More and more people are turning to alternative stocks and investments as a diversification strategy for their portfolio. In this article, industry experts weigh in on some alternative stocks and investments to own in 2019, and why they are a good choice.

Gold Stocks, in Case Things Get Sour

“You see, 2019 could be the year of safety. We are in the late stage of the economic cycle and data backs this argument up as well. So, having gold stocks in a portfolio could be beneficial in 2019. In case things get sour, gold stocks could help. Which ones? Look at the big names in the sector.”

Moe Zulfiqar, Senior Research Analyst, Lombardi Letter

The WeFunder Option

“Companies like WeFunder have made it super simple for individuals to invest in private companies. Imagine investing in Lyft when it was valued at just a couple million dollars. That return today would be huge now that they are public. Thanks to the recent regulation from the SEC, investing in some of these up and coming private companies is no longer restricted to the super wealthy that can write a 6 or 7 figure check. Now, Individuals can invest a couple of hundred dollars for the chance to be a part of the next Silicon Valley Unicorn. Definitely, an alternative stock to invest in.”

Ryan Vet, Entrepreneur, Investor and Speaker, ryanvet.com

Comic Books as an Alternative Investment

“Investing in comic books is not just a hot trend, it’s a smart move. But the first step toward making a profit on what some consider “kiddie fare” is to act like a kid and do your homework.

Interest in comic books is on the rise, fueled by both the prevalence of top-grossing movies featuring comic book characters and the increasing popularity of events like Comic-Con. For example, attendance at Comic-Con International: San Diego grew from 300 in 1970 to 130,000 in recent years. New York’s 2015 Comic-Con drew more than 167,000 attendees, making it the second largest annual event held in New York City.

While everyone’s heard stories of people cleaning out an attic to find vintage comic books they sold at a hefty profit, it’s not just the older books that are valuable. Even comic books from the last 20 years are becoming more collectible. Some comic book values have jumped from just a few dollars five years ago to $50-$100 today. Smart investors are finding that they can make money off of this trend, but only if they treat it like any serious investment.

The first step is to learn everything you can. Talk to experts. Follow auctions to see what’s selling and for how much. Study the trends.

Above all, know your superheroes. “Blue chip” superheroes—Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Flash, Green Lantern, The Avengers, Thor, Wonder Woman, and X-Men—are always in demand.  We’ve seen key issues of popular characters appreciate in value from 25%-100%.

However, expanding your knowledge beyond the big names will make you a savvier investor. For example, some heroes from the Golden Age (1930s-1950s), such as Catman, Black Terror, The Destroyer and Phantom Lady, also are very popular despite no longer being in publication.

The next step is to set your budget. There is room in the market for small and large investors alike. That means anything from $10 to $3 million. Decide on a budget based on how many comic books you want to buy per year and how long you want to hold onto them.

Consider whether you want to invest for the long or short-term. Long-term investors should select comics that traditionally have shown slow, steady growth. For long-term investors, pre-1985 books are the best choice.

For short-term investors, it’s about timing. Buy books when they just start to get hot with the intention of selling them quickly before interest wanes. There are comics that have only been out for a few months that are selling for anywhere from $50 to $100. However, the short-term market can be very volatile. People who bought Green Lantern 7 (which marked the first appearance of Sinestro) the year before the Green Lantern movie came out saw huge profits if they sold within a few months.  But if they waited until too close to the premiere of the movie—which flopped—they probably ended up losing money.

Whether investing in new or older comics, there are a few general rules that can help determine whether a comic will increase in value:

Issues that feature a character’s first appearance or death, or an artist or writer’s first professional publication, are more likely to be good investments. Even the first appearance of a character in a low-grade comic can also provide substantial returns.

Remember, it’s not just a comic book’s significance that determines its value. Condition and rarity also matter. And nothing is set in stone. If there is one copy of a book in near-mint condition, but five more are found a year later, the value of that issue could drop.

Right now, there is a great deal of speculation concerning potential TV and movie appearances of characters. After all, comic books featuring the first appearances of characters like Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Flash and Daredevil appreciated tremendously after they were featured in hit movies.

Protect your investment. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box. Finally, use professional appraisers and consider insuring your collection. A quick search of your comic’s name and issue on www.comicconnect.com can help gauge a comic’s value.

People often ask: if I could buy one $10,000 comic, what’s my best bet? Right now, I’d recommend buying a low-grade copy of Amazing Fantasy 15, the first appearance of Spider-Man. He is the most popular character in comics and his first appearance is highly sought after. To give you some perspective, if you had purchased a 2.0 graded copy five years ago for $3,000, it would cost about $9,500 today.

In short, comics are a great place to invest. The market is very strong and diverse, with comics from various genres and time periods appreciating in value. Low bank interest rates, stock market volatility, and difficulty in getting a mortgage make tangible investments like comic books an ideal place for people to make money with their money. Plus, of course, it’s fun.”

Vincent Zurzolo, Co-Founder, Metropolis Collectible (The world’s largest vintage comic book dealership)

Silver Bullion

“All else being equal, mining stocks are a higher leverage investment than simply gaining exposure to the metal those firms mine. Miners tend to outperform the metals during rallies, but they also tend to suffer more acutely when metal prices are falling. This is partly because many (sometimes complex) factors influence the financial health of a company, whereas an individual commodity’s price dynamics are more straightforward. However, the silver mining sector is a bit strange: Only about 30% of newly-mined silver each year comes from primary silver mines. The vast majority of silver is mined as a byproduct of zinc and copper operations. Thus, the performance of silver stocks is heavily influenced by these base metals, which complicates their outlook as an investment. For these reasons, silver bullion is a more appropriate investment if the goal is to diversify one’s portfolio with a non-correlated asset. The potentially greater upside of silver stocks naturally comes with greater risks.”

Everett Millman, Precious Metals Specialist, Editor, Gainesville Coins

 

Thinking about alternative places to safely invest your money can be daunting. However, always do your due diligence, factor in some of these expert opinions, and make your hard-earned money work for you.

Sarah Bauder

Sarah Bauder is a financial writer with over a decade of experience at numerous online publications, writing about alternative investments, retirement, US politics, world economy and more.
Sarah Bauder