The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index continued to hold steady in the second quarter of 2015, tracking at a seven-year high for investors’ faith in the markets and their ability to save enough for retirement.
Of the 1,000 investors surveyed in May, confidence remained equally high among retirees, whose median age was 68, and non-retirees, whose median age was 45.
Confidence in the “American Dream” remained solid, as 84 percent of investors say it remains achievable for them. The vast majority—96 percent—says living comfortably in retirement is central to that dream.
That benchmark is moving more non-retirees to formalize a retirement strategy. About seven in 10 say they have a specific plan to reach retirement and investment goals, but only half of them, or 36 percent of non-retirees, have formalized that strategy in writing. Most of those that have a plan in writing created it with the help of an investment advisor.
Retirees report being a bit more diligent: 73 percent say they have a strategic plan, and 43 percent have memorialized it in writing.
That discipline is up from the dark days of the last recession, but not where it should be, according to Mary Mack, president of Wells Fargo Advisors.
“While the number of people with written plans is slowly trending higher, it’s still less than half of investors,” said Mack. “It is critical to have a financial plan in place that spans life’s major milestones in order to reach your financial goals.
Translating financial goals into tangible, written plans is “one of the most important things that our advisors do for our clients,” she added.
Investors reported valuing online investing tools equally with having a strong relationship with an advisor. But most said they do not feel comfortable investing in markets on their own, with 78 percent saying they prefer to consult in person with a professional. Seven in 10 investors said it is critical or very important to use professional advice when crafting a long-term strategy.
Investors are showing a growing desire for blended advice, with 39 percent saying they’d like their experience to be mostly with an advisor, with an ancillary tech capability offered, while 26 percent prefer a tech-centric approach, so long as they can retain the ability to access human advice.
Only 9 percent said they prefer a strategy crafted exclusively online.
The ushering of technological solutions to retirement planning has reoriented investors’ fears. Investors are now more concerned about identity theft and cyber-attacks on their investment accounts than they are concerned about stock market volatility, according to the survey.