Half of Americans Avoid Stocks, Bonds Markets

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- The stock market has recovered since the Great Recession, but many Americans remain wary of investing or simply unable to get started. Just more than half, 51%, said in a survey that they do not invest in the stock or bond markets in any way.

For those that do not invest, 56% say not having enough money is the biggest obstacle, found the Country Financial Security Index survey. Americans also cite their distrust of the stock and bond markets (12%) and not knowing how to get started (11%).

Of the 45% who invest, they're focused on the future and are diligent about regularly checking their investments. An overwhelming majority (88%) buy securities to improve their long-term savings, and 78% review their portfolios at least quarterly.

Regardless of whether they invest, Americans struggle to keep pace with the speed of the market. Half say they find it difficult to keep up with the volatility of the stock market. "Investing is a key component of any financial plan, and while half of people say they're not invested, they might still be unknowingly benefiting from market upswings through an automatic 401(k) enrollment at work, for example," said Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at Country Financial, in a prepared statement. "Investing may seem daunting at first, but the key takeaway is any level of involvement is a good starting point."

Perhaps as a result of the Great Recession, levels of trust in the stock and bond markets and whom Americans consult for investment advice varies noticeably across generations. Those ages 50 and older expressed higher levels of unease, with 21% of baby boomers citing distrust in the stock and bond markets as their biggest reason for not investing.

For those who invest, 42% say a financial planner is their most trusted adviser. Americans 65 and older are significantly more likely to use a financial planner, with 61% saying their planners are their primary source of investment advice.

However, those under 30 are more likely to consult Internet research (27%) than a financial planner (22%).

With younger Americans turning to financial planners and online research, 87% say they're rarely, if ever, asked by friends or family about their investment decisions.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
CLICK HERE to subscribe to our twice-monthly print edition and to our free daily email headlines.