If you had a pile of cash you didn't need for 10 years, where would you put it? According to a recent Bankrate survey, most Americans give real estate the stamp of approval. In fact, a quarter of them said real estate was the best investment, with cash investments like CDs and savings accounts a close second. Gold and stocks were next, tied for third.
"Houses are tangible. You can physically see and feel the product. So you know where your money is going: It's going into that house," Sterling White, co-founder of real estate investment firm Holdfolio, told Bankrate. "With stocks, you have no clue where your money is going."
Michael Carlin, President of Wealth Management in Scottsdale said the findings are concerning because the market had been hitting highs in recent weeks.
"(The rankings are) almost exactly opposite of the way it should be. Historically, the stock market has the highest rate of return of any of those asset categories by a large margin. The second would be real estate, the third would be gold and the worst would be cash," Carlin said.
Of the millennials surveyed, 32 percent of those between ages 18 and 35 chose cash, including 43 percent of younger millennials between 18 and 25 years old. It's mind-boggling to Carlin since cash investments are barely paying any returns.
"You're lucky to get a one percent rate, many are getting less," he said. "The cost of living is going up every year. The cost of living is rising more than your money is growing."
He and other experts believe Americans' apathy towards the stock market is a combination of a number of factors. One -- many are jaded by the Wall Street scandals. Also, some millennials saw their own families struggle through the 2008 financial crisis, which is why he believes some of that demographic overwhelmingly prefers cash.
"People have cash because they're uncertain and a certain section is also afraid of what the market volatility is going to do. They're afraid of having same kind of portfolio problems their parents had," Carlin said.