Ask Money

Cash is King

Chris Farrell Mar 19, 2008

Question: I’m 35 and already maxing out my 401K and IRA options. My only debt is my mortgage. Half my paycheck automatically goes to a money market for savings. But I don’t feel that’s the wisest investment. Should I pay off my mortgage early? Or should I invest in variable annuity, mutual funds, stocks, etc.? Bernie, Clarks Summit, PA

Answer: This is a huge, open ended question and I can’t focus on all the options open to you. Still, I wanted to deal with your question to make a simple point: Cash is king during an economic downturn. You’ve been making a wise investment. You’ll have ample opportunities to put at least some of that cash to work buying good assets at bargain prices over the next year or so. I would use this time to research your financial opportunities.

For all of us, the trick during a recession is finding the right personal finance balance between safety and speculation. For households without much in the way of a money cushion the focus is on shoring up the household balance sheet. For savers like you with good credit the mantra is mantra is investigate, research, and preparation, all with an eye toward buying assets for pennies on the dollar. Good luck.

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