Every asset you purchase appreciates (value increases) or depreciates (value decreases). One of the keys to building wealth and achieving financial freedom is to invest in the right types of assets.
Of course, there’s no guarantee any asset will continue to increase in value. But by understanding which assets have the best potential for appreciation, you can make better-informed decisions about where to allocate your money.
In this article, we’ll look at how appreciating assets can help build wealth and grow your net worth. We’ll also look at the best appreciating assets and why you might want to add them to your investment portfolio.
What is an Appreciating Asset?
An appreciating asset is any investment that increases in value over time. This could be a tangible asset like gold or real estate, or a financial asset like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Appreciating assets differ from depreciating assets because they offer the potential for long-term wealth creation.
One of the benefits of investing in appreciating assets is that they can provide a hedge against inflation. The investments we’ll look at in this article tend to outpace inflation in the long run.
How Appreciating Assets Build Your Net Worth
Appreciating assets are an important part of building your net worth. Not only do they increase in value over time, but they may also provide a source of passive income and potential capital gains when you sell them.
When you invest in appreciating assets, you can use the money generated from the asset to purchase more investments or reinvest back into the asset itself. This concept of compounding is one of the most powerful wealth-building strategies available to investors.
This article should not be taken as investment advice. Be sure to do your own research before making any investment decision. If you need personalized advice, please seek assistance from a financial professional.
Best Appreciating Assets to Build Wealth
Now, let’s look at the specific assets you may want to add to your portfolio.
Company stocks are among the most popular and most effective appreciating assets. Of course, stocks don’t always go up. Investing in stocks is risky, and there are always stocks losing value. However, you can reduce your risk by investing in many different companies rather than buying shares of stock in only one company.
The average annualized historical return of the S&P 500 is about 10.67%, and the average for the Dow Jones index is about 8.7% (source). As you can see, a diversified portfolio of stocks is an excellent long-term investment based on many decades of historical data.
Investing in the stock market doesn’t require you to pick individual stocks to buy. A simpler approach is to invest in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Low-cost ETFs are an excellent option for the typical investor who wants to maximize potential long-term gains without taking excessive risk.
There are thousands of different ETFs to choose from, and you can find some ideas in our list of the best ETFs for long-term growth.
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Webull and Moomoo don’t offer all the same features as Public, but they target investors who want access to more data and research tools.
2. Real Estate
Real estate is a proven asset that has helped to build the fortunes of countless millionaires and billionaires. Like stocks, real estate can be quite volatile in the short term. Over time, however, real estate has proven to be an excellent way to build wealth through appreciation and income generation.
Building a diversified portfolio is key for long-term growth and stability. You may want to invest in the stock market and real estate to improve your diversification.
There are several ways to invest in real estate aside from building equity in your own home. Details of a few options are below, so you can decide which is the best fit for you.
Rental properties are a great option for investors who want to generate passive income. Investing in rental properties is an excellent way to use leverage (borrowing money) and build wealth over time.
You can purchase rental properties with cash, or you can take out a loan from banks or private lenders. With the right financing and management, rental investments can produce healthy returns while also providing some security against inflation.
While owning rental properties is a proven way to build wealth, being a landlord isn’t for everyone. You may not want to deal with plumbing issues, broken appliances, or problem tenants. One option is to hire a property manager to handle these details, but that will cut into your profits.
Arrived offers an alternative way to invest passively in rental properties. With Arrived, you can invest as little as $100 and earn a share of a rental property. You’ll have no responsibility for managing the property. Investors earn quarterly dividends based on the rental income. It’s a low-cost way (and completely passive) way to start with rental properties.
Real Estate Crowdfunding
Real estate crowdfunding is one of the best passive real estate investments. There are many different platforms, but some are open only to accredited investors. Fundrise is one of the most popular platforms, and it’s open to any investor (accredited or non-accredited).
With Fundrise, you’ll invest in a diversified portfolio of income-generating properties including apartments, condos, office buildings, and more. Fundrise allows investors to start with as little as $10, so it’s extremely beginner-friendly. Investors are paid quarterly dividends, and the value of your investment can grow as the properties in the portfolio appreciate.
Historically, Fundrise returns have averaged around 10% per year. Overall, Fundrise is an excellent and simple option for anyone who wants to add real estate to their portfolio.
CrowdStreet is another popular real estate crowdfunding platform. They offer REITs that allow you to invest in a portfolio or properties, or you can choose a specific property that you want to invest in.
The average returns produced by CrowdStreet to date have been quite impressive, but there’s a downside. CrowdStreet is open only to accredited investors, so it won’t be an option for most investors. Additionally, the minimum investment for most projects is $25,000.
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) allow you to invest in real estate without owning property. REITs offer access to many types of real estate, such as office buildings, apartment complexes, shopping centers, warehouses, etc.
REITs pay dividends regularly, and they also offer the potential for capital appreciation in the long run.
REITs can be either publicly-traded or private. Publicly-traded REITs are available on the stock market, so you can buy and sell shares anytime. This liquidity is one of the major advantages of investing in public REITs. Most real estate investments offer limited or no liquidity.
Another appreciating asset is land. Land can be a great long-term investment because it tends to appreciate over time, and it’s also relatively low risk.
While you can invest in several types of land, farmland is one of the best options. Farmland is a finite resource, and it’s also impacted by population growth. As populations increase, so does the demand for food, making farmland increasingly valuable.
Over the past 20 years, U.S. farmland has produced an average annualized return of more than 12% (source). Farmland may not be the first investment that comes to mind, but with that kind of history, it shouldn’t be ignored.
Unfortunately, farmland is not the most accessible option for the average investor. Of course, buying farmland will cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Another option is to invest through AcreTrader (open only to accredited investors).
AcreTrader is a crowdfunding platform specifically for farmland investing. You can purchase a share of a specific farm in the United States. You’ll earn dividends from the rental income, and the property will be sold at some point (most deals have a target hold of a few years). When the farm is sold, investors are paid based on their ownership share.
4. Precious Metals
Precious metals, gold and silver especially, are a classic way to store wealth. Precious metals tend to appreciate in value over time, and they can be liquidated quickly if needed.
Gold is the most popular precious metal for investors because it has historically held its purchasing power over time. Gold is also seen as a safe haven asset during economic uncertainty or market volatility.
Although precious metals typically appreciate over a long period, they can be extremely volatile in the short term. Gold often moves inversely to stocks, so it can hedge against losses in other investments.
You can buy physical gold or silver and store it yourself (not the safest option), you can have it stored for you, or you can invest in precious metal ETFs. ETFs are the easiest way to gain exposure to gold since they trade on stock exchanges like any other security, offering complete liquidity.
Bonds are debt investments that offer a steady stream of income. Bonds are issued by governments, corporations, and other entities when they need to borrow money.
When you invest in bonds, you’re giving the issuer a loan for a specific amount of time. In exchange for your loan, the issuer pays you interest payments over the bond’s life until it matures.
Bonds are generally lower-risk investments than the stock market and real estate, so the returns also tend to be lower. Bonds may not be the cornerstone of your portfolio, but they can provide steady income and diversification.
6. Fine Wine
Fine wine is an alternative investment that has grown in popularity over the past few years. Fine wines can be a great way to diversify your portfolio since it’s not correlated to stock market performance.
The value of fine wines tends to appreciate over time. Many people view fine wines as a store of value, similar to precious metals.
If you choose to invest in fine wine, you’ll probably want it stored somewhere safe, secure, and insured. One of the easiest and most practical ways to invest in wine is through a platform like Vint or Vinovest.
With Vint, you can buy a share in a collection of fine wines, and you can start with as little as $100. Vinovest works differently. Their minimum investment is $1,000, and they’ll select a portfolio of wines for you.
Both platforms allow you to tap into the wisdom of experience wine investors. They’ll also provide secure storage, so it’s a hands-free investment.
Read our comparison of Vint vs. Vinovest to see which one is right for you.
Masterworks, an online platform, allows you to buy shares of artwork from some of the world’s most renowned artists. The platform is open to anyone, and shares typically sell for $20 (although the minimum investment on Masterworks varies depending on the artwork). Masterworks stores your asset securely so it will not be exposed to theft or damage.
Art investments are attractive because they provide diversification and have a history of excellent returns over the long term. Artwork prices tend to appreciate over time, especially when buying work from well-known artists. The value of fine art has also done well during periods of high inflation.
It may take years for your investment to increase in value, and the target hold for most of their investments is 3-10 years. Your money will likely be tied up for a long time, but it can be a great way to diversify your portfolio.
Collectible assets, such as coins, stamps, baseball cards, and even sneakers, present another way to diversify your portfolio. Collectibles have the potential to appreciate over time, especially rare items that have high demand. Although, of course, it’s also possible for collectibles to lose value.
The best approach is to invest in something that you know well. If you don’t have expertise in collectibles, it’s best to find something else to invest in.
Successful businesses grow in value over time, and there are a few ways to invest in businesses aside from the stock market.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you can start your own business. Investing money into the business may allow you to experience significant gains over the long run.
Another option is to invest in franchises. FranShares is an investment platform that allows anyone to purchase an ownership interest in franchise-based businesses. It’s a passive investment, and the business will be run by someone with expertise in franchises.
Platforms like EquityNet and Mainvest make it possible to invest in privately-owned small businesses. Historically, private equity investing has been difficult or impossible for the average person, but these platforms make it far more accessible.
Commodities like oil, natural gas, corn, and wheat present other options for diversifying your portfolio. Commodities tend to be less volatile than the stock market, and they can protect against inflation.
Investing in commodities is typically done through a futures contract or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Futures contracts involve buying and selling commodities at a specified price on a specific date in the future. ETFs allow you to buy shares in an investment vehicle that tracks commodity prices.
You can find some possibilities in our list of commodity ETFs.
Cryptocurrency has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Investing in crypto comes with risks, but there are also potential rewards. We’re listing it last because it’s highly volatile and unpredictable, even more than other investments like stocks.
Investing in crypto is not for everyone, but it’s an option that some investors choose to pursue.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s impossible to say which asset class will appreciate the most over any given time period. However, assets like stocks, real estate, and land tend to be productive and reliable over an extended period.
No asset is immune to losing value. Even safe assets like savings accounts and CDs will essentially lose value during periods of high inflation (when inflation is higher than the interest rate earned).
Generally speaking, homes tend to appreciate over time if they are well-maintained and located in desirable areas or neighborhoods. However, there’s no guarantee that any particular home’s value will increase.
Your savings account will increase in value over time, assuming you’re earning interest and not withdrawing money from the account. However, the low interest rates earned by savings accounts may or may not exceed inflation. If inflation outpaces the interest you earn, the buying power of that money will decrease.
Final Thoughts on Assets That Appreciate
Appreciating assets can be great for building wealth and increasing your net worth. There are a variety of asset classes that have the potential to appreciate in value, from stocks and real estate to businesses and commodities.
Find an asset class (or a few) that you’re comfortable with and focus on investing in it over the long term. As always, do your research before taking any risk with your investments.