So you may be thinking that investing is all “buy-to-let” and “stocks and shares”, and to an extent you’re right! These options for investing are generally the most well known, but what if you don’t have the money to buy a property, or you literally have no clue about business, and reading the financial times would send you to sleep?
Thankfully there are alternative options, so today I’m going to go through some ideas that I’ve picked up from various sources that you might want to explore.
1. Index Trackers
I had to start with my most favourite options for investing – INDEX TRACKERS!! I don’t know whether you have heard of them or not, but I’m assuming you haven’t for the purposes of this post! An index tracker is a collection of shares of lots of different businesses on the stock market. So for example, the FTSE 100 is a fund that has a collection of the top 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange. Instead of buying 100 separate shares to represent the 100 different companies (which would be expensive), you buy the bundle instead (which is cheap). You then get the average performance of all of the companies.
A whole portfolio can be made up of these types of funds, and if you choose wisely, are cheap to run and hands off apart from a bit of tweaking on an annual basis.
2. Premium Bonds
I have to admit, I didn’t realise these still existed! I thought it was something my grandparents did (shows how much I know)!! According to the Money Advice Service, Premium Bonds are:
“an investment product issued by National Savings and Investment (NS&I). Unlike other investments, where you earn interest or a regular dividend income, you are entered into a monthly prize draw where you can win between £25 and £1 million tax free”
In her article, Katy Kicker provides us with evidence of her experience with premium bonds. Go and take a look – It’s an interesting read!
This stands for “house of multiple occupation” and is a type of “buy to let” investing. This is where one house is split into individual rooms that are rented out individually by different people. They might all share the bathroom, kitchen and living room. Some rooms will even have their own shower and toilet. This is a favourite student accommodation model, but is increasingly becoming an affordable choice for professionals. Each room can rent out for £400-£600 per month (including bills), so if you have 5 rooms, you can see that this is more profitable than renting out a whole house to one family or individual.
It takes a lot more work to get right though, so make sure you do your homework first. Councils have very stringent rules on HMO standards, and some areas in the country are restricted. Often an up and running HMO can be purchased as an complete “business in a box”, but be careful and make sure the numbers stack up. I was offered a 7-bed HMO once that barely complied with regulation and ran at a loss! Not a sensible investment at all.
4. Online Selling
There is a HUGE amount of information on the internet about “side hustles”, and online selling is no exception. This can take many forms, and many people think of multi-level marketing (which is where you enlist others to help you sell products who in turn enlist more people). But there is so much more out there than that. Get it right, and it could be a fabulous thing to invest money in. Take for example amazon selling. This is a method of selling online where you pick items that have great potential to sell well and use outside sources to create and ship them for you. This method is very popular in America, and from this, wholesalers like alibaba.com are making it easier than ever! If this idea appeals, it’s something worth exploring.
5. Air BnB
By now, you’ve probably heard of air bnb. In fact, it’s now one of my most favourite ways to book accommodation. It was initially designed for people who just wanted to let out a room so that people can live “more like a local” while on holiday, but it has morphed into something much much more than this. Did you know that there are people out there making a killing with this model? In fact, some buy-to-let landlords have kicked tenants out in order to turn their properties into holiday rentals, because it earns them more money than an individual let.
It requires some initial work though to make the process more automated – who will clean all these rooms for you, and how will you let people in and out of the property without physically being there? There are companies now who will manage the whole thing for you (for a fee obviously).
6. Vending Machines
You know those dusty machines in the corner that we pretty much ignore until we desperately want a can of something or a bottle of water – yeah, you can invest in this. Who knew right??
It does take some initial outlay to purchase the machines, and you need to pick a good spot too. Then you’ll have to work out who is going to be restocking the machine. Who will be checking? How much inventory do you need? What happens when it breaks down and needs a repair?
For more information and an account from someone who is doing really well with vending machines, check out this post!
7. Shipping Containers
This was another new one on me! Initially I thought it sounded really boring, but there are people out there doing this. They buy the containers, and then rent them out to companies who want to use them. I think this is such a clever idea, and might be something you would consider! If you want some more information on this one, then check out this video.
8. Property Shares
I’m not talking about old-fashioned REITs here (real estate investment trusts). I’m talking about ownership of physical property anywhere in the world through crowdfunding. There is a company that allows individuals to invest in a physical building directly (not a company that owns the property as in a REIT), from the comfort of their own home, and then after a few years, the building is sold and your money comes back to you with a nice return on your investment. Wealth Migrate is the company that offers this for relatively small amounts of money ($1000). Their dream is to make online property investing affordable for everyone in the world, and they’re working on their platform to achieve this. (this is not an affiliate plug by the way – I just think the company is awesome!)
Did you know there is a new type of ISA? This is called the innovative finance ISA and allows you to take part peer to peer lending investments. You can do a simple search on google and find loads of companies now who offer this type of investing platform. You get the same tax benefits as a regular ISA, but rather than leaving it as cash, or put it into stocks and shares, you can lend it to an SME business to grow their idea. These can be risky investments – how do you know if the company will do well or not? Also it is not presently covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so if you lose money, you’re not protected. I think they are great options, but perhaps don’t put all your life savings into it….
10. Investing in the third world
There are ethical type investment options springing up all over the place – Kiva.org and Lendwithcare.org are crowdfunding options for lending money to business owners in the third world. The money is repaid back to you in installments, then if you want to, you can invest again in someone else or take the money elsewhere. It is not a way to make money though. If you want to make money through investing in developing countries, then you could look at index trackers that cover emerging markets across the world. These have greater fluctuations, but potentially higher rewards!
I’ve included these crowdfunding platforms though because I think simply knowing that you’re helping someone to build their own business who is not as fortunate as you is all the return on investment you need!
So there you have it – 10 investment ideas you may not have thought of. Which one will you pick to look into with more detail? Whatever you pick, read, read and read some more! Find mentors and take your time. I cannot give you any specific advice on what you should do personally because I am not a financial adviser, but there are plenty of people out there who can help you take the ideas to the next level with you.
Good Luck! I’d love to hear your stories over in the Free and Private Facebook Group!
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