Risk free: Cash or Bonds or Gold or ...?

As a Swiss investor, I still have a little bit of cash laying around (20% of my investment portfolio should be near risk free asset). Please entertain those few questions:

  • Is there any reason to stay in cash considering the economic situation?
  • Bond funds still have some kind return compared to cash, so why would you keep cash at all?
  • Is it rational to still expect positive returns in bond funds in the next 10 years?

What are your favorite bonds fund? I am in https://www.etf.com/BND. Any thoughts on https://www.etf.com/JNK ? Too risky?

“as a Swiss investor”, be careful when investing in something like BND.

About the benchmark
The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Float Adjusted Index is a rules-based index that measures the investment return of investment-grade, taxable, fixed income securities in the United States—including government, corporate, and international dollar-denominated bonds, as well as mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities—all with maturities longer than 1 year.

These are all USD bonds. So fixed income, but in USD. For the last 10 years the exchange rate between USD and CHF has been pretty stable, but who knows how it will be in the future.

If you are younger than 30, put your cash at 1.25% at the Caisse d’Epargne d’Aubonne. They have a real e-banking even for savings account.

Granted, housing and maybe public transport make up a sizeable part many household’s expenses. Other than that, so much gets imported that holding CHF itself isn’t “free” of currency risk either.

There remains a risk of the CHF losing value - and purchasing power - against other major currencies.
And Most Swiss investors will have CHF overweighted anyways, by way of their 2nd pillar holdings.

USD at least compensates you with higher interest rates.

How should Gold be considered riskfree? It had a -85% drawdown in the 90s. It’s even more volatile than stocks with cash-like returns.


As other pointed out you need to specify in which currency you want your investment to be risk free.

IMO if that’s CHF, cash is best, it’s currently yielding 0.75% over the the SNB rate, and 0.5% over the Swiss government bonds (with no interest rate risk).

EUR is likely similar given there’s also negative interests, USD might be different (but with interest rates are 0%, I’m not sure there is much benefits to bund funds at the moment even with USD, whatever you get above 0 also has increased risk).

They offer 0.25% with no upper limits for regular savings account? Seems like the best rate I’ve seen recently (CA Next had good rate on savings accounts, but not anymore).

I actually thinking about buying some silver bars. I heard it will be the new gold. Anw, it looks quied cheap at the moment. Does anyone knows where to buy it at a good price?

Thank you.
Best regards

Red flag

Red flag

Please develop


Not so sure that Caisse d’Epargne d’Aubonne can be considered as “risk free”. This is not even a bank but a caisse d’épargne.
If they offer so high rate it’s because they are not risk free I think.
No miracle

100% agree
Gold is very volatile and therefore not “risk free” at all. A good diversification I think.

Be carefull with “bond fund”. If interest rates go higher, the bonds in the fund will have less value, Therefore the value (NAV) of your fund part will go lower.
Not a likely scenario right now but already happened.
“bond fund” are far for “risk free”. (also default risk on the creditors).

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Caisses d’épargne are banks. The name doesn’t matter. Credit agricole has some non-farmers customers. CA Next Bank can even be your previous bank.

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Note though that while Caisse d‘Épargne d‘Aubonne is indeed a bank, Caisse de dépôts Coop is an example of one that isn‘t.

Silver is indeed quite cheap (see gold/silver ratio), and has numerous industrial applications in addition to being a candidate for storing value and being used as a currency.

There are several downsides though:

  • subject to VAT
    you need to keep that in mind when buying and selling
  • takes a lot of space
    a small safe is quickly filled up with silver
  • higher volatility
    smaller price can be impacted more easily than gold

To buy silver bars Degussa is a solid player, they do delivery but I found the experience of going in a shop to buy in person reassuring (careful though, depending on the amount it can get heavy really fast).

As I said, any company that have “caisse d’épargne” or “Sparkasse” in his name is a bank. I just checked and it comes from art. 15 BankG / LB

But yes a “caisse de dépôts/Depositenkasse” is like a bakery or a book shop : It is not a bank.