DEAR BRUCE: I have $40,000, which I would like to set aside in a reasonably safe investment for three to five years, where it would hopefully grow. Do you have any recommendations? — Greg, via email

DEAR GREG: Here we go again. In today’s world, a saver such as yourself who wants to be “reasonably safe” has very little in the way of alternatives available. In terms of interest, there is nothing even worth considering. There are parking places, but that’s about all. There are however, very strong U.S. companies that pay decent dividends that should be able to take growth into account, yielding a reasonably 5 percent or more a year.

With that being observed, you should understand completely that these types of investments can and have gone down in value in many cases. A knowledgeable stockbroker should be able to recommend solid companies and diversify your investments in case one or a group goes down, the others don’t suffer. You didn’t mention your age, but unless you are an elderly person, this is the route that I would follow.

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Send your questions to: Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. E-mail to: Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns.