What should an investor do? Alternative investments are proving popular given the market uncertainty. But where and in what to invest? I asked some experts
From Hockney to Banksy, gallery owners are always on the lookout for the next extraordinary talent. Rosemarie Noone, director of Claremorris Gallery, says art is a fabulous investment, “because when you buy what you love at an affordable price, you have nothing to lose”.
That might be easier said than done, but she says art doesn’t trade any differently than stocks and bonds, while digital art (or NFTs) has become “indistinguishable from currencies.”
Only the very rich “are going to speculate on artists with stratospheric success like Genieve Figgis or Sean Scully,” she says.
“Start by visiting galleries with a good reputation and looking at good art. Start with public collections, get a feel for what you like. If you have a few thousand dollars to spend, buy work from mid-career artists or established artists, and if your budget is tighter, limited edition prints can be a great investment on a smaller budget. Trust your gut feeling.”
Rummaging around trunk sales can represent the first foray into an interest in collectibles.
Ross Ó Súilleabháin, associate director at Herman & Wilkinson, says his rule is also to buy what you like. “If it goes wrong, at least you like what you have on your hands.”
Coins have always been popular because they have intrinsic value. “But collectors also diversify with Irish silverware, Georgian is very collectible.”
Jewelry is often bought at auction because there is a lower premium (about 20 pieces). “But you’re competing with the actual value of the item, you’re trying to buy items close to their net worth,” he says. “You bet on that. There is a period of hope that a €2,000 Bulgari ring will still be popular 10 years from now. Vintage stuff from the 40’s and 50’s has closed.”
Personal hobbies can turn into a business.
“Pokemon cards are very popular online being bought in batches of, say, 150, where you hunt for valuable cards and send them off to be graded on quality, rarity, and condition. You could spend €150 and find a “sleeper” that is now worth €15,000. It’s a bit of a trawl, but essentially you want to find one that you think has been mispriced, snag it, and you could make a fortune.
Gold has been a valuable commodity for thousands of years and used to be the standard backing currencies around the world.
“It’s tangible property, which means it’s detached from the economic system,” said Stephen Flood, CEO of GoldCore. “It doesn’t rely on cash flow, dividends or yields. It’s nobody else’s responsibility. It is valuable and gives financial sovereignty, it is the ultimate form of money in your possession that can be traded anywhere.”
He thinks it’s more stable than cash.
“It’s the mass printing of money that got us where we are today; it’s constantly being devalued,” he says.
As with all commodities, a longer-term view is essential. Since 2002, the annual return has been 8.3 percent per year against the euro, and up to 12 percent per year worldwide. Mr Flood says you should buy for delivery or storage. “We store gold in London, Dublin and Zurich segregated or allocated in specific bars or coins, separate from other customers.
“Well, if you ever want it, it can be shipped fully insured in three days.”
Brendan Costello of Galway-based Talk Financial says once your risk profile and basic financial needs are met, an alternative option is an energy fund.
“The mandate of an insured fund is to buy into companies involved in the development of hydrogen, ocean energy, wind, commodities, etc. People want to avoid oil, fracking and all that, but companies like BP Oil are spending billions on alternative energy research — more than oil drilling. They have very deep pockets.”
From a market perspective, ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) investing is very popular.
“It’s an evolving process and a good fund manager will put money where the highest return will be. Most people don’t consider the “ethical” part of their portfolio until you mention it to them, but when you do, they want to embrace it. But only if the yield is there.”
Investing in your future health can be a great way to protect yourself.
“For those who can afford it, the available gold-plated health insurance options typically cover private accommodation in every public and private hospital in the country, including the high-tech Blackrock Clinic and Mater Private,” says TotalHealthCover.ie’s Dermot Goode.
“As well as excellent accommodation protection, they include excellent no-deductible reimbursements for a range of reimbursable outpatient expenses and some offer full coverage for certain private A&E clinics. Consider VHI’s Premium Care program at €4,000 per adult, Laya’s Empower Secure program at €4,828 or Irish Life Health Plan 09 at €5,493.”
What’s next for cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrencies were initially promoted as a secure and global means of payment, but were not widely popularized among young and old professional investors, especially during the Covid lockdowns.
Soaring crypto prices have been self- meet, collect new money that drives up prices and attracts more money, often via telephone based apps.
Last year, Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf compared the most popular crypto asset, b itcoin, to 17th-century Dutch tulip mania, the classic wealth bubble that also happened to have been inflated during a plague epidemic.
Bitcoin has lost 70 percent of its value since last November. The entire market is suffering and many investors are suffering enormous losses.
Views differ as to what will happen next. For Talk Financial’s Brendan Costello, the buy question is simple: “It’s crazy. Crypto is crazy.”
Jillian Godsil, editor of Blockleaders.io, a crypto-focused site, says no one should invest what they can’t afford to lose. “The same applies to all investments, whether crypto or normal. People bought bitcoin for say $40,000 and saw it go to almost $70,000 and today it’s hovering around $21,000 so on paper you’ve lost money but only if you cash it out.”
She adds you should be prepared to wait and it might be enough to buy a vacation in time. “If you need it to pay off a car loan, you don’t want it to go under.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/from-gold-to-pokemon-cards-expert-advice-on-the-best-value-alternative-investments-41807913.html From gold to Pokemon cards, expert advice on the cheapest alternative investments