3 Interesting Investment Alternatives to Consider

There’s always a little room for more diversification in your portfolio, especially when it comes to alternative investments. Unlike traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and cash, alternative investments cover a wide range of products that are usually tangible, not tied to economic growth, and are hardy against inflation. In general, it’s safe to place about 10% of your investment portfolio into alternative investments.

While the list of alternative investments available to you ranges from memorabilia to hedge funds, the three that will be covered are:

  • Luxury Timepieces
  • Water
  • Wine

I got a steal on this Rolex Submariner for $500 dollars!!!


Luxury Timepieces 

We’ve all heard stories of watches selling at Sotheby’s for insane amounts of money. So what makes people spend the equivalent of several years’ salary (mine anyway) for something a $2 watch at Daiso can do?



Anyone who’s seen Pulp Fiction knows the unique story surrounding Butch’s heirloom watch in the film. This humorous and unique scene highlights several factors that make Butch’s watch a good investment-grade watch – its rarity and history (although it loses points for condition and…storage). Selecting an investment-grade watch with one or more of the following factors will increase its value:

  • Rarity: Any watch that is hard to find will command a premium, especially if the watch is a “limited edition” (500 or less is considered “limited edition”).
  • Brand: There are many luxury brands out there (Cartier, Piaget, etc.), but Rolex and Patek Philippe are the blue-chip brands that consistently appreciate in value – this value comes from the materials, time and craftsmanship required to build each individual watch.
  • Controlled Distribution: Consistent pricing is also determined by the distribution network of the brand. If the watch you want is half the price online compared to the retail price in-store, this inconsistency will affect the watch’s resale value.
  • History: Is the watch tied to any famous person, event, or did it have an interesting “history” like Butch’s watch? Documented evidence of your watch’s history will increase the value of your investment.
  • Condition: Like many mechanical devices, the physical/functional condition of a watch has a direct effect on its value. The better the condition, the higher the value.

Luxury watches are an attractive alternative investment because they are a good hedge against inflation – a decent investment-grade watch will maintain a steady resale value of at least 80% of its original value, which is still ok considering the yearly inflation rate hovers from 3% – 5%.

An excellent investment-grade will appreciate in value, potentially turning a $10,000 investment into $50,000+ in a span of 15-20 years (or sooner). Before you add a luxury watch to your investment portfolio, consult a watch expert to gain insight into models that are worth investing in, which can be purchased for $2,000 – $5,000+.




C’mon now, if you lived in an undeveloped country, you’d be drinking this like…water (oh wait, you do already!).


Before you discount the idea of investing in water (while you sip a bottle of Fiji water, no less), just keep in mind that Singapore still imports water from Malaysia to supplement the other three national “taps” of water catchments, reclaimed water (NEWater), and desalinated water. In Singapore alone, the number of companies in the water sector doubled in 2012, taking on over $9 billion in international projects.

On an international level, companies that deal in the construction, maintenance and development of water delivery systems also stand to profit tremendously (if the S&P Global Water Index is any indication) due to global factors such as:

  • Maintenance and repair of an ageing water supply infrastructure in many industrialised nations (the US alone needs about $1 trillion for its own water infrastructure).
  • Growing global agricultural demand in nations like China, India, Egypt, and Israel is leading to increasing scarcity in water supply.
  • Environmental factors such as climate change and pollution strain current water supplies.
  • Some locations are in water scarce regions that need supplemental water desalination or reclamation.

Investing in water sector mutual funds or ETFs can provide your portfolio with a solid alternative investment with returns that won’t be evaporating anytime soon.




When people drink too much, we just keep them inside the empty barrels to save on rooms.

When people drink too much, we just keep them inside the empty barrels to save on rooms.


Buying a few bottles of $30 wine at 7-Eleven and storing them in your fridge for a few months makes about as much sense as investing in US treasury bonds (actually, it would be interesting to see which decision had better returns over a 10-year period). Done wisely, investing in wine can post some solid investment returns that consistently outperformed commodity and equity markets.

Investment-grade wines make up less than 1% of all wines produced yearly, with wines from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France being the most sought after. This means your chances of finding them at any casual wine shop are about as good as finding an honest vendor on the first floor of Sim Lim Square. So speak to a wine merchant or broker instead. Brokers typically sell wine in odd sets of 3, 6, 12 (a full case).

Selecting a quality investment-grade wine will set you back about $1,000 – $10,000 per case. With wine, there are several factors you must monitor to maintain the value of your investment:

  • Authenticity: Ensure that you receive a certificate of authenticity when you purchase your wine and ask about the wine’s travel history – too much travel can affect a wine’s price.
  • Storage: Wine needs to be kept in a temperature-controlled cellar. It’s a good idea to select a wine storage facility to house your wine.
  • Pricing: You should keep up to date on the price of your wine to monitor the growth of your investment. Price is usually determined through wine rating and historical retail/auction prices.
  • Insurance: To protect your investment, it’s a smart idea to take out an insurance policy covering the full market value of your wine in the event of fire damage, etc.

If you want to forego physically purchasing your wine, dealing with the storage, and taking out the insurance policy, you can consider joining a wine investment fund. These funds are run by investment professionals knowledgeable about the wine market and handle the buying/selling of wines. Just make sure to check if they have any subscription fees, etc.

Before you look into these alternative investments, it is also important to have a strong foundation in investment fundamentals. We are going to delve more into the basics of investing and how you can get started easily in the weeks to come, so follow us on Facebook for more updates!


Image Credits:
ronald bryantkewl, Premier Cru Fine Wine

What are your experiences with alternative investments? Share other interesting alternatives with us here!


Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.

More From MoneySmart

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual
    NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual

    NEW YORK (AP) — The city said Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over a tradition known as oral suction circumcision. …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark
    Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican sought Wednesday to defuse a diplomatic tiff with Mexico after Pope Francis referred to the possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking, the latest instance of Francis' casual speaking style getting him into trouble. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options