Accredited investors are those who because of net worth and income levels are deemed by the SEC to be sophisticated investors and can therefore invest in opportunities that have not gone through as thorough a registration process.

These typically includes real estate and oil partnerships, hedge funds and numerous other illiquid investments.

One way to qualify as an accredited investor, is to have $1 million in net worth excluding home equity. If you have negative home equity, that does count against your net worth.

If you will be investing in one of these opportunities, your due diligence burden is much higher.  And if they will be doing any kind of securities trading make sure they use an independent qualified custodian.