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These skilled trades jobs pay more than $50K



Careers in the skilled trades can bring median annual salaries of around $56,287. ServiceTitan found 10 jobs that might be the right fit for you.
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When the COVID-19 pandemic began and people were suddenly spending more time at home, many started looking at repairs and renovations they’d put off. For employers and commercial building owners, having fewer workers in the office made it an ideal time to schedule renovations and other structural improvements without disrupting business. Though the timing seemed right to address such issues, obstacles presented themselves: supply chain hiccups and a shortage of workers in skilled trades.

Between the housing market upswing and infrastructure advances, employment opportunities exist in the residential, commercial, and government sectors. When looking at salaries for these jobs, ServiceTitan examined 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau reported the median annual wage for jobs in skilled trades is $56,287. Most of these professions don’t require a costly investment in higher education, instead depending on apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

This list includes the top 10 skilled trade jobs within this target salary range. Below is information about each position, potential areas of expertise, an overview of the education and training typically required for each trade, as well as the projected employment growth from 2020 to 2030.

A sheet metal worker in a yellow hard hat.


Sheet metal workers

– Median annual wage in 2021: $53,440
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 3.6%

Sheet metal workers fabricate, install, and maintain thin steel aluminum and alloyed metal sheets. Most commonly, sheet metal workers can be found in manufacturing, infrastructure, and construction fields. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts, home exterior siding, metal lagging of mechanical systems, and outdoor signage are just a few types of jobs sheet metal workers tackle.

There are several specializations in sheet metal work. Those in fabrication—or precision sheet metal workers, also known as metal and plastic machine workers—make parts for various industries. This often finds them using computer-aided drafting and design systems, lasers, and automated machinery.

Contributing to the 3.6% rise in sheet metal worker jobs forecast through 2030 are changes in the housing market and U.S. investments in infrastructure. Additionally, new energy-efficient equipment coming to market will lead to increased calls for installation work. New technologies, such as prefabricated duct systems in residential construction, could hinder these numbers from rising higher.

Two men working on steel bridge construction.


Structural iron and steel workers

– Median annual wage in 2021: $58,550
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 5.9%

Ironworkers are involved in the construction, rehabilitation, reinforcement, and even demolition of bridges, roads, and buildings.

Structural iron and steel workers erect structural frameworks using levels, lasers, tag lines, and plumb bobs, then join them with bolts, wires, and welding. Ironworkers assemble the cranes and derricks used on these building sites, too. 

With the U.S. focusing on infrastructure improvements to structures such as old bridges and highways, ironworkers are set to see a 6% increase in demand between now and 2030. A surge in growth was first noticed during the recovery from the COVID-19 recession in 2020. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently planning water infrastructure efforts using State Revolving Funds, which will call for ironworkers. However, special tying and placing equipment entering the market could hinder growth in the future.

Two brickmasons laying stones.


Brickmasons and blockmasons

– Median annual wage in 2021: $59,340
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): -5.3%

Masonry workers, or masons, use brick, stone, and concrete in the construction of everything from buildings and dams, to walkways and roads.

Expertise is often based on the materials used. Brickmasons, also known as bricklayers or blockmasons, use materials including brick, terra cotta, and concrete blocks to construct and repair structures. Refractory masons specializing in high-temperature work with furnaces, fireplaces, and industrial sites, also fall under this category. Taking on detailed work are cement masons and concrete finishers who prevent defects in sidewalks, walls, columns, and other structural components made from concrete.

Granite, marble, and limestone are various types of stone materials that fall under the expertise of stonemasons, who use them when building structures and other surfaces. Floors, walkways, and patios are also created by terrazzo workers and finishers, or terrazzo masons. There is some crossover in their skills with that of cement masons.

Changes in materials and installation practices are projected to decrease the need for masons of all types of expertise in the future.

A pipefitter wearing orange gloves tightening pipes.


Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

– Median annual wage in 2021: $59,880
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 5%

Though they may use different approaches or techniques, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters all install, inspect, test, repair, and maintain pipelines, piping systems, and fixtures used to convey water, gas, and other substances.

Depending on the materials they use, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters may specialize in either residential (copper, steel, and plastic pipe materials) or industrial projects (large steel pipe materials).

Plumbers, who are considered journey- or master-level depending on their training and experience, fall into the residential category and primarily deal with water, gas, and piping systems for homes and businesses. Pipefitters and steamfitters (or fitters) specialize in systems found in industrial, manufacturing, and commercial industries, which may carry chemicals, acids, and gases.

The projected 5% growth in employment for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is based on the 2020 recovery from the COVID-19 recession, which brought an influx of new construction. There is also an increased call for sprinkler fitters as states update building codes for fire suppression systems.

An electrician working with wires and lights in the ceiling.



– Median annual wage in 2021: $60,040
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 9.1%

Think of an electrician’s duties, and the mind generally goes to installation, maintenance, and repairs of equipment and control systems, specifically those for the electrical power, communications, lighting, and wiring found in homes, businesses, and factories.

Many electricians, however, begin their work before installation takes place. Experienced electricians are often called to join a team of architects and engineers when they design a new electrical system. Another area of expertise can be seen in the work of lineman electricians, who install distribution and transmission lines.

What’s on the horizon for electricians? Currently, there are projections for 84,000 job openings per year. As the U.S. government explores alternative sources of power, the field should continue to expand, as electricians will be required to link solar and wind generators to power grids and homes.

In August, the government’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was applauded by the National Electrical Contractors Association, which pointed to the $369 billion investment in domestic energy production and manufacturing that “will provide NECA contractors with new opportunities to modernize our energy portfolio and create good-paying jobs across America.”

A man building a drywall ceiling.



– Median annual wage in 2021: $61,080
– Typical education needed for entry: No formal educational credential
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Moderate-term on-the-job training
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 0.5%

Tapers, or finishers, prep wallboard for paint or wallpaper. They also repair damaged wallboard. Often, tapers work in conjunction with drywall and ceiling tile installers. Drywall installers, known as drywallers or hangers, cut and hang wallboard. Ceiling tile installers, or acoustical carpenters, install tiles to ceilings to block sound. Many tapers perform all three skills on their own.

Future employment growth for drywall and ceiling tile installers is projected to remain steady, whereas that for tapers looks to decline due to new tools hitting the market.

Building inspectors walking on a construction site.


Construction and building inspectors

– Median annual wage in 2021: $61,640
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Moderate-term on-the-job training
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): -2.9%

Before work at a site even begins, construction and building inspectors enter the scene to review plans. Their presence continues as construction progresses, whether it be of a home, building, highway, dam, or bridge. Their eagle eyes, and a bevy of tools, ensure everything is compliant with the latest building codes, zoning regulations, and any other ordinances.

Many inspectors have specialties. Architectural requirements and structural quality fall under the purvey of building inspectors. Fire inspectors make sure buildings meet fire codes. Coating inspectors keep an eye on the proper application of protective layers of exterior paint and coatings used on everything from bridges to pipelines. Others specialize in electrical systems, elevators, residences, mechanical systems, plumbing, public works, and construction.

So why will there be a decreased demand of -2.9% for inspectors in the future? The government’s use of remote inspections.

Railway workers bolting track rail.


Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators

– Median annual wage in 2021: $61,690
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Moderate-term on-the-job training
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 5.3%

This profession has many titles ranging from machine operator and track inspector to track walker and, simply, trackman. Also falling under this category are ballast cleaning machine operators and railroad bed tamping machine operators.

These workers lay, repair, and maintain track for railroad service, be that in commuter service, plant yards, quarries, mines, or pits for sand and gravel.

As of 2020, 15,700 workers held these positions. New jobs expected between now and 2030 come in at a scant 800.

A boilermaker wearing a safety harness, hanging on a rope at a construction mining site.

King Ropes Access // Shutterstock


– Median annual wage in 2021: $64,290
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): -1%

Boilermakers specialize in keeping boilers, tanks, and vats that hold chemicals in efficient—and safe—working condition. This equipment is typically found in buildings, factories, and ships, and boilermakers must conduct tests and inspections to ensure worker and environmental safety.

It’s critical to assemble and maintain this machinery against defects because they’re often heating liquids or gases under extreme pressure. A boilermaker could be called upon to repair blast furnaces, inspect water treatment plants, or install heat-resistant materials in high-pressure tanks. 

Boilers are generally built to have long lifespans, but boilermakers are often called on for repairs. So why the -1% projected decline for the profession? The U.S. is shifting to renewable energy, much of which does not require boilers.

Yellow vertical pile driver machine.


Pile driver operators

– Median annual wage in 2021: $76,260
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Moderate-term on-the-job training
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 4.8%

Working with heavy-duty pieces of equipment, pile drivers hammer steel, concrete, and wood pilings into the ground, or in some cases underwater, most often in the early stages of construction of retaining walls, bulkheads, and foundations of structures. Workers manning pile drivers might be found doing so from skids, barges, crawler treads, and locomotive cranes.

United Brotherhood of Carpenters pile drivers have expertise vital for working with marine construction and offshore wind projects, which are significant in scope. A job requirement that may come into play is commercial diving.

Looking to break into pile driving? One place to start is by looking at the states with the highest employment of pile drivers: California, Washington, Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Explore industries that regularly hire pile drivers, such as highway, street, and bridge construction, mining, as well as nonresidential building construction.

A person welding metal in an elevator under construction.

miguel curiel mena // Shutterstock

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

– Median annual wage in 2021: $97,860
– Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent
– Typical on-the-job training needed: Apprenticeship
– Projected employment change (from 2020–30): 6.1%

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers, also referred to as elevator and escalator constructors or mechanics, install, maintain, repair, modernize, and replace equipment such as elevators, escalators, chairlifts, and moving walkways. Working with electronics, electricity, and hydraulics is required for most of these positions.

The employment outlook for elevator and escalator mechanics is forecast to grow along with the influx of new development of nonresidential buildings. The typical lifespan of an elevator is 25 years. This means buildings with older equipment will need to repair, maintain, and replace equipment to meet American Disability Act requirements.

This story originally appeared on ServiceTitan and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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How the pandemic e-commerce surge spiked demand for truckers



By analyzed how retailers and truckers have adjusted to the evolving needs of consumers as e-commerce dominates the market.  
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, truckers have faced a series of circulating problems, including driver shortages and difficult working conditions. But the sharp increase in e-commerce in 2020 put a strain like no other on the industry.

In just one year, e-commerce—the buying and selling of products over the internet—surged 43%, the Census Bureau reports, growing from $571.2 billion in 2019 to $815.4 billion in 2020. That surge brought new pressure to the truck driving industry, adding to an already challenging driver shortage. analyzed trends in e-commerce over the past few years and looked at how the spike in online shopping and business has affected the truck driver industry—and how retailers and drivers have adjusted.

Heading into 2023, challenges in the industry likely won’t ease, according to a forecast from Bloomberg Intelligence. Flatbed trucks, for example, are employed heavily for building material transportation, but the housing market has seen a sharp downturn as the Fed raises interest rates. And trucking companies will continue to suffer from supply chain troubles that limit their ability to add tractors to their fleets.

The truck driver shortage will also likely continue to bedevil the industry. The American Trucking Associations in October estimated the 2022 shortage at nearly 78,000 drivers, just shy of the historical record high of more than 81,000 in 2021. The association predicts that number could grow to 160,000 by 2031 if current trends continue.

Read on to learn more about several ways the trucking industry is facing some of its biggest challenges.

Delivery van loaded with cardboard boxes outside of logistics warehouse with open door.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

How e-commerce changed the industry

With many sequestered to their homes during the pandemic, online shopping spiked, with consumers taking advantage of the convenience of items straight to their front doors.

The change created a surge in the need for short-haul truckers, and thus a shortage of long-haul truckers. More time at home and other factors make short-haul routes more attractive, according to a report from the Transportation Department. Long-haul truckers generally drive at least 250 miles for their services, while short-haul drivers often operate within a 150-mile radius, according to hiring site Indeed.

Bob Costello, the chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, told NBC News earlier this year that the average drive for a long-haul trip decreased from 800 to 500 miles in the past 20 years. Part of that change is because retailers that once only built distribution in three to five locations now have warehouses across the country, he said.

Stacked package boxes on pallet inside a truck.

Siwakorn1933 // Shutterstock

What a driver shortage really means

While many adapted to working remotely, truckers maintain an essential role in supplying our most basic needs. Without them, we’d have empty grocery stores, gas shortages, ATMs with no cash available, and medical supply shortages. Chemical shipments to water plants would cease, halting access to potable water, and garbage would litter the streets.

The growth of e-commerce has made the prospect of warehouse positions and short-haul loads with high pay appealing to many truckers, leaving huge gaps to fill in long-haul trucking positions. These short-haul roles are competitive and draw experienced drivers who prioritize higher salaries and the opportunity to do shorter trips to increase time spent at home.

Truckers move about 72% of U.S. freight by weight, according to the American Trucking Associations.

Truck driver in casual clothes driving truck.

Aleksandar Malivuk // Shutterstock

Competition between carrier companies

Large companies are taking full advantage of their budgets to increase pay and incentivize workers by offering sign-on bonuses and higher pay for shorter hauls.

With 1.9 million trucking carriers in the United States alone, the competition has become incredibly steep. The disparity is obvious: With 97.4% of carriers operating fewer than 20 trucks, corporate giants have saturated and overtaken the trucking market with large paychecks and fleets, reports.

Walmart increased competition earlier this year by rolling out increased salaries for their private fleet, with first-year drivers earning up to $110,000, over double the average pay for long-haul drivers, NBC News reports. Walmart employs 12,000 drivers in its fleet, making it the largest private trucking company in the U.S.

Silhouette of a large truck driving on a road at sunrise.

Janice Storch // Shutterstock

The rising costs of employing drivers

Turnover rates in the trucking industry are near record highs, as workers move between carriers, incentivized by higher pay and better hours.

These turnover rates do not necessarily indicate truckers leaving the field; rather, experienced and new truckers alike are taking advantage of the pay raises offered by private fleets, the American Trucking Associations says. These pay raises offer more accessible jobs to workers who have not received a college degree, paving a stable road to a middle-class lifestyle without the cost of a four-year educational program.

The president of the Women in Trucking Association, Ellen Voie, told NBC News that this is a positive for the industry, saying drivers are entitled to better benefits and flexibility due to the difficult nature of their work. Workers joining private fleets are able to enjoy work closer to home and can even acquire stock options at certain companies.

It’s no wonder that workers are taking the cost of their livelihood so seriously; dangerous conditions increased for drivers as they were forced to work long hours in often unsanitary conditions during the national COVID-19 emergency, with 7 out of 10 drivers reporting lower pay and dangerous working conditions in an April 2020 survey conducted by a coalition of national labor unions, Change to Win, the Los Angeles Times reports. These working conditions were combated with trucker strikes, posing a serious threat of disruption to the average civilian’s way of life.

Truck driver behind the wheel wearing a hard hat and safety vest.

DuxX // Shutterstock

Proposed strategies to resolve trucking industry issues in 2023

Lawmakers, employers, and the United States government have flocked to ease the stressors of the essential trucking industry. An October 2022 report by the American Transit Research Institute proposed strategies to combat critical issues. The top strategies involve recruiting younger drivers into the workforce. 

According to the Census Bureau, 30.3% of the trucking industry is composed of workers over the age of 55. Research done by the American Transit Research Institute found that 84% of Gen Z and millennial drivers are incentivized by company culture when it comes to working and staying with a motor carrier. 

In November 2021, the Drive Safe Act was signed into law, which included a national pilot test program allowing 3,000 18- to 20-year-olds to be trained in operating freight commerce across state lines. Due to high insurance costs for young drivers, not all fleets will be able to participate in the Safe Driver Apprenticeship Program.

Several moves by the Biden administration will also target an increase in driver hiring and retention, including a focus on veterans.

This story originally appeared on and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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WEF 2023: A call for more cooperation from businesses, governments, and society through digital transformation

A short roundup of digital transformation topics discussed at this year’s annual World Economic Forum.



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The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an annual event in Davos, Switzerland. Business, tech, government, and climate leaders speak and connect on strategies to improve the state of the world, specifically its industries, people, and environment.

Technology and digital transformation took center stage as leaders discussed exciting predictions for the new year. 

Curious about this year’s happenings? 

We’ve rounded up all the WEF topics where digital transformation was described as a top priority. 

Small businesses 

The pandemic made its mark on small businesses, but post-pandemic spending and inflation are proving just as destructive. The WEF concurs that a global recovery is only possible with small business recovery

The answer? Digitalization through:

  • Online payments: The e-commerce market is booming, estimated to jump over $2.1 trillion from 2022 to 2026. 
  • Global customer appeal: Digital financial platforms like Alipay+ help businesses access wider customer bases — a must after the latest local spending limitations from inflation. 

Luckily, 70% of businesses see the trend, leaning toward a higher-revenue (8X) future through digital transformation.


Manufacturing plants are faced with a double-edged sword in the face of exponentially innovative technology. They need to embrace it without sacrificing their workers or local investment. 

Adapting effectively means balancing the cost savings and scaling of macro supply chains with more local investment and empowering their workforces with new skills.

But the digital transformation necessary to balance all three comes from collaboration with:

  • Supply chain partners 
  • Competitors and industry players 
  • Government stakeholders 

The WEF also developed a tool to help manufacturing players monitor and apply supply chain disruptions from climate issues, new technology, and geopolitical tensions.

Technology investment to combat economic downturn 

Economic hardships drive companies to limit expenditures. A prominent WEF topic this year was digital transformation as a way to survive and soar over challenging business times.


For starters, SaaS and its automation, as well as ultra connectivity with wifi and 5G, limit redundancy and heighten collaboration and productivity. The trickle effect is a smoother customer experience and more revenue. 

It’s estimated that 60% of the GDP relied on digital technologies in 2022.

A strong sentiment surrounding this was a call for more public-private collaboration to make these technologies accessible to businesses and drive the economy, as well as government investment in connectivity infrastructure. 

Digital transformation and ESG

Businesses should strive to drive value in more than just economic matters. Just as information and data solutions have been prioritized, so have their ESG contributions. In the digital space, a large part of ESG is making the technology that so many businesses benefit from, accessible and equitable. That covers the S in ESG — as for the environmental pillar, IT capabilities are adapting tout suite. 

For example, edge computing supports animal observation and preservation in terms of data collection. 

The governance that brings everything together is becoming expected in new IT investments. Another ESG example here is Lenovo’s environmental assessments of their supply chains, including reducing their plants’ carbon footprint.

Emerging economies

Technology is slower to blossom in emerging economies, but global leaders concur on a need to invest in digitalization in developing countries. This launched the Digital FDI (foreign direct investment) to create “digital-friendly investment climates” — starting in Rwanda and Pakistan. 

At a most basic level, this includes investments to bring internet connectivity to poorer countries, a luxury that only 53% of the world has. The initiative will fund technology startups and innovators in Pakistan and Rwanda, propelled by investment and, arguably most importantly, public-private cooperation. 
Learn more about 2023 digital transformation trends.

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10 unexpected alternative investments in luxury goods



By compiled a list of 10 unexpected luxury goods that are also used by investors as alternatives to traditional investments, according to sources such as Forbes and Harvard Business School.
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Take a note from financial advisers—don’t work for money, get your money working for you.

Investments in property are typical, as is purchasing hedge fund assets or even helping fund a startup venture that could become the next unicorn tech company. For many investors, once they’ve ticked off these boxes, they may be ready to look outside the box—or the stock market ticker, in this case—and consider some novel ways to diversify their portfolios and grow those three-comma-laden fortunes. compiled a list of 10 alternative investments in luxury goods, from different sources such as ForbesHarvard Business School, Investopedia, and Investor Junkie. For the well-off, having an enviable collection of jewelry, vintage cars, and limited-edition toys and fashion accessories may just come with the lifestyle; but for investors, these top-dollar purchases can also be a smart investment when chosen wisely. 

Close up of vintage wine bottles.

l i g h t p o e t // Shutterstock

Vintage wine

A good bottle of wine is synonymous with the finer things in life, but it could also be a valuable avenue to more riches. If an investor knows their grapes, they could end up with a cellar of tasty investments—one bottle recently sold at a fundraising auction for a record $1 million.

Wine is notoriously difficult to appreciate for the uninitiated, and if you’re more likely to notice the “nose” and “legs” on a person than a glass of wine, you may wonder how you’ll navigate the wine world.

There are wine exchanges where the well-heeled can follow and invest in certain wines, online auctions, and more exotic options like buying wine before it is even sold, something called buying “en primeur.”

A cellar full of top-quality vintages will undoubtedly draw admirers of exquisite taste, but remember, actually tasting these investments will drastically lower their value.

Leather Gucci brand handbag on display.

yu_photo // Shutterstock


Designer handbags convey status and have the benefit, to those of a certain class, of being expensive. Sotheby’s reports the average auction prices for new Birkin bags in 2022 ranged from $12,000 to $23,000. If it’s hard to believe that one purse could be so expensive, consider that the smallest bags can be the most expensive bags.

For some, it may be arguable whether buying a fashionably expensive accessory is “an investment” or just an excuse to elicit the envy of other high-fashion devotees. In this case, though, that handbag may be worth the trouble. A report from Credit Suisse and Deloitte found that the financial return on Chanel bags was an 11.8% increase in 2021, and 38% for Birkin bags.

A display of Star Wars action figures: R2-D2, Hans Solo and C-3PO.

Krikkiat // Shutterstock

Mint-condition toys

Many people have childhood memories of being given that toy they’d been dreaming about, or the crushing disappointment of finding out they weren’t actually going to get it. Now that those children have gotten older, some finally have the resources to collect the toys they had dreamed about it as a child. Nostalgia pulls in many collectors as they finally get ahold of a toy they couldn’t quite get their hands on in younger years, or rediscover a beloved childhood toy that was long lost.

The money can be pretty substantial, too: An original Barbie sold for $27,450, an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure from “Star Wars” was won at auction for $76,700, and a Super Mario Bros. NES cartridge sold for $660,000.

Be warned, though: Not all that brings joy is valuable. If you’re still holding on to that so-called “ultra-rare” Princess Diana Beanie Baby in hopes of funding a new private jet, you should know one recently sold for only $9.

Still life of flowers in a vase by Jan van Kessel held by Sotheby’s attendant.

Tristan Fewings // Getty Images for Sotheby’s

Fine art

The wealthy have stored value in fancy art for millennia, and recent years are no exception. Wealthy people spent an average of $242,000 on art and antiques in the first half of 2021, according to Forbes.

Also, if you believe elegance is about condensing value into a small space, fine art is a fantastic option. “When Will You Marry,” a 40-by-30-inch work painted by Paul Gauguin in 1892, sold for nearly $300 million, or about $250,000 per square inch.

This sort of fine art purchase isn’t just for aesthetics. If you ship that artwork to your home, you could be facing millions in taxes, so an investor will likely ship it to a tax-free storage site to avoid that tax burden and keep those dollars safely in their bank account.

White glove presentation of luxury watches.

sutsaiy // Shutterstock

Jewelry and watches

The arrival of the pandemic coincided with a spike in the value of vintage watches, according to GQ. New watches have pulled in serious modern-day dollars as well, like this watch from Jacob the Jeweler that lists for $620,000.

For those who sneer at the hoi polloi snatching up wrist candy, maybe rare jewels are more their speed. A pink diamond called the CTF Pink Star sold for over $71 million and a blue diamond sold for over $57 million.

Unlike wine or artwork, these are items you can actually use on a regular basis. If new money shouts and old money whispers, there’s no better way to broadcast your recent largesse than these sparkling acquisitions.

Cropped close up of a black Rolls Royce.

PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek // Shutterstock

Classic cars

What if you could combine the graceful lines of fine art with the fun of toys? If that experiential portmanteau is what you seek, then look no further than classic cars.

Classic cars rev up the nostalgia and envy of others, and they can have serious value. A rare 1955 Mercedes 300 SLR sold for over $143 million in 2022 and a vintage red 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $48 million.

Leave it to the common folk to show off their fancy new cars on the internet, like this Pagani Roadster, which sells for a paltry $4 million. You know the journey to make all your Champagne wishes and caviar dreams really come true starts with the throaty purr of a classic engine.

A collection of vintage baseball cards.

Abigail McCann // Shutterstock

Trading cards

The company Verified Market Research says the sports card trading market was worth over $7.8 billion in 2021.

Investing in trading cards can be risky, as they don’t have the same intrinsic value of something like a car—which, even if valueless on the market, could still provide transportation—and so their values can fluctuate more. But you needn’t worry about such trivialities, as the stakes are small compared to other options: according to Yahoo, only two trading cards have ever sold for more than $6 million each.

Comic books on display at a retail store.

Eudaimonic Traveler // Shutterstock

Comic books

Even the moderately deep-pocketed can invest in comic books.

The record price for a comic book was a trifling $5.3 million in January 2022 for “Superman #1.” But the returns can be handsome. “Amazing Fantasy 15,” the comic book with the first appearance of Spider-man, sold in 2011 for $110,000 and sold 10 years later for $3.6 million, which is more than 31 times than the original investment.

Pair of Air Jordan sneakers with black background.

phil_berry r // Shutterstock


While children from earlier generations may have been enamored with Superman, the younger set shifted their idolatry from figures of fantasy to heroes on the parquet floors of basketball courts.

Perhaps, you think, instead of chasing collectibles deemed valuable in the past, you could look to where future interest may lie. And a growing category of collectibles is sneakers.

Michael Jordan, a fellow member of the three-comma club, not only became an international superstar, but also helped usher in today’s fascination with sneakers. So, it is fitting that the most expensive sneakers ever sold were his, a $615,000 pair from the first-ever Air Jordan line, released after his rookie season.

A digital display showing Bored Ape NFTs on $100 dollar bills.

mundissima // Shutterstock

Digital art, also known as non-fungible tokens or NFTs

Long gone are ideas of money being valuable because it is tied to a commodity like gold. Today we live in a world where money has value because someone says it does.

What better way to wrangle growth in your portfolio than by taking the concept of value to a further extreme: taking a digital file and giving it value because a record somewhere says you own it. Welcome to the world of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

While NFTs are tied with the cryptocurrency market, and 2022 has seen some rocky times in crypto, you can be sure that you’ll be joined by your fellow fiscally elite. According to Gadgets360, as of 2021, nearly 80% of all NFTs are owned by just a few investors.

This material is provided for educational purposes only. It is not investment advice and should not be the basis of an investment decision.

This story originally appeared on and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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