Where is the best place to invest your hard-earned money? It's aquestion that a lot of people spend a lot of timeinvestigating. For many, however, the answer is right in front ofthem.

When looking at investments, many people disregard one of the bestand easiest places to invest their money: their own debt.

Perhaps people simply don't think about it, or maybe they think it's not as glamorous as investing in stocks (most people will be more than abit reluctant to let everyone at the party know they are gettingdouble-digit returns investing in their own debt). But your creditcard debt should be one of the first places you look when you havemoney you're looking to invest.

You can see why this is a superior investment opportunity by simplytaking a look at five general investing questions that you should ask ofevery investment you make. When you ask them of investing in your debt, the answers are so incredibly favorablethat you'll find it difficult to find a better place to invest yourmoney.
  • What is the risk? While almost all investing entails some form of risk, especially whenyou are referring to investments with double-digit returns, investingin your own debt is an exception to this rule. There is absolutely norisk involved when you put money toward your own debt. Once you paymoney toward your debt, it disappears, and you save whatever interestyou were paying on it.
  • What type of return can you expect? Unlike most investments that can yield high returns, there is noguesswork when it comes to your investment return. You know exactlywhat the return on your investment will be -- whatever interest rateyou are paying on your credit cards. For most people, that is a double-digit figure and can be as high as 30%.

  • What type of tax implications are there? With most investments, you will be required to pay taxes on any gainsyou make. Most people are happy if the investment has some type of taxdeduction associated with it. When you invest in your own debt, youare getting a return that is 100% tax free. There are no taxes of anykind to pay.
  • What type of fees are there? Most of the time when you make an investment, there are feesassociated with it that can reduce your overall return. When youinvest in your debt, however, there are no fees to pay. The amountthat you save is 100% yours.
  • How long until you receive your return? Because many investments fluctuate quite a bit in the short term, you often need to consider an investment to be long term in order to achieve the expected return. This is not the case withyour debt. The instant that you pay money toward it, you receive thatpercentage return.

With the huge advantages associated with paying off your credit carddebt, there are few better places to put your money. If you arecarrying credit card debt that has interest rates in double figures,paying down this debt should be a priority before considering mostother investments.

Once you have finished paying off your credit card debt, you shouldlook at all the other debts you have, such as student loans, your carloan and your mortgage, to see how these compare with other investmentsyou are considering. By not bypassing your own debt when deciding whereto place investment money, you may get much better returns than youever imagined.

Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.

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