What would you do if someone just handed you $10,000. In Ally Bank’s latest study they ask that very same question to over 1,000 adults.

With the economic uncertainty today, Ally Bank took a survey of 1,004 Americans to see how safe they would really play it. It turns out that if given $10,000, most people would opt to put it into savings or retirement accounts rather than alternative assets and stocks.

To see this survey (and a bigger image) on the Ally Bank website check out their Ally Straight Talk blog.

Ally Survey Analysis

Some interesting connections can be made from the accumulated data. First, let us look at how gender plays a role in the aggressiveness and riskiness of investing. On the surface, men seem to have riskier tendencies than women. More men would invest in alternative assets like hedge funds, whereas more women would invest in savings. However, larger-scale social factors play an even more significant and diverse role in deciding how safe to be with investments.

Read: Men vs. Women: Financial Management Differences

Consider the national average income dividing those who would put the $10,000 in retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs ($75,000) and those who have not made the shift and would rather save it in a savings account ($50,000). This seems to correspond to the data on household size: 25 percent of those with three or more members in the household versus 14 percent of one-member households, would put the money into retirement accounts. The connection between larger households and more income is obvious, either because they have more earners or at the very least just a pressing need to make more money for the higher costs of living. Additionally, their higher income makes them more likely to bulk up their retirement accounts whereas a single-member household would be much less likely to think about retirement.

However, the real points of focus here are those shadowy indefinite zones that act as cutoffs, namely, two-member households and those making between $50,000 and $75,000 per year. What is happening in those cross-sections that are causing people to reevaluate their money-saving decisions? Perhaps those zones serve as a transition for people to shift their mentality from having more liquid and shorter term savings to thinking about the future and actual retirement.

For example, a single person living alone generally has little extra money for savings, as opposed to a husband and wife with two kids constantly have to think about finances with no room to mess around. Between these two scenarios exists a volatile and uncertain condition. When two people decide to live together, the conditions cannot be measured as unequivocally because their accounts are separate so retirement and joint savings are hardly a priority for them.

Have you seen any similar transitions in your own experience? Tell us in the comments section below.

Zachary Ehrlich

Zachary is a staff writer and a columnist for MyBankTracker.com. He specializes in financial technology, banking trends and product innovation.