Also becoming more accepted is the idea of peer-to-peer, or marketplace, lending. The idea is that through funds, you lend money to people in the form of unsecured credit.
The two best-known peer-to-peer lending companies are Lending Club and Prosper. You can go to their websites either as a borrower or an investor. In the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2015, Lending Club had funded more than $2.2 billion in loans.
While such investments' worth has yet to really be tested during a market downturn, when consumers are more likely to default on loans, Nauta said that because interest rates on unsecured consumer credit has remained relatively high (compared to, say, mortgages), even defaults can still translate, in the aggregate, to a respectable return.
"The idea is that we're spreading our money out among hundreds of different loans," Nauta said. "And depending on the credit risk, the return can still potentially be much higher than what you'd earn in any kind of similar fixed-income investments."