The Favorite Investment of the Middle Class? You Might Be Surprised

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What is your favorite way to grow rich in 2024?

The answer — assuming you are actually interested in getting wealthy — differs from person to person. Some folks believe in stocks, while others are sure that real estate is the path to financial independence. And then there are those who embrace gold or cryptocurrency.

Recently, Gallup surveyed Americans and asked them to give their opinion about the best long-term investment. Here are the responses of those in the middle class, which Gallup defined as having an annual household income between $40,000 and $99,000.

1. Real estate

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Middle-income respondents who think this is the best long-term investment: 36%

With the run-up in home prices over the past few years, perhaps it’s not surprising that middle-class Americans believe that real estate is the best investment going in 2024.

But the middle class is not alone in its love of property: Respondents with lower and higher incomes also ranked real estate as the No. 1 long-term investment. And overall, real estate has topped this Gallup survey every year since 2014.

2. Stocks/mutual funds

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Middle-income respondents who think this is the best long-term investment: 21%

Many financial experts insist that stocks and related investments — such as mutual funds — are the best tools for building wealth. However, many middle-income folks clearly do not agree, as stocks and mutual funds finished a distant second to real estate in the survey among that group.

Low-income folks think even less of such assets, with only 14% of that group citing them as the best long-term investment. High-income respondents, on the other hand, are bigger fans, with 31% of that group ranking stocks and mutual funds as No. 1.

3. Gold

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Middle-income respondents who think this is the best long-term investment: 19%

Gold has been a store of wealth for millennia, and it remains so today. History shows that the precious metal usually lags other types of investments, but there have been periods when gold has been perceived as a stronger long-term investment.

4. Savings accounts and CDs

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Middle-income respondents who think this is the best long-term investment: 15%

For some people, the “best” return is not necessarily the most lucrative. Savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) can be good, safe options for those who don’t like to take risks. If that sounds like you, shop around for a competitive rate for a savings account or certificate of deposit.

5. Bonds

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Middle-income respondents who think this is the best long-term investment: 4%

If stocks scare you, but savings accounts and CDs seem too conservative, bonds can be a good option. They occupy a middle ground between those two extremes.

6. Cryptocurrency

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Middle-income respondents who think this is the best long-term investment: 2%

Is cryptocurrency the investment of the future or another fad destined for the dustbin of history? No one can say for sure, but Americans across the lower-, middle-, and upper-income brackets don’t rank it highly among long-term investments, with only 2% or 3% of each group ranking crypto No. 1.

Before you dabble in crypto, check out the Money Talks News podcast episode “FOMO, Fraud, and Financial Ruin: Lessons From the Crypto Craze.”

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