High-yield bonds. These bonds come with higher payouts, but also higher risks. High-yield bonds are more likely to default than investment-grade IOUs. Investors must also be prepared for a wild ride. In 2008, the average high-yield fund lost about 26 percent, but rocketed back about 47 percent in 2009, according to fund tracker Morningstar. "High-yield bonds can be quite volatile ... and they can sometimes mimic the stock market during crises," Thompson says.
Emerging markets bonds. Investors could look abroad to higher growth environments like the emerging markets, where many central banks have recently raised interest rates. While emerging markets may offer higher yields, they are also much less transparent. "You have to be aware of the risks of going into those markets, but you have to take on a little bit of that risk to diversify your treasury portfolio to make sure you aren't concentrating your risk in one asset class," Thompson says.
Commodities. Rowader says commodities make up an important part of a long-term diversified portfolio. The problem is that there is plenty of volatility in the commodities market as well. "Investors are afraid of stocks, but they do need to consider ways that they can add growth to their portfolio, and commodities is a way to do that," Rowader says. "But I think a lot of people are just as nervous about commodities as they are about stocks."
The bottom line: Regardless of how you decide to invest, you'll have to take on risk in some form.