Folks with a net worth between $100,000 to $1 million--excluding primary residence--say cash is their investment option of choice during the next 12 months, according to a new report by Spectrem Group.

The "Mass Affluent Investor 2010" report, based on a survey of the financial decision-makers in 1,511 households, found 40% of mass affluent investors are likely to invest in cash in the upcoming year versus 23% likely to buy stocks or 17% to buy fixed-income vehicles. Twelve percent said they're likely to make international investments and 6% are likely to invest in real estate.

Reflecting caution among retail investors, Spectrem reports 55% of respondents said it's more important to protect principal than to grow investments.

"Although the economy has been recovering for some time now, the nation's mass affluent have not shaken off their recession-driven caution when it comes to investment decisions," said George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group.