We’re living – and retiring – in unique times, and some retirement strategies reflect this. Many of those nearing retirement are on their own, as companies typically don’t fund pensions now. As Americans live longer, nest eggs need to stretch further. In a time of low interest rates, some high net worth individuals are exploring alternative investments to help grow their wealth.

Alternative investments are geared towards high net worth individuals with investment experience because of their high minimum investment requirements. Examples of alternative investments include private equity, hedge funds, managed future, real estate, commodities and derivatives contracts. Compared to mainstream investments like stocks and bonds, alternative investments have low liquidity, and may be more difficult to value. The risk and return vary widely among different types of alternative investments.

Because interest rates are at a historical low, some are looking to alternative investments to grow wealth more aggressively. Real estate tends to be a popular alternative investment because of the option for renting out the property while waiting for its value to appreciate. Some look to gold in times of crisis because it can be an effective inflation hedge. One option is to hold gold bars, coins, and jewelry, and another Is to invest in gold exchange-traded funds or gold futures and options. Private equity seeks long-term appreciation from the growth of private companies, as opposed to public markets.

An alternative investment could bring balance to your retirement portfolio by helping you diversify and hedge against downside. Potentially higher income levels could make alternative investments a good strategy for high net worth individuals who have less to worry about during periods of market volatility. After all, you don’t want to let market volatility ruin your retirement. However, alternative investments also tend to be more complicated and less transparent, requiring a certain amount of investment know-how to make the best use of them.

For high net worth individuals, alternative investments could help to grow wealth. In a time when pensions are not the norm, and interest rates are low, it may be time to consider alternative investments.