A newer type of asset that has not been traditionally considered part of an investment portfolio. Historically, examples include real estate, commodities, as well as rare coins, stamps, artwork and trading cards. More recently, the term has also come to be used to refer to other institutional asset classes including, private equity, venture capital, trading strategy indices, and hedge funds. Due to the nature of these assets, an accurate valuation is sometimes difficult to accomplish. Generally considered less liquid then other assets. May take decades for an alternative asset to gain value (art work/ sports cards/ investments in start ups). Therefore, investors considering alternative assets are generally investing far into the future. Help diversify an investors portfolio. They do not tend to move in the direction of the stock market and may, therefore, help a portfolio sustain market volatility.