15 Things To Invest in Besides Stocks (#8 Could Have a 147% Return)

Unlock the secrets to building wealth while indulging in your favorite passions.
Updated April 15, 2024
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Whether it’s tin toys from the 1800s, Rolex watches, whiskey, or Air Jordans, investing in your passions can be an exciting way to merge personal enjoyment and financial gains. 

You may already have niche knowledge that can help you monetize these items, but you may not even recognize them as investments.

If you’re interested in any of these alternative assets, keep reading to see how you can start investing and move them beyond your garage or hobby room and into your portfolio.

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Igor Normann/Adobe whiskey poured on ice in glass

You might not think of libations as an investment, but whiskey is an asset that may grow in value as it ages. Investors buy casks upfront for a discount (as their capital funds the production) and see a return when the whiskey is sold.

Whiskey is the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index 10-year leader, appreciating 373% over the last decade. Just keep in mind that past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. Casks can be held by an investment firm that takes care of storing and insuring them.

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Thanakorn/Adobe friends toasting red wine glasses

If you choose to purchase a particular vintage and store it in your cellar, research the age, longevity, scarcity, and maker of the wine, as these factors (and more) determine its long-term value.

You may also purchase shares of a winemaker as another way to invest in wine without having to insure or store a physical product. Wine investments appreciated by around 10% in 2022.


pavel siamionov/Adobe men clinking beer glasses with foam

Booze tends to be resistant to economic downturns, making a compelling argument for investing in beer. You can do this by investing in brewery stocks like Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD), as well as ETFs that hold beer-related stocks.

If you’re passionate about microbreweries, you could use a crowdsourcing platform such as Mainvest or Honeycomb Credit to invest upstart capital for local boozy businesses.

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Classic cars

Mariusz Blach/Adobe classic american cars at street display

While the returns will depend on the model and condition of a given auto, classic cars might be a solid investment. The Knight Frank 2023 Wealth Report noted that classic autos returned 185% over the last decade and 25% over the previous 12 months.

Even the most enthusiastic car buffs should plan on doing extensive research before investing in classic cars. Check the scarcity, demand, and historical significance of various models. 

If you’re restoring the car yourself, get a good estimate on repair costs, as vintage parts may be hard to find. You should also have a plan to insure and store your investment.


Lazy_Bear/Adobe colorful sneakers placed in levitating design

Sneakerheads collect styles and brands of athletic shoes that have particular significance or are rare. Game-worn and autograph pairs can be quite valuable.

Many people see sneakers as a flipping prospect rather than a buy-and-hold investment. Brands release a limited number of shoes during production, and if the demand is higher than the supply, the value skyrockets. 

Investors who snag a pair of high-demand sneakers and resell them on a secondary marketplace like GOAT can make a profit of $500 per pair or more.

Trading cards

wachiwit/Adobe man playing pokemon trading card game

Yes, sports cards are still a thing. Verified Market Research predicts that the current market valuation for sports trading cards (currently over $12 million) will grow to over $23 million by 2030.

And while you might regard them as children’s games, limited edition, and rare Pokemon, Yugioh, and "Magic: The Gathering" cards can command tens of thousands of dollars or more.


The Big L/Adobe vinyl record collection in wooden drawer

Comic books, movie props, vinyl records, rare stamps, and anything else that relies on the value of fame or nostalgia fall into this category. 

An item’s value will depend on its rarity and condition, whether it was used or associated with someone famous, and how popular that category is now. To ensure you're making the most valuable investments, be sure to carefully research how to invest in comic books and other collectibles.


Alena/Adobe wrist watches in stylish box

Fine watches have given a decent return over the last decade — 147%, according to the Knight Frank Wealth Report. Prestigious names like Rolex, Patek Phillippe, Breitling, and Audemars Piguet are great at retaining value over time.


surasak/Adobe man collecting coins in album

Rare coins don’t provide outsized returns (59% over the last 10 years and 8% last year), but they can be a stabilizing force in a diversified portfolio.

If you want to invest in coins, consider finding an expert to be a mentor or educating yourself by joining the American Numismatist Association. These resources can help you navigate the prevailing market trends in coin collecting.

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Real estate

Konstantin L/Adobe vacant street of suburban homes

Whether you’re passionate about land or vacation rentals, real estate can be very profitable. You can purchase properties, fix them for a flip, or hold them as rentals. 

If you prefer a hands-off approach, you can become a hard-money lender, hire contractors and property managers, or purchase shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT) for passive investing.

Socially responsible investments

asura/Adobe man planting tree sapling finance concept

Socially responsible investing has become increasingly popular as investors want to know about the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects of the companies they fuel economically.

ESG ETFs and mutual funds focus on companies that rank highly in at least one of those categories and are one way to ensure your investments are going to a place that aligns with your values.

Rare books/manuscripts

Sebastian/Adobe vintage library with rare edition books

Bibliophiles may enjoy adding rare or out-of-print books to their investments. Ironically, the digital age has increased the value of these manuscripts while simultaneously reducing the supply, as many people toss out old books they no longer read. 

Becoming familiar with a specific genre can help you hone in on which books would do best in your collection.

Vintage toys

rockerchick1080/Adobe vintage toy cars on shelf

Toys are another nostalgic collectible that can bring long-term gains if they’re the right item in the right condition. Condition matters a lot for these investments, and buyers will pay top dollar for toys in their original packages.

Tin toys, vintage video games, limited edition board games, and vintage action figures are favorites among collectors and can command high prices for the right buyer.


Keitma/Adobe man admiring renaissance paintings in museum

Art investors gravitate to artists with a good reputation and a strong track record for high resale value and market demand. 

Start familiarizing yourself with the fine art world by visiting auctions and galleries and networking with consultants, critics, artists, and curators to get a pulse on which pieces are worth your investment.

Your own business

Rido/Adobe female cafe owner posing at restaurant

If you’re passionate about something like training dogs or making candles, you can invest in yourself and run a business doing what you love. 

One benefit of this type of investing is that you have more control over the value of your business than other market trends you can’t control, such as how popular a collectible or a particular vintage of wine is this year.

You may even want to start a side business to make extra money if you don’t want to start your own full-time business.

Bottom line

Jelena/Adobe male accountant working from home

Almost all of these items have commonplace counterparts, so it’s important to remember that the combination of uniqueness, rarity, and market enthusiasm makes them valuable. Just because something is old or rare doesn’t mean it’s worth a place in your portfolio.

With alternative investments, insider knowledge of the item and its demand is critical to choosing successful assets that will gain value over time and build wealth.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.

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