We research all brands listed and may earn a fee from our partners. Research and financial considerations may influence how brands are displayed. Not all brands are included. Learn more.

Published: May 12, 2023 4 min read

Money is not a client of any investment adviser featured on this page. The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Money does not offer advisory services.

Collage of house, stock-graph, and goldbars
Eddie Lee / Money; Getty images

When it comes to growing your wealth, deciding where to put your cash can feel like an impossible task. There are so many options, from gold to bonds to stocks to real estate and beyond.

These investing options aren’t exactly created equally, either. Some are considered safer, others higher-earning yet volatile.

Which one is the overall best kind of investment, though?

According to a new Gallup poll, lots of people seem to think their money is best invested in real estate in the long term. Notably, gold is gaining traction among investors again, too.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Put a gold-backed IRA into your golden years
Gold IRAs are similar to traditional retirement accounts, but they are backed by investments in gold and other precious metals, such as silver, platinum, and palladium. To get started, click on your state.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
Invest in Gold

What the research says

Analytics company Gallup published a poll on Thursday about what investment sectors Americans consider the best long-term options for their money. Across the 1,013 American survey respondents, real estate tops the list, but some interesting trends abound.

  • 34% said that real estate was the best long-term investment in 2023. While it tops the list, real estate has seen a decline of 11 percentage points since last year’s survey.
  • The percentage of people who think that stocks and mutual funds are the best investment also declined. Where 24% of Americans last year said that these sectors provided the best long-term investments, only 18% feel this way in 2023.
  • Stock’s decline of six points over last year has put it underneath gold, which 26% of respondents feel is the best investment right now.

What it means

While real estate and stocks hold a cumulative 52% of Americans’ confidence as the best long-term investment choices, this year’s results suggest a decline in confidence in these sectors.

Given the economic environment right now, which sees mortgage rates trending around 6.5% and a dearth of inventory in the housing market, it might be surprising to see real estate rank highest on the list. However, real estate has continuously topped the list since 2013. While 2021 and 2022 saw the popularity of real estate investing boom as a result of a heating housing market, this year’s 34% figure puts it back on its pre-pandemic average trend of between 30 and 35%.

Americans' confidence in stocks have taken a hit as well, dipping below gold as investors' second most favorable option as a long-term investment for the first time since 2015. This is not terribly surprising, given that since the last time the poll was conducted in 2022, the stock market has seen its fair share of volatility, making it a less appealing option than before.

Indeed, real estate and stocks, perhaps the most volatile investment classes of the bunch in the main survey, are the only two in decline since last year’s poll. (The poll did include a half-sampling of cryptocurrency questions, and only saw 4% of respondents deeming it the best long-term buy.) Overall, Americans appear to be gravitating heavily toward less-volatile, slower-growing sectors.

Gallup notes that gold had emerged in the survey as one of the most popular long-term investments between 2007 and 2009, around the Great Recession. It makes sense to see it, alongside bonds and CDs, re-emerging as favorites now, given recession fears and high inflation. Savings accounts, too, have gained traction as a top investment, especially as the Federal Reserve's rate hikes have allowed banks to offer some savory APYs.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Take control of your financial future
Achieve greater financial security by providing effective solutions that can help protect your wealth. Click below to start investing today!
Invest in Gold

More from Money:

Robinhood Users Will Soon Be Able to Trade 24 Hours a Day, 5 Days a Week

The Average Down Payment on a Home Is Shrinking

How to Buy Gold