THE BLOG

7 Alternatives to the Stock Market

05/12/2010 10:28 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

With the market zooming up and down like a demented bobbin, people who have money are looking for places to put it. As a public service, I can tell them where to put it.

  1. Gold. People are buying it right now as a hedge against Europe, and a leading analyst says that it will be at1500 an ounce by the end of the year. If it does, my mouth will be worth more than my portfolio.

  • Wine. My friend Henry bought several bottles of Chateau Latour a few years ago for325 a bottle. Last week, he made a deal to sell them to a wine broker who will offer them, on consignment, for5000 a bottle. He believes there is a huge market for the haughty beverage among very wealthy nouveau riche Chinese, who are especially fond of Latour. It is not uncommon for them to mix it with 7-Up.
  • Art. A Jasper Johns painting, part of his American flag series of 1960-66, sold for28 million this week. This was the highest price ever fetched at auction for the artist, who is dead, as is its former owner, Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park. The painting was expected to reap a mere15 million, but clearly out-performed due to the vagaries of more traditional investments recently.
  • Cheese. I have conveniently provided a link to some very big opportunities in the cheese business in Eastern Ontario.
  • Horses. This one looks like it can't miss. Azerbaijani firm marketing race horses raised on a farm in Germany.
  • Show Business: Somewhat riskier than race horses, but more satisfying in both success and failure. Investors in The Fantasticks, which has been running somewhere in the world since Nero was a pup, have garnered a 24000% return on their money -- like,80,000 on a330 investment made in 1960. Of course,300 in 1960 would be worth about2000 today. Still a winner. On the other hand, my friend Bob invested several hundred thousand dollars in producing an off-Broadway show and lost all of it. This is better by far, however, than investing in some financial instrument or money market fund and then being told that whoops, your broker lost all of it but is keeping his bonus. People who lose money in show business still get to go to parties, drink with surly actors and wear ascots.
  • Dinner: Those who do not invest in dinner save the price of the dinner. Those who investigate this daily opportunity, however, are more likely to see the benefits of any high-risk, high-return investment -- immediate satisfaction, followed several hours later by an empty feeling.
  • These are just a few of the many options that offer themselves in this risky, volatile environment. You may have others you care to suggest. All submissions are welcome, as long as they don't involve an investment in any stock that is tracked by a professional security analyst.