Cristal's Blog

6 Ways to Build Wealth Without Touching the Stock Market

January 25, 2019

Back to Articles


Excited young woman with umbrella under a money rain isolated on grey wall background. Positive emotions financial success luck good economy build wealth

There are so many ways to build wealth without relying on one of the most common wealth-building platforms: the stock market. To some, investing in the stock market might feel a bit risky today since we are at near-record highs. In fact, we are now in the longest bull run in the American economy since WW2. Many experts warn that it is only a matter of time before the market changes. That’s right, they say we are due for a major correction in the near future. That could mean that now is the worst time possible to invest in stocks.

Only the top 4% of companies, around 1,000 stocks per year, account for almost all the wealth creation in the market. So, if you opt to pick stocks individually, you have a 4 in 100 shot in making the right choice each time. Plus, half of the stocks that hit the market have only a seven-year lifespan. That means that 50% of new stocks created today won’t be around in seven years. However, there are several new alternative investment options to try. These options can protect your portfolio against the fluctuations in the broader economy. So, rather than putting all of your hard earned money in one basket, consider these 6 ways to build wealth without the stock market:

  • Purchase rental properties and/or vacation homes:
    A drop in homeownership rates has led to a rental boom, which means investors can easily boost their finances by purchasing a second property. The cool thing about investing in real estate is that there are plenty of ways to do it. You can invest in commercial real estate, you can invest in rental properties, you could flip houses, or you could invest in properties that would be hot on Airbnb. If you feel overwhelmed by those options, it’s totally normal! After all, real estate investing is a tricky business where you can lose money just as easily as you can earn it. But by working with the right Realtor®, you can be sitting pretty in no time. Rental investments can generate returns, as long as you follow the rules. Luckily, if you’re looking to buy in upscale Santa Barbara, this market has a strong interest in rentals and vacation homes. But if you don’t want to be a landlord and manage tenants and maintenance yourself, I recommend you hire a trustworthy property manager. 

Read: What You Really Need to Know to Find A Real Estate Agent

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending, Social Lending, and Crowdfunding:entrepreneur and small business startup funding sources infographics
    Lending industries growing rapidly today include peer-to-peer lending, social lending, and crowdfunding. With these platforms, borrowers can connect with a wide range of potential lenders instead of relying on traditional banks for financing. The borrowers are individual consumers or small businesses, and the investments usually target an 8% to 12% return. Most of these new platforms focus on consumer lending and SMB Lending. In order to take advantage of these platforms, a borrower needs to be aware of credit cycles and changes in interest rates.
  • Alternative Lending
    If you are interested in investing in specialty finance products, you can look forward to enjoying yields of 8%-20%. We are talking about investing in real estate, commercial loans, or legal settlements. This type of investment requires less time and energy than buying and managing physical investments. Alternative investments used to be exclusive to ultra-high-net-worth investors or investment banks. Not anymore. Today, retail investors can jump in the game through platforms like YieldStreet. Companies like YieldStreet offer an alternative investment marketplace designed to create investment opportunities in real estate, litigation finance, and consumer lending.
  • Franchisees
    Owning a franchise is not for everyone, even though investing in one can earn between 10% and 50%. However, in order to yield that much, you have to buy into the right franchise at the right time. First, you must have the cash to invest in a franchise, and you have to familiarize yourself with the requirements of a particular one. For example, to open a Chick-Fil-A, you must have $10,000 in cash and go through a strict recruitment process. To open a McDonald’s, you need to have $1 million dollars. Forbes Magazine contributor, Ed Teixeria, suggests, "....identify the personal commitment you'll be required to make in order to build a successful franchise. It won't make sense to work 10 to 12 hour days operating a franchise if the total financial return is not equitable."  
  • Online BusinessesOnline Business text with man using a laptop in a modern gray chair
    You can find millions of ways to build wealth with an online business. You could sell digital products, create courses, write eBooks, or build a membership community where people pay a monthly fee. How about building an e-commerce store that sells some kind of product you like? Or, why not become an affiliate marketer? That way, you’ll make money recommending and selling someone else’s products online through a link. The options are nearly endless. Best of all, you can start your online business with a laptop from home during your spare time.

Read: Survey Finds More People Are Working From Home Today

  • Business Flipping
    Believe it or not, experts say starting a business with the intention to sell is a great wealth building strategy. This can be an online business or a traditional brick and mortar business. Most people who flip businesses do so with the goal of boosting profitability early and selling in just three to five years. Some entrepreneurs who buy and sell businesses do it over and over, often holding several different businesses at once.

As you can see, diverse, lucrative investment options designed to build wealth exist outside of the stock market. Of course, before you diversify, I recommend you discuss your strategy with a professional like your lawyer. The big question to ask yourself: Am I willing to understand and go after them? I promise you that I am willing to help those wanting to build wealth with real estate. If you’re looking to move in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please call at 805.886.9378 or email me at


Back to Articles

Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch