With the January blues upon us and payday seemingly further away than ever, maybe it's time to plan for some long-term investments.
In a time of low interest rates, many people are looking for alternative areas in which they can invest their cash.
As with all investments, there is no such thing as a sure thing and the values of these more left-field opportunities can go down as well as up. Often a certain level of expertise in the fields in which people are putting their money can go a long way.
But for those who want a bigger return – and perhaps a bit more fun – than putting their money into a savings accounts, here are seven alternative investment ideas you might want to consider.
Vintage Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis have rocketed in value over the last decade with some of the most sought-after models more than tripling in value.
But there are a number of pitfalls in the classic car market, especially for those without detailed knowledge of this area. Appearance and the mechanical aspects of a car can affect its value widely, as can its scarcity and the vagaries of current trends among petrolheads.
Wine as an investment outperformed the FTSE in 2017 and is becoming increasingly popular for those who can resist the urge to uncork their stock.
Wines from Burgundy have traditionally been the best source of investment, and can increase in value both as supply of the top labels become more scarce and the wine matures with age.
The global art market is booming, but investing in paintings or photographs comes with high risks.
Experts advise looking at graduation shows of art colleges to pick up art that might appreciate in value if the young artists go on to become established stars. In the meantime, your investment will also look nice on your wall.
The number of articles saying how much Bitcoin and other crypto-currency has risen in value in recent months is probably matched only by the number warning that the market is about to crash.
The huge surge in value of crypto-cash has tempted a number of investors, but authorities have warned cryptocurrency investors to be aware of scams and criminal activity in the sector. Bitcoin went into freefall at the end of 2017, at one point losing 36% of its value in just five days.
Jewellery and diamonds
The latest Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index – an annual guide to left-field investment opportunities – singles out jewellery as this year’s big thing.
Jewellery has risen in value by 142% over the past 10 years, with pearls, Art Deco jewellery and coloured gems all rising steadily in value and being described as “a highly mobile store of wealth”.
There aren’t many big cities that have not seen a surge in student accommodation in recent years, with purpose built blocks selling for vast amounts.
Student housing is likely to be a safe bet as new tenants arrive each September, and some investors will buy property when their own children go to university then hold onto houses as investments afterwards.
Stamps and other collectables
Taken on weight alone, rare stamps are the world’s most valuable commodity, with prices for some of the most sought after pieces reaching millions of pounds.
There are experts exist who can help people invest in stamps and other collectables – such as toys, coins and fashion – can also provide a return, but these can be volatile markets and a lot of what people believe will be valuable can easily end up being worthless.