They say that millionaires have 7 streams of income. And most of them are boring. Common examples of income-generating assets include your classics like real estate (rental income, depreciation benefits, equity appreciation) and dividend stocks (dividend income is taxed favorably), which I love.
But every so often, there's one in there that sounds as exciting as going to Vegas and always betting on black.
Today, I want to talk about those obscure investments. Those weird, you only hear about them in the movies, oddball investments that can produce cash flow. I don't want the obscure ones that don't produce cash (invest in whiskey, art, or some other collectible … that just makes you eccentric), these have to produce a stream of income.
Maybe the stock market has you spooked. Maybe you simply have enough in equities.
Maybe you want income but all the income-producing assets you know of are boring (or you have enough) – who really cares about certificates of deposit, Treasury bonds, and dividend stocks. If you wanted them, you would've gotten them by now (or you have and want even more diversification).
Today, you'll read about some truly interesting assets that you've probably never heard of before:
I will reference different websites and companies in this list as examples. I haven't used a single one of them. These are not endorsements.
1. Crowdfunded real estate
Crowdfunded real estate is a relatively new phenomenon. It's when you can invest in a little piece of real estate as part of a “crowd” of investors. This lets you diversify your real estate holdings without the work of buying and selling properties.
You have some companies, like RealtyMogul, that curate deals and offer you a piece of the investment. There are others, like Fundrise, that run funds that do the investing and you can buy shares of those funds. In both cases, you diversify your risk across several investments and can generate passive cash flow in the process (as well as equity appreciation).
If you aren't an accredited investor, here is a list of real estate investing sites for non-accredited investors.
2. Peer-to-peer lending
Peer-to-peer lending is older than crowdfunded real estate investing but follows the same principles. You act as a bank, lending money to borrowers, but are able to diversify your loans across a variety of different borrowers with varying levels of risk. By funding loans with $10 and $20, you can deploy thousands of dollars across hundred of borrowers that, hopefully, are not correlated.
3. Mineral rights
Mineral rights are exactly that—the rights to extra minerals from the earth for a specific plot of land. They may be called mineral rights, mineral interests, or mineral estate, but the term is clear. It gives the owner the right to mine and extract minerals from the land.
When you own the mineral rights, you own any valuable minerals trapped in the land.
This is lucrative because when you own the mineral rights, you own any valuable minerals trapped in the land. The most valuable minerals are oil and gas, gold, copper, diamonds, and coal. In the United States, most of the value is in finding oil and gas.
When you own a mineral right, you can reach an agreement with a miner or extractor to receive a royalty based on production. For example, it's not uncommon for the Lessee (the miner) to pay the Lessor (owner) 1/8th value of what is produced.
If you want to buy mineral rights, do your homework!
4. Structured settlements
Structured settlements are an interesting asset.
Let's say you slip and fall in a store. You sue the store, because they were negligent, and you reach a settlement with the store. They offer to pay you $5,000 a year for 20 years. You see this a lot whenever there is a settlement on a massive scale with multiple claimants. The responsible party has to do this or they might go bankrupt. If they go bankrupt, no one gets paid.
Structured settlements are fine, except sometimes the person getting the money needs the whole sum. Or they don't want to wait. That's when an investor can offer to buy it from them. At this point, it's really an annuity to the investor.
This area has a bad reputation because sometimes the parties involved don't behave honorably. They might take advantage of someone in a bad situation and offer a lowball amount for a settlement. Whatever the case may be, the instrument itself is aboveboard.
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