Where’s the best place to put your money?

It’s not easy to decide where to put your money these days?

The interest rates depositors earn from banks are at record lows — and Georgia banks’ rates are lower than most, according to a new study reported by AJC staffer Scott Trubey.

The national average interest rate for all deposits — checking or savings accounts, money markets or CDs — dropped in July to 0.99 percent, according to Market Rates Insight. The average in Georgia was 0.75 percent, MRI said.

It’s the lowest national figure in a decade, Trubey reports.

Meanwhile, the stock market has been retreating lately because of fears of an even weaker economy.

Government bonds are paying very low rates, given the high demand for safety in this perplexing economy.

And while corporate bonds pay higher rates, they also carry more risk.

Because of the tough choices, many consumers are using their spare cash to pay down debt, instead of investing.

The amount consumers owed on their credit cards in this year’s second quarter dropped to the lowest level in more than eight years, as cardholders continued to pay off balances, Associated Press reports.

The average combined debt for bank-issued credit cards — like those with a MasterCard or Visa logo — fell to $4,951 in the three months ended June 30, AP reports. That’s down more than 13 percent from $5,719 in the same period a year ago, according to TransUnion.

The credit reporting agency said it was the first three-month period during which card debt fell below $5,000 since the first quarter of 2002, AP writes.

What are you doing?

Paying down debt? On your credit card or auto or home?

Investing? In what and why?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

58 comments Add your comment

Tim

August 25th, 2010
8:30 am

Closed my ETrade account a couple of years ago, paid off my credit cards, paid off my car, set up a decent 1 year savings fund in case I get laid off, and now I am working on paying off my house.

Brad

August 25th, 2010
8:59 am

Definitely paying down debt. I think the housing fiasco scared alot of people. Now people are doing like there parents and relying on cash purchases more and not living beyond theire means.

Jason

August 25th, 2010
9:03 am

Doing it the old fashioned way. No debt. Cash only. Pay off the house. When you have no debt and a paid for house the job loss fear kind of goes away.

Danno

August 25th, 2010
9:05 am

Where’s the best place to put your money?
Pay off your Bills and keep your money out of the BANK.

bill

August 25th, 2010
9:05 am

pay off your house is number one

then put any cash into a safe deposit box or some safe place

cut your expenses

floydmay

August 25th, 2010
9:12 am

Definitely paying down debt. The order of the day is to create my own Income Statement and Balance Sheet for budgeting. I still have faith in the stock market. Therefore I’m continuing to build financial literacy skills to make right choices.

jack stilton

August 25th, 2010
9:18 am

Hiding the $ from Obama!

Destin Dawg

August 25th, 2010
9:20 am

bought an S&P 500 indexed annuity with 1/2 portfolio… in 2007.. not brilliant.. but good (lucky) timing…. Sept.. 2007… pays $2650.00 per month and holds value in this sick market… still some $$$$ in mutual funds… diversified.. when it goes south everything goes down….. Dr. Doom is about right…

Pat

August 25th, 2010
9:20 am

I got out of the market completely with my retirement funds two years ago before the collapse. Cashed in an annuity that was not in my retirement funds and bought gold coins and some silver, otherwise just sitting on cash. Paid down debt and now almost paid off house. We also bought food, water, a generator and stocked up on ammo. I think things just might get ugly.

Einstein

August 25th, 2010
9:21 am

Don’t spend more than you make and get out of debt as soon as possible. Remember, you can’t borrow your way out of debt.

Destin Dawg

August 25th, 2010
9:25 am

Frugality is in fashion.. car pool… eat at home.. buy used cars for cash .. Staycation… back to basics.. makes family closer… lose weight etc..

markie mark

August 25th, 2010
9:28 am

@ Bill….just so you know, last I heard it was against Federal Banking law to put cash in a safety deposit box…..kinda untraceable, don’t ya know. They seem to be funny about that…..

SonnyFab

August 25th, 2010
9:29 am

Paying off debt first is a great idea since you’re not going to earn anything like the amount you’re being charged on your credit cards, your car, and you’ll pretty much break even on investing versus paying off your house once you adjust for the risk of investing in equities. But if you pay off your debt and put your money in as cash in a safe deposit box, you’re making a terrible mistake. Your money needs to keep pace with inflation. If you’re so risk adverse you want to completely avoid risk, buy Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS), where the government promises to pay you a little more than inflation. If you think the government is going to collapse, your cash won’t be worth anything anyway, since cash is backed by the same full faith and credit of the US government that TIPS are. I’ll keep buying equities, but keeping a big pile of cash (beyond what you might need for emergencies) is not only foolish, but dangerous to yourself.

75 South

August 25th, 2010
9:32 am

I was always taught to put your needs before your wants. Pay your bills and live below your means. I will be working on paying off my home, truck, and student loans. I just paid off all credit cards and I couldn’t feel better. The truck was a splurge, but we won’t EVER do that again. We already have 2 cars that are 12 years old that are paid for.

My husband and I just bought a foreclosure (that can be paid with one salary) in March at a very good price, but we opted for the 30 year fixed rate to give us some flexibility. We are now going to start paying the principal down to pay it off in 15 years or less.

We’re not sure whether we should put our money in an IRA (we’re 30 years from retirement) or some other vehicle. We have been entertaining the idea of buying some foreclosed rental property for extra income. Lots of choices, but we’re not sure which way to go. We don’t want to miss out on good opportunities, but we don’t want to overextend ourselves or not save enough for our retirement.

Lisa

August 25th, 2010
9:37 am

ACT YOUR (W)AGE!

DW

August 25th, 2010
9:38 am

FIRST BEST investment – Pay off debt. NEXT BEST investment – US Savings bonds via Treasurydirect.gov

Your Money is YOUR Money, Not Laquisha's.

August 25th, 2010
10:03 am

The best place to currently put your money is in a safe place that the ignorant, booty-shaking “Obama Supporters” cannot get to it and steal it. One place where many of them would never think to look for it, as evidenced each day by our morning and afternoon commutes with them, is behind a turn signal.

Destin Dawg

August 25th, 2010
10:03 am

we’ve had a head and shoulders down trend in the market…. what’s to get it going up ???? Not Obamanomics…. anti business.. pro union agenda… if you were against Bush Iraq military $pending.. it’s gotten worse in Afganistan.. seen Charlie Wilson”s War movie ?? Cut Gov’t Spending… look at the post office.. we all E mail.. tweeet, pay bills on line, etc…all these little trucks delivering Junk mail at bulk rates every day.. DUH !! could home deliver 3 Days a week and raise bulk rates.. Any Business men in this Administration ???? NOT !!!

Turkey Slayer

August 25th, 2010
10:05 am

The above statements are all good advice, but you can still buy CD’s which are Federally insured up to $250,000 per banking facility. I manage a small portfolio and the key is to spread the risk. You won’t make alot of money, but you can make some without risk.

Ron

August 25th, 2010
10:10 am

Easy. I’m paying down my neighbor’s house, my neighbor’s car, my neighbor’s healthcare…

Johnny

August 25th, 2010
10:11 am

Buy land…population is only going up and you cant make more land.

In Gold We Trust

August 25th, 2010
10:24 am

Paper money eventually returns to its inherent value – worthless.

The dollar is headed that way. It has been headed that way since the creation of the Federal Reserve, certainly since FDR confiscated all american’s gold in 1934, and definitely since Nixon finally severed all connections to a gold standard.

There is only one safe money and that is either gold or silver. Despite their seemingly high prices, all they are reflecting is the relative lack of value of the dollar. Silver is particularly cheap and will certainly go much higher. Gold too will continue to rise. Both are never worth zero, but the history of fiat currencies (not backed by anything, like the US dollar), shows that they always end up worthless.

Pleny of great companies to buy from. APMEX.com is one of the cheapest. Don’t be caught with nothing when the collapse comes. All of this money printing to pay for the bank bailouts, the stimulus, and every other vote-buying scheme, can only lead to hyperinflation and a complete destruction of the dollar. When all of the banks collapse, where to you think the FDIC will get the money to cover all the accounts to $250K? They will have to print that too. And what do you think that will do to the value of dollars in circulation? Not rocket science people. The only question is when will this happen, and how many US dollars are you going to be stuck with? When this happened in Germany in the 30’s, people were actually burning Marks just to keep warm. Yes, that’s how bad it can get.

In Gold We Trust. Certainly don’t trust the government.

DW

August 25th, 2010
10:35 am

Land is a horrible idea. No return on investment. all speculative. and you PAY taxes on it. horrible

jam

August 25th, 2010
10:39 am

Why do people think that Obama created this economy down turn.It was created before he took office. Lets first take some blame for who we intrusted this country to. And where is he now anyway hiding from the mess he help create.

Lisa

August 25th, 2010
11:02 am

Paid off everything but the house, but give me a few months!!!

Italian Girl

August 25th, 2010
11:04 am

Turning to the old fashion way. I keep my “savings” in a safe in the house, pay cash for everything and we are working on paying down credit card debt. No car payments….hence the cars from the 1990’s :0)

eric

August 25th, 2010
11:04 am

I have a CD with crappy interest rate with 6-8moths worth of salary for emergency float. Also, paid about 5K into my home’s principal.

Interested observer

August 25th, 2010
11:05 am

No car payments, house 14 months from being paid off, no credit card payments. Cash goes into bank, still investing in mutual funds. However, we’re about to install new carpet, do some painting to keep the house’s value up.

Then again, we’ve always lived within our income, on a budget, even when the wife got laid off.

AWJ

August 25th, 2010
11:20 am

We have not changed our habits much. We did not carry any comsumer debt before the economy went south and we still don’t. My wife and I are both “savers” instead of “spenders” so that makes it A LOT easier.

I am in grad school right now so we are paying for that out of pocket as I go along. Still maxing out our Roth IRAs through dollar cost averaging and saving $800-$1000 per month in our online savings account. We are both in our mid 30s so we won’t need our money for about 20-25 years. We are refinancing our house right now as well lowering our payments by $120 per month.

So far, we have not been involved with a layoff, so if that continues we should be fine….

chiu

August 25th, 2010
11:25 am

This is the reason we don’t feel rich. Our biggest investment-housing 2/3 off, 401 is now 201. Money in the bank get penny on the dollar. Government keeps telling us we are better off than 2 years ago? At least, back than I don’t feel like I have to pay my neighbor’s house, his car, and union’s pension fund…looks like this year all the same. we can’t keep our money even if we want to save, Government will take it and give to someone that need it.

Remarkable

August 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Why are you asking us? Tell us what you think, then we can decide if you have a clue. Who wants to know what some idiot in Tucker does? We want to know what someone with some sense does. What is Warren Buffett doing, …?

LT

August 25th, 2010
11:45 am

Bummer, I was kind of hoping this article would attempt to answer the question in the title.

Bill

August 25th, 2010
11:54 am

Mattress!! Put it all in your Mattress.

Paranoid Hayseed

August 25th, 2010
12:14 pm

I’ve been buying gold because the people selling it tell me it’s a great investment.

Wes

August 25th, 2010
12:21 pm

250K (FDIC insured) in a Bank Directo checking account that earns 25000 American
Airline frequent flyer miles per month (non taxable event)

Best Advice ever

August 25th, 2010
12:29 pm

Do the opposite of what Clark Howard tells you to do. That guy is a moron. If you listen to him you are on the way to be like every other person that will rely on the govement.

hdhd

August 25th, 2010
12:33 pm

If you have extra cash (i.e. no debt, etc.), real estate has to be a top priority. With existing home sales at a 15 year low and the prices fractions of what they were 5 years ago, there are HUGE bargains to be had. The housing market will rise again just like it has in the past. If you can get in now and ride it up like the last bubble, when everyone else is stressing the next recession, you will be sitting fat and happy.

DW

August 25th, 2010
12:43 pm

HDHD – COMPLETELY wrongheaded. There wont be another housing bubble in our lifetime. That ship has sailed my friend.

WitchHazel

August 25th, 2010
1:06 pm

Tim you are the man with the plan……….I am doing the same thing.

George P Burdell

August 25th, 2010
1:20 pm

I started a year ago by shutting down my Amex card and paying cash. My credit union has a cash rebate on my debit card which earns me 1% on purchases. This year, I’m selling my company stock allocations to pay off my credit card debt. If I can improve my cash flow by paying off high interest credit cards that makes more sense than holding on to stock that is either holding steady or losing. Than I can take the cash I’m saving to re-invest as I see fit. My goal is to have one low interest credit union card and one travel card and that’s it besides a mortgage and car payment. I’m also driving my car an extra year or so since it’s almost paid off. I’ve also put away some money into a savings account to help provide a buffer so that I don’t have to fall back to credit cards for unexpected cash needs.

George P Burdell

August 25th, 2010
1:26 pm

@Wes: $250K to earn 25K FF miles? Have you calculated the value of those miles? That’s roughly a 1.5% to 3% return on your investment. Even tax-free, that’s not much. And I’m surprised the IRS doesn’t force you to declare the value of the FF miles as income.

Wes

August 25th, 2010
1:40 pm

Want ready access to our cash. I get less than 1.5% from my other funds in our TF money market fund. Unless I am will to invest in a one of the best morningstar 5 star interm tf money market funds, bmbix–which I do invest in (has earned ovewr 4% TF (6% taxable yield) this year, over 6% in 08,09 meaning 10% taxable yield), however want ready access to my cash for our retirement home in next 18 months. George, did a sanity ck with our CPA before putting $$ with BD.

Kelly Green

August 25th, 2010
1:45 pm

Use credit; but, use the right card. AMEX Blue pays 5% on gas and grocery, and 1.0% on everything else after you spend $6k. You get money back for buying stuff you would buy anyway. Just pay off the card every month. Last year I received over $900. Far more than I received in bank interest. As for paying off your house, the interest rates are too low. Pay off something else.

The Dogfighter Returns

August 25th, 2010
1:47 pm

Come on Henry is this a trick question? Under your bed of course. :) buy U.S. treasury indexed for inflation.

Kelly Green

August 25th, 2010
1:49 pm

Also, if you have stock, learn about covered calls. The smart money buys options instead of stocks. Learn to make money whether a stock is rising or falling.

bert

August 25th, 2010
2:07 pm

http://www.prosper.com peer-to-peer lending. Been on it for 3 years, getting 10% steady returns. Returns have gone UP since the recession!

nubin

August 25th, 2010
2:11 pm

buy all the silver u can afford or anything thats going to have value when the dollar is wortlhless.
the only way out for them is to monetize the debt… i owe you 15 trillion dollars, ok give me about
five minutes to print it for you. folks thats whats coming.. and it may be sooner than we think.
stock market is rigged and interest rates are nothing. cover your butt as best u can..

timthebrave

August 25th, 2010
2:41 pm

I paid off all my credit cards. Now working on paying off car…then pay off my house….then retire…Trying to pay off whatever is charging the most interest rate.

Mike

August 25th, 2010
2:56 pm

I’ve bought I-bonds up to the yearly max allowed. They are currently paying 1.74% interest. The down side is you have to hold onto them for at least a year and if you redeem before 5 years you forfeit the latest 3 months interest (not that big a deal if you really need the cash). Not a good option if you are cash poor.

Valerie

August 25th, 2010
3:02 pm

Paying off debt for sure. Debt free is the goal!