Skip the March Madness Pool and Play the Market Instead

Are brackets a good investment? Better than Greek debt, but on stocks it's a toss-up.

The odds of winning your office's NCAA bracket pool aren't great, but it still makes a better investment than Greek debt.

The odds of winning your office's NCAA bracket pool aren't great, but it still makes a better investment than Greek debt.

By + More

The only problem is that a government default could mean an investor entirely loses what she paid, or in the case of debt restructuring, that she takes a "haircut" and gets only a partial return.

Cost: Around 52 cents on the dollar/euro. So for a 1,000-euro, 10-year bond, the cost is around 520 euro.

Potential Return: On $5 of 10-year Greek debt, an investor would get around 48 cents back each year, given a coupon rate of around 5 percent, and end up with around $9.62 in 10 years.

Odds of "Winning": That depends on Greek politicians and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, says one expert. "If you invest in buying Greek bonds, you must be comfortable with the risk that if anything happens with Greece that Germany will be willing and able to step in as a lender of last resort. That's basically the risk you're taking," says Putri Pascualy, Credit Strategist for PAAMCO, an investment firm based in Irvine, Calif.

Verdict: Given the tiny return and long time-frame, the brackets seem like a better bet.

Keeping the $5

Cost: $0

Potential Return: $0 and slowly falling. Not to mention, our gambler is missing out on the beers that the winner of the office pool might buy everyone.

Odds of "Winning": Very low. Unless there's massive deflation (which the Fed isn't going to let happen), the $5 going to slowly lose value.

Verdict: Bracket, definitely.

More News:

  • U.S. News' Best Investment Funds
  • America Starts Filling Out March Madness Brackets
  • Mississippi's Colorful Henderson Hits the Big Stage