An overwhelming majority of Americans depend on mutual funds for their retirement and other savings over other investments, including real estate, a mortgage company has found.

Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services of Newark, N.J. interviewed 2,000 people for its U.S. Home Buyers Study and discovered that 40 percent invest in mutual funds as their primary savings vehicle. That was followed by 18 percent naming bank certificates of deposit as their preferred savings choice. Real estate ranked third, with 17 percent preferring this method. Individual stock ownership ranked last, with 15 percent citing this as their favored investment means.

The study also found that mutual funds are even more popular in households with more than $50,000 in annual income. More than 66 percent of these investors prefer mutual funds, compared to 49 percent in households with annual incomes of $49,000 or less.

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