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Market fears drive quest for retirement guarantees

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American workers are so worried about what market turbulence could cost them that they’re staying away from investing.

That’s according to the 2015 Market Perceptions Study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, which also found that workers are increasingly interested in financial products that guarantee returns—moreso than in products that offer higher return potential, but also greater loss potential.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents cited “fear of market uncertainty” as the reason they wouldn’t invest, if they had the extra cash available to do so.

Although that’s marginally fewer than those who said the same in 2014—when 40 percent cited that as the reason—it’s still the top barrier to investing. Other reasons workers say they’d stay away from the market include “lack of reliable financial guidance (23 percent) and “today’s low interest rates” (21 percent).

At the same time, their interest in products that offer guarantees is growing.

In 2014, 78 percent said that a product with a return of 4 percent that’s guaranteed not to lose value was more attractive than one with an 8 percent return that could be hit if the market went south.

In 2015, that number edged up, with 81 percent opting for the lower rate of return that carried a guarantee.

Worries over market volatility is pushing retirement strategies, too, according to survey results.

The majority of Americans regard the market negatively, with 34 percent saying they are “worried” and believe the market is “too volatile and too risky” for their investment style and 18 percent saying they feel “the stock market is a necessary place to invest money for the long term, even though it can be nerve-wracking at times.”

In fact, the number of respondents saying they’re comfortable with current market conditions and are ready to invest now has actually fallen since 2014, from 28 percent to 26 percent, while 79 percent say it’s important to have a guaranteed source of income in retirement and 62 percent who agreed that, when making retirement plans, they assume the market will continue to be uncertain.


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