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The average consumer is familiar with savings accounts. They safely store your money until you need it. If you’re lucky, they even offer a little interest on deposits. However, for those looking to retire early, savings account interest rates are just not going to cut it.

Sometimes, you have to be a little more resourceful if you really want to make your money work for you. The following are a few investment ideas you may never have considered, ranging from the lesser-known to truly unique.

Certificates of Deposit
The key to earning high interest rates on savings is to deposit your funds and not touch them for a while. Banks reward customers who commit to longer-term investment periods with attractive annual percentage yields.

A CD is basically a savings account that accomplishes just this. Terms can vary from a few months to several years and the longer you choose, the higher the rate. There is virtually no risk involved and the only downside is you can’t make any withdrawals until the account matures, or else face early withdrawal penalties.

Savvy investors can address this issue by employing a strategy known as “laddering” to maintain a level of liquidity in their portfolio while taking advantage of the high rates associated with longer-term CDs.

The great thing about gold as an investment is that the world supply is limited and therefore, it holds value. Gold prices tend to rise when the value of the dollar drops. So, considering economic conditions as of present, adding gold to your portfolio can be especially lucrative.

If you want more tangible assurance of your investment, it is possible to buy actual, physical gold bars or any of the popular bullion coins from a reputable seller and stockpile them away somewhere.

The easier and safer way to invest is to buy gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds that invest in gold mining companies. Keep in mind, gold funds help you avoid the markup associated with buying gold but are also subject to special tax rules.

Yes, trees. The larger they grow, the more valuable they become.

You probably had no idea that investment opportunities exist in trees, but timber and hardwood investments actually offer a high return while eliminating the unpredictability of today’s markets. In fact, investments in trees have continuously outperformed the stock market over time.

Granted, trees are a long-term investment. The upside is there will always be a demand for wood, especially when you consider that the current rate of tropical deforestation means that our rain forests will eventually disappear. The economic and ecological need for, and corresponding price, of trees is rising and making buying and planting them increasingly profitable.

Daily Yakezie Short Carnival: Diversification @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Yield On Cost @ The Wealth Artisan, & Gold as an Investment: Performance over Time @ Invest It Wisely

Originally posted 2010-05-25 20:35:27.