (Or at least that’s my understanding.)

Still, I look at this as a cash-flow play, and I think 5-9% returns are reasonable.


I’ve been a Prosper investor (I’m also an affiliate) since 2009 and have earned an annualized net return of 8.7% over that time.

Prosper is exciting because of the low minimums — a $25 investment per loan is all it takes to get started — and the promise of monthly cash flow.

While my overall returns on Prosper are still pretty strong, lately my cash flow has been suffering and I’m actually reducing my Prosper position in favor of testing out some of the other alternative platforms on this page.


The Bondora European peer-to-peer lending platform provides loans to residents of Spain, Estonia, and Finland. They’ve been in business since 2009 and according to their site, over 80% of investors have earned at least 9% on their money.

(I’m at 11.95% across 500+ loans.)

bondora peer-to-peer lending

The site is open to European Union residents and residents of Norway and Sweden, with a minimum investment per loan of just €1. If you’re in the US, you must be accredited to invest.

Other Options for Peer-to-Peer Lending

  • MyConstant – Newcomer to P2P space offers collateralized loans where you can set your own rate, or a flat 4% putting money into their “Flex” account. Full disclosure: there’s a lot of talk about cryptocurrency I’m not fully understanding on here.
  • Peerform – Site looks super outdated, but apparently they’re still in business.
  • Afluenta – Open to investors in Argentina, this Latin American peer-to-peer lending site offers eye-popping returns of up to 71%.

Human IPO

The unique (and controversial) Human IPO platform lets you buy future hours of people’s time. (And conversely, you can try and raise money on the site as well.)

“Invest in people you believe in,” proclaims the site. The premise is to invest into up-and-coming artists and professionals, whose time is likely to appreciate in value as they become more successful.

(Imagine buying an hour of Mark Zuckerberg’s time in 2004. What might that be worth today?)

Down the road, you could theoretically re-sell your shares to another investor, or “cash in” for one-on-one coaching or consulting.

Startup and Small Business Investing

Why let venture capitalists have all the fun?

A new wave of platforms are carving out a name for themselves in the “equity crowdfunding” space, which allows you to back promising startups for a share in their future glory.

Be prepared to potentially wait a long time to see a return, since it usually takes a public stock offering or acquisition to cash out your shares.

For Non-Accredited Investors


Netcapital has opened startup investing to non-accredited investors with just a $99 minimum. However, there are investment limits based on your income and net worth.


“Access highly-vetted investment opportunities in startups, real estate, video games, and crypto” proclaims the Republic.co homepage. Get started for as little as $10.

The focus is on mission-driven startups, and you can invest in equity crowdfunding campaigns for the companies you believe in.


Invest in startups on the Wefunder platform, which is now open to non-accredited investors with minimum investments of just $100.

Other Startup Investing Options for Non-Accredited Investors

  • Seedrs – European investors can participate in equity crowdfunding campaigns starting at just £10.
  • StartEngine – Support innovative startups on this equity crowdfunding campaign with fixed upside.
  • Crowdcube – Invest in early stage British startups for as little as £10.

For Accredited Investors


Onfolio has years of experience buying and operating online businesses. To fund further acquisitions and growth, they’ve opened up “preferred shares” that pay a fixed 12% dividend.

If you want to get involved in this space but don’t have the time or expertise to run and grow content websites, this is a pretty attractive way to do it.


Accredited investors can back well-known venture capitalists and angel investors in their early stage startup investments on the high-risk, high-reward Angel.co platform.

You can invest in one-off companies following the lead of other high profile investors you trust, or buy into the AngelList Access Fund, which diversifies your startup investment across 150+ companies.

The company cites an unrealized internal rate of return of 46% for a recent batch of investments, but notes that is likely to decrease significantly before any returns become realized.


CircleUp.com links accredited investors with “breakthrough brands” in need of capital. At press time, prospective and historical returns were not listed and your investment gains are tied to eventual “exits” or IPOs of the startups, which could take several years, if ever.


Accredited investors can invest in promising agriculture businesses or let AgFunder.com put together a fund of curated companies to invest in on their behalf. According to the site, AgFunder’s portfolios are tracking 23%+ IRR.

The minimum investment start at $25,000-$250,000.

Other Startup Investing Options for Accredited Investors

  • Gust – A global platform for sourcing and managing early-stage startup investments.
  • OurCrowd – Hand-selected equity crowdfunding with $10,000 minimums.
  • 1000 Angels – An interesting membership-based model (from $2500 a year) to access their pre-vetted startup investment deals.
  • FundersClub – Select one-off deals or buy into a fund of several startups. High risk, high reward, with little transparency offered into the near-term performance of the startups.
  • SharesPost – Not exclusively for startups, but an option to invest in other privately held companies a well.
  • FlashFunders – “Invest in companies you believe in.”
  • PropelX – Focused on visionary science and technology startups.

Business Brokerages

If you have more time on your hands, or access to capable managers, perhaps you just want to buy an existing business outright. Here are a few options to do just that, both for online and offline businesses.


Established in 2009, Flippa is the top marketplace for domain names and websites. Many of the websites you’ll find here are on the lower-end of the earning spectrum.

The best feature? You can use the slick filtering functionality to find an online business that meets your criteria.

flippa buy online businesses

While there are some buyer protections in place, make sure to do your own due diligence to verify seller claims.

Related: Financial Independence Fast-Track: How to Replace Your Salary by Buying Mini Businesses


Empire Flippershttps://www.sidehustlenation.com/empireflippers is a well-established online business broker specializing in websites in the $10,000 – $1,000,000 range. Websites normally sell for a multiple of their monthly profit, usually 18-40x, depending on risk factors like longevity, growth curve, and the time it takes to manage.


That means for $100,000 investment, you could potentially pick up a site (or portfolio of sites) earning $2700-$5500 a month.

On the podcast, I had a chance to sit down with co-founder Justin Cooke to hear how it all works.

Other Options to Find and Buy Businesses

  • Investors Club – A membership community with “private” online business deals. “Because buying a website shouldn’t mean dumpster diving, massive fees, or hours of analysis.”
  • Motion Invest – A marketplace to buy cash-flowing online businesses, usually in the $10,000-50,000 range.
  • The FBA Broker – An online business broker specializing in Amazon FBA businesses.
  • FE International – Buy websites earning $100,000 or more in annual profit.
  • BizBuySell – Long-running brokerage focusing on offline businesses.
  • Quiet Light Brokerage – A marketplace for 6- and 7-figure ecommerce, Amazon FBA, content, and SaaS websites.

Alternative Currency Investments

I still have a lot of homework to do in the world of alternative currencies, so you might chalk this section up as good-natured speculation rather than a textbook “investment.”

On the surface, currency decoupled from government sounds appealing and futuristic, but we’re still in the early days of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many others vying for leadership and widespread acceptance in this space.

Still, several “name brand” companies have started to accept Bitcoin for payments, including Microsoft, Subway, and Expedia.


Coinbase is the leading marketplace to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The platform works like a digital wallet and bank vault for your invisible money.


Referral bonus: Buy $100 worth of digital currency and get $5 in free bitcoin.

Coinbase offers an interesting feature set like insurance in case their systems get hacked and your account gets drained, and the option to set up a recurring monthly investment.


One interesting way to get involved in crypto without the volatility is with a BlockFi interest-bearing account. Your USD deposits are converted into “stablecoins”, and earn (at press time) up to 7.5% interest. Plus, you can withdraw at any time (can take up to 48 hours) with no penalties.

blockfi homepage

How can they pay so much when other so-called “high yield” savings accounts are paying less than 1%? They turn around and lend it out to borrowers who put up 2x the loan amount in Bitcoin or Ethereum as a collateral.

Since traditional banks don’t want to accept crypto as collateral — and these borrowers don’t want to liquidate their holdings (or hodl-ings?), they turn to platforms like BlockFi at higher interest rates.

I’ve taken up a small “toe dip” position here to test the waters. Like many others on this page, BlockFi accounts aren’t FDIC-insured … but it’s encouraging to see the interest accumulate so much faster than in other cash accounts.

Get a free $10 worth of BTC when you open your account.


Can you really consider gold an alternative currency? Perhaps not, but I didn’t know where else to categorize it.

Vaulted is an interesting platform that lets you buy real gold, in whole bars or fractions, and stores them for you at the Royal Canadian Mint. (Or if you want, you can store it yourself.)

You can invest with as little as $10, and gold is considered a hedge against inflation.

Other Options to Invest in Crypto Currencies:

  • Crypto.com – Get a $10 bonus when you join here, plus enjoy low fees and the “best execution prices.”
  • Binance – “Buy and sell crypto in minutes.”
  • CEX – A leading Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange.
  • Coinmama – Another site to buy and store Bitcoin, though when I checked they seemed to be charging a 6.5% premium above the current market value.
  • Bitcoin IRA – Invest in Bitcoin with your retirement account.
  • Bitquick – Buy Bitcoin in just 3 hours. Apparently it normally takes longer?

Hedge Funds and Private Equity

Non-institutional investors can gain access to previously restricted hedge funds and private equity investments through DarcMatter, a service that pre-vets these deals for accredited investors.

Non-accredited investors who want to get in the hedge fund game might consider a hedge fund ETF, though returns for most of these funds have actually lagged the general market index funds for the last several years.

Stock and Options Trading

Kirk DuPlessis of Option Alpha explained options contracts are like insurance. As a trader, you can either be a buyer of insurance or a seller of that insurance.

On the buying side, it’s a way to kind of amplify your trading power through leverage. Instead of buying 100 shares of a certain stock and hoping it goes up, for example, you could buy contracts for a fraction of the share price that give you the option to buy the stock at today’s price should it go up by a defined amount in a certain amount of time — the contract term.

If it does, you exercise your option and make a big gain on a small initial investment. If it doesn’t, you just lose your initial option contract purchase price, kind of like your car insurance premium if you don’t get into a wreck.

On the seller side, you’re the person selling that insurance. You collect the cash upfront, and as long as the trigger event doesn’t happen, you keep it. Kirk argues that just like insurance companies are some of the most profitable in the world, option sellers are most often the winners in the options trading game.

(Apparently the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett himself, sells up to $5 billion worth of options contracts a year.)

Later, I sat down with Teri Ijeoma to learn how she earns $1000 a day trading stocks.

Social Trading Platforms

Social trading platforms are kind of a hybrid between traditional stock market investing and social media. You can see what moves the experts or top performers are making with their portfolios and follow along with your own money if you like.


The best-known of these social trading platforms is eToro, with more than 20 million members. The theory is if you don’t have time to research the market yourself, why not delegate that work to the “crowd” that does?

You can find other investors with similar strategies, watch their moves, read their reasoning, and copy quickly.

Note: In the US, eToro focuses on crypto trading.


For a more traditional approach in terms of the assets you’ll hold, but optimized with a healthy dose of modern tech, you might consider a roboadvisor.

These services charge a fraction of the fee of a traditional financial advisor, and on average, produce better performance. or a little

M1 Finance

With the fast-growing M1 Finance platform, you can choose from more than 80 “expert” portfolios, or build a custom portfolio with just the stocks and funds you want. (Or use a combination of the 2 strategies.)

m1 finance 2021

M1 also allows you to purchase any security, regardless of share price, with fractional shares. Berkshire Hathaway, here we come!

This makes diversification easy, and you can even set a schedule to automate your investing.

But perhaps the biggest surprise feature of M1 is that it’s free to use, unlike Betterment below. There are no trading fees, commissions, or management fees. (The company does offer a “pro” version to unlock more benefits.)


Betterment is the largest roboadvisor and estimates its technology will earn you 2.66% better returns per year than a typical investor. Among the tools that help you get there are automatic diversification and rebalancing, tax loss harvesting, and lower fees.

betterment homepage

Betterment charges a 0.25% management fee.

My strategy? Set up automatic deposits and let it ride, knowing I’ve made a science-backed choice for long-term returns.

Other Roboadvisor Options

  • Wealthfront – A similar service with the same 0.25% fee.
  • Nutmeg – UK-based roboadvisor.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Rocket Dollar

Rocket Dollar is an interesting new service that lets you set up your a Self-Directed Solo 401(k) or IRA. That means you can invest in any asset class allowed by the IRS, including real estate, precious metals, and of course the more traditional stocks and bonds as well.

rocket dollar review

The company charges a nominal upfront fee to create your account, and a flat monthly fee to maintain it. They don’t charge a percentage of assets.

Where's My Money?

Punch in your name and email below I'll send you the alternative investments I've put my hard-earned cash in.

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Your Turn

Have you tried any of these alternative investment platforms? What’s your experience been like?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are alternative investments?

Alternative investment are financial assets outside of traditional stock, bond, mutual fund, and money market investments. Examples include real estate, hedge funds, venture capital, commodities, tangible assets, and even cryptocurrencies.

What are the best alternative investments?

The “best” alternative investment will depend on your unique financial situation, risk tolerance, and goals. Investors turn to alternatives as a hedge against volatility, to seek out greater returns, improve diversification, or simply to invest where their interests are. Check out the full list of alternative investment platforms on Side Hustle Nation to learn more.

What alternative investments are open to non-accredited investors?

More alternative investments are open to non-accredited investors than ever before. Non-accredited investors are now eligible to participate in many previously closed-off real estate investments, business lending, and other opportunities. Check out the full list of alternative investment platforms on Side Hustle Nation to learn more.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

25 thoughts on “79 Alternative Investment Platforms to Earn Stronger Returns, Build Cash Flow, and Diversify Your Portfolio”

  1. Very awesome post. This blog post had perfect timing, you have given me some ideas about where I should invest next.

    I have been doing some serious research on investing….and to be honest, I don’t think anything is touching real estate right now.

    I mean for pete’s sake, right now as we are typing is in real estate lol.

    Keep up the great work Nick, I will be emailing you soon my friend, its been awhile.

  2. Epic post! I was waiting and waiting for you to mention Betterment and there it was, right at the very end. It seems like a very promising platform especially with the ultra low fees.

    Although it’s a bit out of line with the post another great option is investing through low cost index funds such as Vanguard ETF. Returns track the market and fees are ultra low.

  3. What a great post. I’ve looked into or tried many of the options here and also learned about some new ones. I’m always on the lookout for more investment opportunities!

    A couple thoughts I could add here:
    1) My LendingClub and Prosper rates both improved by using bots for a nominal fee. I’ve used both Lendingrobot and Bluevestment with good result. It seems like overall returns in this area are slowly declining though.

    2) AHP has a great purpose and mission statement along with steady dividend payments in the real estate market-so far a solid 12% annual.

    3) I’ve achieved ~18-20% annually using a USD currency margin lending bot on Bitfinex. When daily rates spike up to 1-4% I’ll transfer a larger chunk of funds there and remove when they settle down again. You can lend bitcoin as well, but I prefer to keep my exposure to bitcoin volatility separate. I just use this for cash flow. It’s free but requires a bit of very low level programming that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

    4) I’ve also gotten into forex averaging about 8% a month. This takes a LOT of work though, so YMMV and prepare to do your homework.

      • Looks like the Bitfinex is not a possibility anymore:

        Update: U.S. Individual Users
        October 16, 2017
        This message is further to our announcement of August 11, 2017, with respect to terminating our business with U.S. individual customers. As indicated in the announcement, we are terminating trading, deposits, and withdrawal functionality for U.S. individual customers by no later than November 9, 2017. U.S. customers are already barred from receiving financing from other users on Bitfinex’s peer-to-peer financing platform. This restriction will remain and, in addition, U.S. individual customers will no longer be able to provide financing on Bitfinex effective November 9, 2017.

        All U.S. individual users must make arrangements to withdraw their Digital Tokens by November 9th.

  4. Another amazing post, Nick. Thank you for compiling all this information. I’ve come away with 6 new potential investment platforms I’d like to test, having already started with Groundfloor based on your last mega-post.

  5. Awesome list Nick! I am definitely going to take a look into these after getting tired with some of my old investment strategies. I’ve been wanting to get into real estate investing but thought it would just cost way too much. Perhaps one of your solutions will work for me!

  6. Excellent article but you missed few other investment ideas like domain names. Huge potential in domain investment. if you need more details contact me, i can help you.

  7. This is a great post packed with great ideas. I’m more of a conventional REI but have looked at Fundrise and have gotten mixed results. So far more negative than positive however you seem to like it so far. I’ve also used lending club however lowering my exposure due to lower than expected returns (~4.7%). Betterment is also a good one that I’ve enjoyed using now for several years. It would be great if you could include a table sharing your thoughts on how all these options stack from a risk analysis point of view. Anyways, thanks for a great post!

  8. In the Business Lending section, I recommend adding rebuildingsociety.com for British business lending, as they have achieved their FCA authorisation, so they are one of the few regulated platforms. Historic returns are an average of 9.8% pa net of fees and defaults, though this may change in the future. They have over 5 years history and have started offering the innovative finance ISA to lenders in the UK. Capital on loan is at risk.

    Also look at MarketLend.com.au in Australia, for a business revolving credit platform that is doing very well to help businesses finance purchases.

  9. This are some great investment ideas. Buying businesses is a great idea, but one of the riskier options. THe fact that you can get a 50-100% ROI off of buying a website is fantastic, but only if you put in the time to keep it fresh and compliant with Google. However, if you already work on websites it is a great option for you.

  10. Nick, great post and intel on the nascent crowd-funding landscape with all the players still trying to get their models right. Be careful out there, the LCs and ONDKs have completely screwed their shareholders in a very crowded space. “He who controls the Spice controls the Universe. ” The firm (s) that figures out how to provide high-ROI, consistent Alpha generating investments in RE/PE/VC for the HUGE MASS AFFLUENT CROWD will solve a big need/void! If you would like to have a brief conversation, peruse my flashpage/website and let me know. I could use your help but I will give you 10X the value for free. Jim

  11. This is a great post, thanks for taking the time to create it. I have referred back to it a few times to set some goals this year. Currently looking into Groundfloor, Seedinvest, and Royalty Exchange.

  12. This is an awesome list, thanks a lot!

    I might throw in one of my own alternative investment ideas, hoping to get your feedback on it since we have just started to open this up for external users: http://www.lendary.net. The product focuses on a niche opportunity, i.e. providing crypto traders with short-term capital (e.g. USD) so that they can engage in leveraged trading. Traders can never withdraw the borrowed money from the platform and all of their positions are fully controlled by an automated liquidation system which makes it almost impossible that they can default on their loans (which are usually borrowed for 2-days maximum and highly diversified across traders). At the same time, daily interest rates compound to ~10-30% per year if your capital is utilized optimally. In order to solve that, we developed a software that automates and optimizes this lending process 24/7. Users hold USD only so they are not affected by crypto volatility themselves. Would be interested in your feedback! Thanks!

  13. Watches are also a great alternative investment to add to a diverse portfolio. I have recently discovered Konvi (https://konvi.app/), an investment platform for luxury goods. hey have an amazing track record (11% appreciation per year at worst) because they are able to use their expertise when choosing assets :)

  14. Great post! We would add Propel(x) to this list. Propel(x) is an investing platform focused on deep technology startups – companies rooted in a scientific discovery or technological innovation. We curate high quality deals and propel them from diligence to investment – all on a single platform. The platform is only for accredited investors. Check us out – – https://www.propelx.com

  15. Stairs by Ground Floor is a good liquidity account earning 4-6%. With easy access within 5 days or less usually of the request. Good for reserve funds. Provides short-term funding to GF loans prior to release to the platform.


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