Another alternative is much more familiar for most of us than coins: real estate. One good thing about snatching up a house or property is that it’s a natural hedge against inflation. And while the recent housing crisis is reason enough to proceed cautiously, it has also given home prices plenty of room to appreciate.
Investing in real estate is time-consuming, complex and risky, though. Being a landlord can be both a hassle and a liability, especially if you own a single-family home, which comes with an all-or-nothing cash flow.
Of course, you can get more creative than just being a homeowner. Parking lots, for example, are often described as being as close to recession-proof as you can get. Cars in the U.S. are parked around 96% of the time, making for a $30 billion industry.
The problem is that they’re very expensive and often aren’t found in real estate listings. Just finding a promising deal can require a commercial broker — and that doesn’t come cheap, either. Plus, real estate — like most of these alternatives — are nowhere near as liquid as a publicly traded equity.