8 Worst Places to Put Your Money Right Now

If you want to hang onto your cash during an economic turndown, make sure you don’t keep it in these dicey places.
Updated April 11, 2024
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An end-of-the-year recession is by no means a sure thing, but after months of soaring inflation and global turmoil, we can’t blame you for worrying about the economy. 

There are a few surefire ways to ensure your cash outlasts the worst the economy can throw at it. On the flip side, there are a few places to stash your money that practically guarantee you’ll lose it all.

To help you stay afloat in a potentially soured economy, we’ve put together a list of the most dangerous places you absolutely don’t want to stash your cash right now.

Under your mattress

Michael O'Keene/Adobe Man stashing putting money under his mattress

When times are tough, it’s tempting to avoid any investment, no matter how small. But if you keep your cash out of the bank, you’re actually losing money. After all, money under the bed doesn’t magically multiply to match inflation rates.

Opening an interest-bearing account, no matter how high your interest rate is, automatically instills your cash with more value.  A high-yield savings account will obviously bring you a better return on your investment without too much risk. And during bleak economic times, every penny counts.

If you’re worried a bank could lose all your hard-earned wealth in a bad investment, remember the federal government insures accounts at most banks up to $250,000 per individual account. 

As long as you’ve chosen a bank covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), you shouldn’t have much to stress about.

In a non-interest-bearing checking account

Kittiphan/Adobe young couple checking bills

You’re much better off storing your cash in a bank account than under your mattress, but we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to choose an interest-bearing account. No matter how small your yield is, any interest is better than no interest.

High-yield savings accounts and checking accounts aren’t paying a super high rate of interest, though you have a few options, thanks to banks on the best savings accounts list. 

If your bank doesn’t currently offer any interest-bearing account options, now is a great time to start looking for a bank that does.

In an NFT

freshidea/Adobe crypto virtual museum

Put in the simplest terms possible, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital tokens that certify a person owns the rights to a specific digital asset. They’ve been around for a few years and function on the same blockchain technology that drives crypto.

If you’ve been tempted to invest in the seemingly hot commodity of NFTs, you may be risking too much. Most importantly, if you didn’t know what an NFT was before reading this article, an NFT is probably the last place you want to park your money.

While some NFT creators and investors have made thousands to millions of dollars on NFTs, they are the exception, not the norm. Plus, NFT sales plummeted nearly 50% in the first quarter of 2022, and there are few signs of public interest picking up anytime soon.

In crypto

resul/Adobe Bitcoin

You’ve likely read news stories about ordinary people making millions on trading in cryptocurrencies. Sure, every once in a while, a relatable substitute teacher or hard-working teen wins big on a crypto investment. But if you think you might be the next get-rich-quick crypto investor, the odds aren’t in your favor.

In fact, cryptocurrency is one of the most volatile investments you can make. It doesn’t have any built-in protections, and scams are frighteningly common: the FTC reports that one in every four dollars invested in crypto is lost.

If you know what you’re doing, you can make money from crypto investments. But the concept of crypto is extremely risk-prone. If you don’t understand how it works, you avoid investing in crypto, especially if you’re worried about your economic prospects.

In stock recommended by a celeb

Robert Daly/KOTO/Adobe celebrity arriving at red carpet

If you’re a layperson looking to get involved in stocks for the first time, it’s tempting to look to advice from big personalities instead of doing your own investment research. 

But just because someone is rich, famous, or successful doesn’t mean they have any out-of-the-ordinary advice on which stocks will succeed or fail in the long term.

Warren Buffett is a classic case. When Buffett invests in a company, millions of eager investors tend to follow. However, while Buffett’s instincts about great long-term investments are often right on the money, he isn’t correct every time. 

He can be a good source, but during an economic crisis isn’t the right time to start impulsively following celebrity stock advice.

Plus, famous investors have a lot more money than the rest of us. They won’t lose everything if a risky investment doesn’t pan out, but you could. In other words, just because Matt Damon tells you to invest in crypto doesn’t mean you should.

In commodities

Hernan Schmidt/Adobe gold bullion bars

Commodities such as gold, copper, oil, corn, and beef would seem to be solid investments. And the current prices for these goods are high. So, even if you don’t have much experience investing in the commodity market, now might seem like the perfect time to start.

In reality, though, a period of high inflation isn’t the ideal time to start investing in commodity funds. While commodity investments definitely aren’t as risky as crypto, the price of goods ebbs and flows dramatically. A return on your investment is never certain.

For another, as with crypto and NFTs, a troubling economic period is the worst time to start investing in something you don’t fully understand. 

While you may consider diversifying your portfolio by adding commodities, you’re better off with tried-and-true ways to make money on the side instead of venturing into new markets.

In a long-term CD

Andrii/Adobe certificate of deposit

One of the worst places for your cash to be during a recession is tied up in an investment you can’t access. While a long-term certificate of deposit offers a guaranteed rate of interest, it’s the opposite of ideal when you could need cash, fast. 

And if you have a long-term CD and need cash, you’ll pay a steep penalty for cashing it in before it matures.

Don’t panic about any current CDs you have sitting around. Hopefully, those investments are about to pay off exactly as you planned when you first bought the CD. 

But don’t tie up money with any new long-term certificates of deposit until the economy is looking up again.

In a company’s recently decimated stock

adrian_ilie825/Adobe digital stock exchange panel

When stock prices are low, you might think it’s automatically a good time to buy. But if a usually popular, pricy stock takes a nosedive, your gut reaction during an economic downturn shouldn’t be to buy all the shares you can. 

Sure, you might make a killing when the stock market turns around, but you could be using the last of your cash on a company that’s already on its last legs.

Instead of going all-in on a recently crashed stock, learn about less risky ways to invest money. A stable stock purchase with small but steady short-term gains is a better choice right now than buying up a stock that lost most of its value overnight.

Bottom line

Corona Borealis/Adobe United States 100 dollar bills

The last two years have turned just about every aspect of normal life upside down, and finances are no exception. 

After such a long period of ongoing stress, you don’t need to make risky investments or tie up cash in long-term commitments. Instead, avoid dangerous places for cash and make sure your money is easily accessible when you may need it.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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