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Rick Kahler: Diversify investments for safe long-term gains | Financial Awakenings

More than a fourth of Americans think the best long-term investment is money in the bank.

This is the rather discouraging result of a July survey by Bankrate. One of its questions was, “For money you wouldn’t need for more than 10 years, which one of the following do you think would be the best way to invest the money?”

Cash was the top choice at 26%, followed by real estate at 23%. Sixteen percent of the respondents chose precious metals such as gold. Only 14% would put their long-term investment into the stock market, and just 8% thought bonds were the best choice.

That thumping sound you hear is me banging my head on my desk.

I assume those who opted for cash did so because keeping money in the bank seemed to be the safest choice. For long-term investing, however, that safety is an illusion. The best and safest place to put your nest egg for the future is not in the bank, but in a well-diversified portfolio with a variety of asset classes. Here’s why:

Savings accounts and CDs are safe places to store relatively small amounts of cash that you expect to need within the next few months or years. The funds are protected by insurance. You know exactly where your money is, and you can get your hands on it any time you want.

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