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JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - After a crazy year in the economy, where should you invest your money in the year ahead?
Stock markets gained a lot back in 2009. Early holiday sales numbers also offer hope. But unemployment is still high, and to many the economic recovery seems fragile.
"I think the stock market is a good place," offered Terry Gillette, who splits time between Jupiter and New York. "I think we start seriously looking at real estate again."
"I lost my house in a foreclosure this year," said Elizabeth Thurston. "So I really don't have anything to invest. It's day-to-day living for my family."
Thurston's plight illustrates the problems.
"I think that's where the economy is," said Doug Bartolf, of Bartolf Wealth Advisors, at his Jupiter office. But he added, "I think we've transitioned from outright fear to hesitation."
Bartolf recommends having a mix of investments, and watching each one very closely. "For the next half a year or so, be careful what you do," he said.
"If we stayed in the market, we recovered some of our money," Bartolf stated. "Is it going to be as rosy in 2010? I tend to think not quite as rosy."
"Overall, you're looking at a stabilization process, not necessarily a rise in prices," Bartolf theorized. "But perhaps not a tremendous decrease in prices again."
If you need safer investments, Bartolf said bank CD's and online savings accounts, even with their ridiculously low interest rates, still may be your best option short term. "You sort of kind of have to take your pain," he said, "because what will happen when rates go up, you will then have money to reinvest as rates go up."