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19 Alternative Investments the Rich Use to Grow Their Portfolios to New Heights

Alternative investments offer increased diversification with the possibility of outsized returns, but they are often only accessible for highly affluent. As global markets and new business go through reforms there have been some opportunities for the everyday investor to suddenly get access to some of these alterative asset classes.

Some of these unique assets range from art and wine, to private equity and sometimes provide a hedge against the volatility of traditional markets. Wealthy individuals leverage their resources and networks to access these markets giving them a reputation for achieving yields that are envied by the average investor.

Here are several of these asset classes that have historically once only accessible for the rich.

Fine Wine

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Fine wines, especially those from Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, are as celebrated for investments as they are for drinking. The best vintages can appreciate significantly, especially if kept in optimal conditions. Investors need a robust network of vineyards and collectors to succeed in this market.

Collectible Cars

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Ferraris and Aston Martins are more than just vehicles; they’re appreciable assets. Rare models can fetch millions at auctions, with prices continuously climbing due to scarcity. Knowledge of automotive history and restoration is crucial for success.

Venture Capital

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Venture capital involves injecting funds into startups with high growth potential. For instance, an early investment in a company like Uber or Airbnb could yield astronomical returns once the company goes public or gets acquired. This investment class is risky but can offer transformative rewards for those with the capital and an appetite for risk.

Antique Collections

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From ancient Roman coins to 18th-century French furniture, antiques are a unique asset class. They are prized not only for their aesthetic and historical value but also for their ability to appreciate over time. Serious collectors gain exclusive access through private sales and auctions.


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Investing in farmland is becoming a popular trend among even the upper-middle-class due to its accessibility, liquidity, and potential for sustainable profit. With global food demand rising, owning farmland can lead to significant returns, especially in organic and specialty crop markets.

Sports Team

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Owning a sports team is not just a passion project; it’s a substantial financial investment. Teams in major leagues, like the NBA or Premier League, have seen their values double over the last decade. The circle of sports team owners is small and often requires billions in net worth (or at least high 9-figures).

Rare Whisky

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The value of rare whiskies and even bourbons has soared, with some bottles appreciating over 500% in the past five years. Collectors with a deep understanding of distillery histories and limited releases capitalize on this niche market. Even the US bourbon market has seen standouts with famous brands such as Pappy Van Winkle becoming valuable rare specimens.

Art Collections

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Wealthy investors often view art as a hedge against inflation. This year, a notable uptick in private sales of post-war contemporary pieces reflects this trend, with returns outperforming traditional stock markets. Investors leverage exclusive networks to acquire works from classic and modern artists before they hit public auctions.

Private Equity

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Private equity allows the affluent to invest directly in companies, often before they become household names. Early investing in technology firms can offer yields impossible to earn in public stock markets, thanks largely to increased risk and early private funding. Such investments require large capital and insider knowledge, making them near impossible to access for to the average investor.

Luxury Real Estate

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Luxury properties in cities like Monaco and Hong Kong are more than just homes; they are strategic investments. In the past decade, real estate in these areas has appreciated by over 60%, driven by limited availability and high demand. Investors often benefit from rental income, which provides a steady cash flow while the property value increases.

Hedge Funds

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Hedge funds are less regulated than mutual funds, offering strategies like short selling. Last year, the top-performing hedge fund reported a 46% return, substantially higher than traditional investment routes. Entry into these funds often requires an invitation, a hefty minimum investment, and a prerequisite to qualify as an ‘accredited investor.’



Yacht and Private Jet Leasing

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Owning yachts and private jets is costly, but leasing them out can be lucrative. The ultra-rich earn returns by leasing their luxury vehicles during idle periods. It’s a sophisticated market, primarily navigable by those with substantial financial resources and industry connections.

Mineral Rights

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The mineral right market is complex and requires an understanding of geological and legal factors.

Owning mineral rights gives investors a stake in natural resources beneath the land. This investment can yield returns through royalties or direct extraction of resources like oil or gas.

Structured Settlements

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Investing in structured settlements offers a return through annuity payments from settled lawsuits. This unconventional asset provides a predictable income stream but requires savvy legal and financial acumen.

Thoroughbred Horse Breeding

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The business of breeding racehorses involves high stakes and high rewards. Successful horses can earn millions in prize money and breeding fees.

Patent Licensing

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Holding and purchasing patents can be extremely profitable, especially in technology and pharmaceuticals. Investors can earn royalties from companies that wish to use the patented technology.

Debt Buying

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Buying distressed debt portfolios allows investors to collect owed amounts at a significant profit. This requires a thorough understanding of credit markets and legal collection methods. The strategy is particularly effective in economic downturns when debts are often sold at a deep discount. Successful investors are able to analyze baskets of debts and assets the salvage value in a challenging economic environment.

Offshore Banking

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Offshore accounts are used by the wealthy to manage wealth and mitigate tax liabilities. These accounts offer privacy and flexibility in handling large sums of money.

Cryptocurrency Funds

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Crypto funds offer a way to invest in digital currencies without dealing with individual transactions. These funds manage portfolios of various digital assets, providing diversification within the emerging crypto market. Investors need to stay informed about rapidly changing tech and regulatory landscapes. Additionally, crypto funds often invest in a variety of additionally volatile alt-coins and second layer blockchain products that have significantly more volatility that more established coins, such as bitcoin itself.

Sustainable Energy Projects

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Investing in renewable energy projects like wind farms or solar panels offers long-term returns. Governments often provide incentives for these investments, which also benefit from growing consumer demand for green energy.

Josh Dudick

Josh is a financial expert with over 15 years of experience on Wall Street as a senior market strategist and trader. His career has spanned from working on the New York Stock Exchange floor to investment management and portfolio trading at Citibank, Chicago Trading Company, and Flow Traders.

Josh graduated from Cornell University with a degree from the Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management at the SC Johnson College of Business. He has held multiple professional licenses during his career, including FINRA Series 3, 7, 24, 55, Nasdaq OMX, Xetra & Eurex (German), and SIX (Swiss) trading licenses. Josh served as a senior trader and strategist, business partner, and head of futures in his former roles on Wall Street.

Josh's work and authoritative advice have appeared in major publications like Nasdaq, Forbes, The Sun, Yahoo! Finance, CBS News, Fortune, The Street, MSN Money, and Go Banking Rates. Josh currently holds areas of expertise in investing, wealth management, capital markets, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and personal finance.

Josh currently runs a wealth management business and investment firm. Additionally, he is the founder and CEO of Top Dollar, where he teaches others how to build 6-figure passive income with smart money strategies that he uses professionally.