There's a concept called 'expensive money', and it's based on how much you have to pay to borrow money - i.e. interest rates. If interest rates are high, you have to pay more to borrow money, and if they're low, you pay less. Talking to long-term investors, the break-point is around double digits. If you can pay less than 10% on borrowed money, it's pretty cheap. If interest rates are higher, it's expensive.
In What Is an Investor, I put forth that an investor is a person who understands ROI, implying that they'll be on the winning side of that comparison. So as an interesting aside - if under 10% interest is considered 'cheap', then that implies a professional investor is confident that they can make over 10% on their investments. Otherwise 'cheap' would have a different level.
Now, most people out there can get interest rates under 7%, and many can get under 6%. This means that money is quite cheap. And yet people are still looking to pay down debt... So this survey tells me two things:
- That fear makes cheap money still look risky.
- That those surveyed are not professional investors, or have too much debt already.