Wealth

From Legos to Tomatoes: Unconventional Items You Can Invest Your Money In

The stock market isn't for everyone.
IMAGE Pixabay
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By now, you’ve probably grown tired of every financially responsible adult’s most doled-out advice: invest while you’re still young. Most of the time, the lecture is followed by how to get into the stock market or how to your park your savings into mutual funds instead.

Who wouldn’t want some Pesos to enjoy by the time you hit your 60s anyway? And isn’t the thought of having savings to spend just in case the worst happens comforting enough?

Still, for some, stock investment just doesn’t sound appealing enough. There are accounts to open, graphs to learn and statistics to check just to make sure your hard-earned money grows into a good amount in time. Carpe diem, life is short, live like there’s no tomorrow, etcetera.

Fortunately, the 21st century has given us plenty of ways to invest our cash in without getting involved in the stock market. If you’re lucky, you’ll have fun in the process too. Here we list some that the non-financial savvy man can try.

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IMAGE: Facebook.com/pg/FarmOnPH

Have a real-life ‘Farmville’

Remember when almost all of your friends on Facebook were harvesting crops, requesting coins or just simply bragging about their farms? No, they weren’t talking about their vast lands ready for harvest. They were talking about their virtual Farmville accounts.  

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Today, two local startups have created ways to turn this fascination for virtual planting into something beneficial for local farmers.

Cropital and FarmOn are online crowdfunding platforms that enable anyone to finance farmers and earn profits from the latter’s harvests. For as low as P5,000 in investment, anyone with an Internet connection may choose to finance a farmer’s harvest this season.

On Cropital’s platform, users may choose to invest in any of the company’s pre-selected rice farms, which are usually located in various provinces like Laguna and Batangas. If you’re the conservative type of investor, this one may be right at your alley as returns are fixed at 3.5 percent of the invested amount for only four to six months’ worth of waiting time.

Meanwhile, FarmOn allows investors to choose crops, like chilis and tomatoes, to bet their money on, as the company has a farm of its own in Nueva Ecija. Some users shared their investments have grown by as much as 40 percent after a five-month wait since some crops become highly demanded by harvest time. Remember when chilis were sold for P1,000 per kilogram?

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Be warned though that since this investment scheme deals with crops, it is highly possible your money will be subject to natural risks, such as typhoons or drought. Still, both platforms ensure that in case such happen, there are insurance policies in place for every user’s investment.

 

IMAGE: Pixabay
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Turn your Legos into gold

In December 2018, a study from Russia’s Higher School of Economics revealed Lego toys have a “higher rate of return” than gold. Entitled “The Toy of Smart Investors’, the study’s authors analyzed 2,000 Lego toy sets released from 1987 to 2015 and found they yield the average return of at least 11 percent. On one occasion, a Lego toy was sold for 613 percent more than its original price.

The study noted “seasonal, architectural and movie-based sets”, deliver higher returns than other Lego collections. A quick look on eBay shows Lego sets, especially limited edition ones, are auctioned for a minimum of 10 percent more than their original prices.

Apparently, “Lego investing” has become a real phenomenon among the Danish toy’s enthusiasts and fans. In fact, a self-proclaimed expert has created an online “Brick Index” which shows how much Lego sets are being sold in secondary markets such as eBay.

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A limited edition Brick Headz set of Iron Man and Captain America which was originally sold for $39 (P2,033), is now auctioned on eBay for as much as $418 (P21,843), for example. That’s more than ten times the original value.

 

IMAGE: Pixabay

Age your money in fine wine

If everything mentioned so far still sounds too small-time, then wine investment may be the unconventional choice for your taste.

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In October 2018, Sotheby’s sold its most expensive bottle of wine yet: a 1945-Romanee-Conti, a red Burgundy from Cote de Nuits in France. It was sold for $558,000 (P29.12 million), despite the initial estimate that it will be let go for only $40,000. (P2.09 million). The sale showed how rare wine can have tremendous returns to one’s pockets. Unknown to many, wine investment has become a “safe investment” of choice among the elites in the past decade.

There are now wine investment firms, experts who help those who want to get into the intoxicating industry get the most out of their cash. The UK-based Cult Wines, for example, has a “wine portfolio”, which allows investors to bet their money on a selection of rare spirits around the world. Think of it as a mutual fund, only this time, bottles of alcohol are involved.

Last year, Bloomberg reported an investment of $100,000 (P5.22 million) to Cult Wines’ portfolio in 2008 would have given the investor a returned average of 13 percent annually. Who wouldn’t drink to that?

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Still, you can start small by rummaging around secondary markets of rare wines. This strategy is best dealt with an expert though as there could be bad deals even in this industry too.

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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