If you're sick of stocks and bored by bonds, the universe of nontraditional investments could be for you -- or for part of your portfolio. In general, investments beyond the traditional stocks, bonds and cash are known as alternative asset classes and some experts say they could give your investing an edge.
Alternative asset classes offer a wide range of possibilities, from racehorses and classic cars to commercial real estate and private equity. Commodities, futures contracts and real estate investment trusts also qualify as alternatives. Varying strategies using conventional investments may also be considered alternative.
There's a lot out there -- but don't rush out to invest in a mint Shelby Cobra roadster just yet; realizing a return can be difficult in some markets. Investment returns for rarities and collectibles are never guaranteed. And small-time investors may find themselves shut out of some alternative investments. Many are only available to accredited investors -- those with a net worth of $1 million or an annual income of $200,000 for two years in a row, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.
Though many alternatives are geared to the well-heeled, some alternative investments may fit your personality as well as your pocketbook.
Be advised that alternative asset classes are not appropriate for everyone. Check your risk tolerance and objectives before investing in new opportunities.