These alternative investments are attracting millennials amid economic woes
A smiling young woman in glasses talks on a smartphone
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) may feel like it happened a lifetime ago, but a new survey analyzed by Moneywise reveals that it may be partly responsible for spooking investors, particularly millennials, into thinking twice about putting their money into traditional investment vehicles during times of high inflation.
A recent survey by retirement resource company Retirement Living discovered that 43% of millennials made alternative investments between October 2022 and March 2023, right around the time of the SVB collapse. Since the bank’s failure, 1 in 4 survey respondents reported an increased interest in alternative investments.
More than three-quarters (78%) of survey respondents made investments during that six-month period, but of those only one-third were alternative investments.
The most popular alternative investments among survey respondents were in cryptocurrency, collectibles, and gold.
“The uncertainty of the stock market makes it likely that I won’t make any money with traditional investing, and possible that I will even lose money,” a 39-year-old woman who was surveyed told Retirement Living. “It’s important to diversify, and now is a good time to look into alternatives.”
So how can you start investing in these different types of assets?
Nearly 1 in 5 of survey respondents who made investments did so in cryptocurrency. But further research by Retirement Living found that searches for “best cryptocurrency to buy” decreased by 72% from April 2022 to March 2023.
This discrepancy may be because crypto hasn’t established itself as a reliable investment. Legendary investor Warren Buffett even stated that he would “never” invest in crypto because it does “not meet the test of currency.”
Despite its rocky reputation, crypto continues to attract a younger audience. According to a survey by crypto exchange Bitget released in April 2023, 46% of millennials across 26 countries owned cryptocurrencies. That’s compared to 25% of Gen X, 21% of Gen Z, and just 8% of baby boomers.
If you want to invest in crypto, you can do so easily through online investing apps. Just be aware some platforms charge fees.
You may think collecting baseball cards and stamps is for kids, but it can earn you big money. Around 6% of Retirement Living survey investors have put cash into collectibles, tied with gold as the second most popular alternative investment.
Now, you don’t need to go digging around your basement to find your Babe Ruth card to get in on the action. Collectibles include items from cars to artwork to wine, and many are accessible via investment platforms.
Some collectibles, however, can take a long time to accrue value, and they’re illiquid so you need to find sellers to get you that good payoff.
But collectibles can also bring greater returns than liquid assets. For instance, according to ArtPrice, the top 100 artists at auction have outperformed the S&P 500 in growth recently.
Gold is the most trusted alternative investment among Retirement Living survey respondents — even though only 6% of those who invested added it to their portfolio.
The nice thing about investing in gold is that it has inherent value. So even when the stock market is up and down or inflation is driving you wild, you can almost always trust that a pawn shop will want your wedding band.
You can buy gold in physical forms, like bars or jewelry. But there are also investing apps and gold IRAs to make purchases even easier.