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Debbie Downer over here, but it's true: Experts are predicting a recession is on the horizon for 2019, which is why the next time you’ve got $1,000—or $10,000—worth of mad money to invest, it might be worth considering a handful of non-monetary options that could pay off just as big (and actually end up being more stable) long-term.

RELATED: The Best Way to Save Money, According to Your Zodiac Sign

wine
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Wine

Yes, paying $2,000 for a bottle of Bordeaux may sound absurd, but it turns out wine is a liquid investment that could net you a serious return…in both the short and long-term. The top 10 Burgundy reds, for example, appreciated in value by 16.8 percent in one year, per Wine-Searcher.com (a tool that helps you vet quality bottles of wine) via a recent interview in the Robb Report. And age seems to matter less than location. (Per the same report, bottles from the most prestigious wineries in the world have doubled in price in less than four years.) Sites like Winebid.com are a good place to start when you’re ready to sell, but keep in mind: You’ll have more luck selling a collection of sought-after vintages versus an individual bottle.

Risk Level: It’s a modest investment in comparison to other objects of interest. (Think stocks, or a fancy car that depreciates in value.) You just have to be sure you have the proper set-up to care for it, like a wine cellar or temperature-controlled fridge.

Typical ROI: It depends on the region it comes from and the length of time you hold onto it, but it could be as high as 50 percent.

woman art
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Art

An investment like this is less about spotting the next Banksy and more about being savvy enough to nab a deal when you see one. In other words, if you have the insight—and cash—to scoop up a piece by an artist you know typically sells for a lot more, go forth. If it’s a piece you love, you’ll reap the rewards as long as it graces your wall.

Risk Level: High. Art is a crap shoot when it comes to a financial pay off, since it’s based on a cultural moment rather than any intrinsic value. (For example, an artist may be all the rage one minute; out the next.) Still, you never know what kind of payoff you’ll receive. Case in point: The man who acquired a Leonardo da Vinci painting for $127 million…then sold it for $450 million.

ROI: As long as it’s a piece you love, you’ll reap the rewards as long as it graces your wall. In the financial sense, time will tell.  

bitcoin
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Cryptocurrencies

You’ve heard all about Bitcoin and other digital cryptocurrencies, but should you invest? Only if you have cash to burn, according to financial experts, since cryptocurrencies are still largely unregulated and come with a huge risk of fraud. Still, as a stock alternative, it could pay off…big. In January 2017, Bitcoin was trading at $961 a coin before surging to $10,000 each. In 2018, that bubble burst and it dropped back down to around $3,500, thanks to skepticism and a lack of confidence in blockchain industries. But there’s room to grow in 2019 and investors aren’t writing cryptocurrencies off just yet.

Risk Level: Extremely high. But as financial regulators start to put blanket protections in place, it’s worth keeping tabs on as a stock alternative.

ROI: It fluctuates a lot, but based on the past two years, it could be anywhere from 260 to 1,000 percent.

couple buying house
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Real Estate

It’s an actual asset. Check. It can produce income (by renting it out). Check. It’s tax-favored. Check. Sure, you have to know the market, but as long as you’re not in a rush to sell and can simultaneously afford to shell out for home improvements and upkeep, this is a good investment.

Risk Level: Medium. Timing is everything here. If the market tanks and you can buy at a low price, it’s a win. If real estate booms and you have the opportunity to invest—and make a profit through rent—it’s also a win. Still, as the economy enters uncertain times—and interest rates continue to rise—you shouldn’t count on anything immediate.

ROI: Again, this is market-dependent, but in places like Arlington, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida, home prices have historically gone up 10 percent in two years.

gold bar
Kevin Hyde/Getty Images

Gold

It may sound old-school, but precious metals—like gold and silver—are a stock market alternative investors have coveted since way before the Bitcoin days. One caveat: Gold is subject to as much fluctuation as anything else, but instead of rising and falling with the market, its worth is more closely tied to the value of the dollar. (When the dollar is weak, precious metals are worth more; when the dollar is strong, it’s the opposite.)

Risk Level: Low. No, you can’t predict the fluctuations (the value of gold fell by a third during the market crash in 2008), but since gold or silver is physical property, the idea—however dated—is that it’s something you can always barter with in tougher times.

ROI: In 2019, its value is expected to surge by 22 percent and shows signs of continued growth during a volatile time for equities, per a report in The Street.

woman on phone using app
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Crowdfunding Apps

A chance to invest in small businesses, pre-IPO companies, real estate and more? There’s an app for that. NewChip is just one example offering Shark Tank meets Kickstarter investment opportunities to users of all different financial backgrounds. There’s no fee to join—all you have to do is download the app and peruse a slew of early or late stage options, everything from a sustainable water campaign to a gender-free clothing boutique. Investing minimums (and limits) vary based on the opportunity, but sometimes you can contribute as little as $100.

Risk Level: High. As with any stock, it’s a gamble, but if you can afford to lose and simultaneously trust your intuition, you could also gain equity in the next big thing.

ROI: It all depends on the investment and how it performs, and you’ll need to read the terms before you commit any cash.

woman in library
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Yourself

No, this isn’t about self-care. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a course on public speaking. Or going back to school to study French. Whatever your objective, if you think it will improve your job performance and earning potential, don’t write it off.

Risk Level: Low. Going in, you’ll probably know how the investment will affect your future salary.  But, even if you don’t, there’s still quite a bit to gain: knowledge, friends, a chance to shake up your routine.

ROI: This one is a long-game, so it’s tough to predict. But shelling out $2,000 for a continuing education course that nets you a $10,000 salary bump (and one that continues to rise year over year) is quite a pay-off, don’t you think?

RELATED: 6 Editors on the One Thing They're Investing in This Year

 

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