Alternative investments have outpaced traditional investments since the Great Recession and, according to industry experts, are only expected to grow.

Alternatives can include private equity, illiquid types of investments and, in some cases, require investors meet minimum income and net worth requirements. But they're not always among the more exotic investments, either. Investing in timber is considered by many to be an alternative investment, for instance.

Record low interest rates have forced investors and retirement plan sponsors to find new ways to get more out of their investments. That's why the amount of money invested in alternatives has doubled since 2008.

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