What can you do with your money?


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The financial crash of 2008 was the sort of buying opportunity that is supposed to come around only once in a lifetime. But, three years on, investors might just be presented with another one.

Cash-rich companies, leaner and fitter after the last recession, are trading at historically low prices, compared to earnings. Growth in the West is anaemic but in the frontier and emerging markets prospects are still bright. So much so that a group of emerging-market fund managers I met on Thursday agreed that their one wish was to have more cash to sweep up the bargains that will be out there soon.

As always, it's all about timing. We aren't yet at the post-Lehman world – where it was almost no risk to buy because if the financial system did implode you'd have a lot more to worry about than a couple of thousand on a bad trade.

So, what to do – with savings earning so little and shares off 20 per cent in a couple of months? Frontier markets – smaller than emerging – are not nose-diving in the same way as the big Western ones, but that is a very long-term and high-risk play. Buy-to-let could be interesting, with rents up across the country. Those with smaller sums or just not willing to tie themselves to bricks and mortar may be best building up a savings fund and paying down debts such as credit cards and overdrafts, because if credit crunch part two happens, lines of credit could be called in fast.