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Best Alternative Investments for Inflation

The definition of inflation is a general increase in prices that results in a fall of purchasing power.

ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS • PRIVATE MARKETS • INFLATION

While small amounts of inflation are normal and necessary for a functioning economy, we have seen a spike in inflation over the last year with the cost of many common goods rising between 7% – 10%. This inflation has led to dramatic swings in the market across numerous asset classes including stocks and bonds.

While we are hopeful that inflationary pressures are easing as demand wanes, supply chains are restored, and employees become easier to hire, it may be time to evaluate your portfolio to make sure it is properly protected if inflation lasts longer than expected.

Below we have aggregated a list of investment opportunities that both provide diversification to traditional stock and bond portfolios while also possibly protecting investors capital during inflationary periods.

Alternative Investments for Inflation

Real Estate Investments

Real estate is one of the most unique assets classes in the world given the distinctness of each property type. It is also considered by many as a prudent investment to be included in a well-diversified portfolio. The four main types of real estate are land, residential, commercial and industrial with numerous sub-categories for each.

Real estate has historically performed well during periods of inflations given the ability to  raise rents commensurate with inflation rates.

Commodities

Commodities are raw materials and agricultural products that are traded globally based on set prices given supply versus demand of the product. The six main categories for commodities are as follows: energy, base metals, precious metals, agricultural, softs and live stock.

Commodities usually perform well during periods of inflation given the physical nature of the asset and the ability to pass through costs of production to purchasers of these assets.

Treasury Inflation-Protected Security

Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) are government bonds where the value of the bond can rise and fall with consumer prices. While the underlying rate is fixed, the interest payments will rise and fall with the value of the bond based on inflation. TIPS are sold in five-, 10- or 30-year terms and help diversify a portfolio during inflationary environments.

Direct Lending

Direct lending is form of private corporate debt where the lender is making loans to a company without the use of an investment bank. In most cases, these loans are utilized when a company is purchased by a private equity firm as they can be much quicker and cheaper to obtain than traditional debt providers such as banks.

The advent of direct lending was a result of traditional banks reducing their lending after the Great Financial Crisis and the significant growth of private equity firms over the last decade. Companies might also seek loans from direct lending firms to pay for new growth initiatives. In most cases, the direct lending firm has first lien on the company and its assets, meaning they will be paid back before all other debt and equity holders.

The interest rate on the loans is variable and move up or down with major lending rates such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). As such, when inflation and interest rates are rising or high the investor takes advantage of higher overall yields on their capital.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a large asset class with a variety of investments that have the following characteristics:

  • Essential or necessary product or service
  • Long useful lives
  • Monopoly/quasi-monopoly market position
  • Operate in regulated environments/or are less affected by economic cycles
  • Cash flow and earnings vary minimally in multiple environments


Infrastructure assets usually have contractual agreements to increase pricing based on the consumer price index (CPI) that is a common measure to assess inflation.

Summary

While inflation is daunting, especially at the current levels, the investments above display the numerous ways to protect your portfolio over the long-run.

Learn more about how Citizen Mint reviews opportunities in these spaces by downloading our Investment Philosophy and Process white paper.

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