Dressage horses
Dressage horses
Rajeev Kotyan's IRA definitely wasn't bringing home any blue ribbons. So when his friend, who runs a horse farm in New Jersey, described how he travels to Europe to pick out the best horses to bring back to the U.S. for dressage competitions, Kotyan saw an opportunity. He thought he might be able to make a little money by helping to fund the horse acquisitions.

Kotyan used his retirement account to finance the purchase of four horses, all of which turned out to be good picks. When they sold the horses 18 months later, the three split the profits evenly. The return on investment from the four dressage horses ranged from 23% to 76% apiece -- a far cry from the single-digit returns of Kotyan's conventional IRA.

Kotyan's run at alternative investing was so positive that he now works at Nua Advisors helping other investors manage their self-directed IRAs.

Last updated July 05 2011: 11:13 AM ET
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