Interesting Investments

Classic cars, private islands, the latest IT technology, going green, and putting yourself first. What do these all have in common? They are some of the interesting new investment trends in our globally unreliable economy. Here are a few investments for 2012 that you may not have considered yet (but should).
Text by Sandy Lindsey | June 27, 2018 | Lifestyle

The stock market remains very unpredictable with broad swings that can make even the most adventurous of investors wary. Real estate is not providing the generous returns of a few years back. And let’s not talk about even more conservative options, which are hardly paying anything these days. This leaves us with what? Gold, treasury notes, and thinking outside the conventional investing box in ways that are forward-looking, practical and in some cases downright fun.
Combining all of the above is the growing interest in classic cars, both as individual auto investments and the opportunity to build a classic car collection. The basic enthusiasm for precision driving machines is further fueled by such positive reports as the Barrett-Jackson’s Auction Company’s Mini-Index. The index consists of classic American sports and muscle cars, with latest figures offering an impressive annual growth in the 16% range over 10 years, which is much healthier than the annual growth rate of 4.45% reported by the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the same timeframe. “We’ve seen a lot more first-time buyers coming in,” says Craig Jackson, Chairman & CEO of Barrett-Jackson’s Auction Company’s Mini-Index. “They are novices to the auction world, but they are car enthusiasts, and they are looking for an investment they can really get into.”
He goes on to cite several of the cars on the Mini-Index — highlighted by such standouts as the 1967 Shelby GT 500, the 1970 Camaro Z28 and the 1957 Thunderbird — that are poised to reach all-time peaks on these “blue chip” vehicles. It should be noted though that while classic car prices are less capricious than stocks, they can be a lot harder to liquidate fast when quick cash is needed as compared to simply calling your stock broker and saying “sell.”
The current global economy is also an excellent time to acquire some key real estate, but we’re not talking regular real estate here…we’re talking about acquiring your own private island. Lately there have been some exceptional deals available. “This is a result of folks needing a quick sale to make up for other losses, such as having their portfolios hit by credit losses, as opposed to an actual drop in the island’s value,” says Chris Krolow, CEO of Private Islands, Inc. In fact, he reports that the private island market has a strong history of appreciating faster than any other kind of real estate. “We’re actually very fortunate,” he adds, “because unlike most sectors of real estate where there’ve been an excessive boom in construction over the last few years, ours is truly a finite market of maybe 800 properties up for grabs each year. When it comes to natural private islands, they just aren’t making any more of them.”
Of course if private islands and automobiles are not your thing, you can always invest in the best asset you have: Yourself. One increasingly popular trend in self-improvement is hiring a personal stylist or image consultant to help take your wardrobe to the next level. “What we wear is the first communication that people have with us,” says Elysze Held, personal stylist and founder of Style Out Of The City. “First impressions do count. I help clients learn to articulate and cement their personal look and style, so when they look in the mirror they are fearless! I work with clients to individualize and personalize an exceptional wardrobe that’s versatile, stylish and lasts!”
“Right now, I’m getting so many calls from people in transition,” she continues. “For example, people acquiring a new job going from a conservative work culture into a trendier atmosphere; or from a trendy atmosphere into a more conservative one; or from career to becoming a stay-at-home mom; or someone getting back into the job market. A changeover often means a new style — you can’t change your image without some ruthless scrutiny. These are all business concepts, and successful people like to practice the same principles in everything that they do!”
Once you get your wardrobe under control, it’s time to invest in adding some knowledge to your portfolio. The wealth of options in executive-level continuing education can be daunting. One standout in this growing field of making courses available for the busy businessperson is the recent partnership between The New York Times Company and the University of Southern California to offer courses via online learning platforms. “We are excited with this first step as well as the potential for further depth and collaboration,” says Felice Nudelman, Executive Director of Education at The New York Times Company. “We intend to grow in the market.” While at present these online programs — which include “executive education in business,” amongst others — do not apply to a degree, full-fledged degree programs are also anticipated.
So what else can you do with those funds that used to earn so consistently in the stock market a few years ago? “Many people think that starting a new business in a slowing economy doesn’t make sense, but for many businesses, there are advantages,” says Peter Justen, founder of MyBizHomepage (now 5Plus). For example, consider that rents go down in a slow market. “Study the past rental rates and current market conditions before you negotiate,” he advises. You may also be able to get deals on build-outs, signage and parking. Media advertising rates are usually more flexible in a tight economy. And with less startups opening their doors, this allows your firm to make a bigger splash, such as with a grand opening.
Whether a startup or established business, this a good time to invest in key technology to help skyrocket your productivity, whether your thinking IT software and hardware or green options such as solar panels which will not only help your bottom line with energy savings but may qualify for government and other subsidies and tax breaks. “Invest in things, whether it’s software or hardware or machinery, that will save money for the company,” suggests Patty Juarez, Regional VP for Wells Fargo Commercial Banking. “Focus on the investments where you can get a better R.O.I. and get some value-add right away!”