The 5 Most Popular Long-Term Investments of 2020

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Man investing during the coronavirus pandemic
Dragana Gordic /

Most Americans haven’t let the coronavirus pandemic change their long-term investment strategy, according to a Bankrate survey.

The survey of 1,007 American adults found that 57% will not change their long-term plans, while 26% will invest less aggressively and 16% will invest more aggressively.

Some shifts, however, have already happened.

For instance, real estate is no longer Americans’ preferred long-term investment, according to the survey.

Although real estate investment topped Bankrate’s 2019 survey about investments to keep for a decade or longer, it received just over a quarter of the vote for 2020.

Following is a list of the long-term investments most favored by Americans.

5. Bonds (tie)

Treasury bonds
Larry1235 /

Just 4% of Americans consider bonds to be the best way to invest money they won’t need for more than 10 years. This makes sense.

The best time to buy bonds is when interest rates are high, as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains in “Should I Invest in Bonds?” Earlier this year, we saw negative interest rates.

5. Cryptocurrency (tie)

TierneyMJ /

Another 4% of Americans think cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are the best long-term investment.

As cryptocurrencies are a relatively new kind of investment, it’s difficult to estimate what long-term returns might look like. But some investment apps are starting to include features for investing in cryptocurrencies.

4. Precious metals

Gold bars
Arsel Ozgurdal /

Gold and other precious metals were the top long-term investment option for 14% of Americans, the Bankrate survey found.

Men (19%) were more likely to support gold as an investment than women (9%). Among those respondents who prefer gold, 43% said the pandemic affected their choice.

3. Cash

A rich man holds a big jar of cash
Just dance /

Another 18% considered cash, savings accounts or certificates of deposit to be the best long-term investment option.

That’s the lowest figure in eight years of Bankrate surveys, possibly because of low interest rates, which result in lower returns.

Women (23%) were more likely to prefer cash than men (13%), the survey found.

2. Real estate

A real estate agent posts a for sale sign in front of a brick house that is under construction
Sean Locke Photography /

More than a quarter (26%) of Americans believe real estate is the best long-term investment. That was down from 31% last year, but still competitive for the top investment pick.

These days, you can invest in real estate with as little as $500, rather than buying an entire property. That may make it more attractive to investors — outside of pandemic circumstances.

1. Stocks

A man studies financial data at his computer
NicoElNino /

The most popular long-term investment, according to 28% of Americans, is stocks. That’s up sharply from the 20% support stocks won last year, but not far off from the current level of support for real estate (26%).

Stocks and real estate often jockey for the top investment position, for good reason. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson and financial journalist Miranda Marquit recently discussed this in an episode of Money Talks News’ “Money” podcast: “Which Is the Better Investment: Stocks or Real Estate?

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