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Alternative Investments: Diversify Your Portfolio Beyond Traditional Options

As individuals strive to secure their financial future, maximizing registered accounts such as RRSPs and TFSAs has become a common strategy. These accounts offer tax advantages and long-term growth potential. However, once the contribution limits are reached, investors may wonder about alternative investment options. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of alternative investments and explore potential avenues for those who have maximized their registered accounts.

Understanding Alternative Investments

Beginner and “couch potato” investors often prefer simple investment strategies like asset allocation ETFs or dividend investing.

Alternative investments refer to assets beyond traditional stocks, bonds, and cash. And there’s a lot more options than just cryptocurrency. They offer diversification, potential higher returns, and reduced correlation to the stock market. However, it’s crucial to note that alternative investments often come with higher risks and may require a longer investment horizon.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) investing involves buying shares in companies that own and manage income-generating real estate properties. These properties can include commercial buildings, residential complexes, hotels, and more. REITs offer investors an opportunity to diversify their portfolios and gain exposure to the real estate market without the need for direct property ownership.

One of the key advantages of REIT investing is the potential for regular income through dividends, as REITs are required to distribute a significant portion of their taxable income to shareholders. Additionally, REITs can provide a hedge against inflation and offer the potential for long-term capital appreciation.

However, it’s important to note that REITs are subject to market risks and fluctuations, as well as specific risks associated with the real estate industry. Investors should carefully consider their investment goals and risk tolerance before venturing into REIT investing.

Private Equity

Private equity investing involves investing in privately-held companies that are not publicly traded on stock exchanges. Private equity firms raise funds from institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals to acquire ownership stakes in companies. The objective is to improve the company’s performance, increase its value, and eventually sell it for a profit.

Private equity investments can take various forms, such as leveraged buyouts, growth capital investments, and distressed asset acquisitions. It can be made through funds or directly in specific companies. Private equity investors often play an active role in the management and strategic decision-making of the companies they invest in.

This form of investing offers the potential for high returns, but it also comes with significant risks, including illiquidity, longer investment horizons, and the potential for business underperformance or failure. Private equity investing requires a thorough understanding of the target industry, strong due diligence capabilities, and a long-term investment perspective.

Venture Capital

Venture capital investing involves providing funding to early-stage companies with high growth potential. Venture capitalists typically invest in startups and emerging businesses in exchange for equity ownership. This form of investing is considered high-risk but can also offer substantial returns if successful.

Venture capitalists often provide not only financial support but also mentorship and guidance to help the companies they invest in grow and succeed. The goal is to identify promising startups with innovative ideas and disruptive technologies that have the potential to disrupt industries and generate significant profits.

However, venture capital investing comes with inherent risks, including the possibility of business failure, illiquidity, and a longer investment horizon. It requires thorough due diligence, a deep understanding of the market, and a willingness to accept the potential for high volatility and losses.

Hedge Funds

Hedge fund investing is a sophisticated and complex strategy that has gained significant attention in the financial world. Hedge funds are privately managed investment vehicles that pool funds from accredited investors to employ various investment strategies. These funds aim to generate positive returns regardless of market conditions – they can profit from both rising and falling markets. Hedge funds often utilize complex strategies such as short-selling, derivatives, and leverage to achieve their objectives.

Another notable aspect of hedge fund investing is the potential for higher returns. Hedge funds often target higher-risk, higher-reward investment opportunities that may not be accessible to individual investors. By leveraging their expertise and employing sophisticated strategies, hedge fund managers aim to outperform traditional investment benchmarks.

However, it is important to note that hedge fund investing is not without risks. The strategies employed by hedge funds can be complex and may involve significant leverage, derivatives, and other sophisticated instruments. This complexity can amplify both potential gains and losses, making hedge funds suitable for experienced and risk-tolerant investors.

Furthermore, hedge funds typically have high minimum investment requirements and may impose lock-up periods, limiting investors’ ability to withdraw their capital. Additionally, hedge funds are subject to less regulatory oversight compared to traditional investment vehicles, which can introduce additional risks. It is crucial for investors to thoroughly understand the risks involved and carefully evaluate the track record and expertise of hedge fund managers before considering such investments.

Pink piggy bank with large gold dollar sign and stacks of $100-bills on a black background


Commodities investing refers to the practice of investing in physical goods or raw materials that are used in everyday life, such as oil, gold, wheat, or natural gas. This form of investment offers unique opportunities and benefits for investors looking to diversify their portfolios and hedge against inflation. Unlike traditional investments like stocks or bonds, commodities tend to maintain their value or even increase in price during periods of inflation. This is because the prices of commodities are often influenced by supply and demand dynamics, as well as global economic factors. For example, during times of economic uncertainty, investors may flock to safe-haven commodities like gold, driving up its price.

Additionally, commodities investing provides an opportunity for portfolio diversification. By including commodities in an investment portfolio, investors can reduce their overall risk exposure. This is because commodities often have a low correlation with other asset classes, such as stocks or bonds. Therefore, when other investments may be experiencing volatility or downturns, commodities can potentially provide stability and act as a counterbalance.

Furthermore, commodities investing offers the potential for attractive returns. As global demand for resources continues to grow, the prices of commodities can experience significant fluctuations. This volatility can present opportunities for investors to profit from price movements. However, it is important to note that commodities investing also carries inherent risks, as prices can be influenced by factors such as geopolitical events, weather conditions, or changes in government policies.

Investing in commodities can be done through various methods, including purchasing physical commodities, investing in commodity futures contracts, or through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track commodity prices. Each approach has its own advantages and considerations, and investors should carefully evaluate their risk tolerance and investment goals before entering the commodities market.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending platforms connect borrowers directly with lenders, bypassing traditional financial institutions. By participating in peer-to-peer lending, investors can earn interest income by lending money to individuals or small businesses. However, it’s important to carefully assess the creditworthiness of borrowers and understand the associated risks.

For individuals who have maximized their registered accounts, exploring alternative investments can offer new avenues for diversification and potential higher returns. Real estate investment trusts, private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, commodities, and peer-to-peer lending are just a few examples of alternative investment options. However, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, assess risk tolerance, and consult with a financial advisor before venturing into these alternative investment avenues. By carefully considering these options, investors can continue to grow their wealth and achieve their long-term financial goals.

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