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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Here's What Scares Young Americans Most About Investing

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Three in five respondents to a survey released Monday by Ally Invest said they expected to rely on Social Security in retirement, but 59% doubted that benefits would be available to those now 50 and younger.

In the same survey, 65% said they found stock market investing scary and/or intimidating, four percentage points higher than in Ally’s 2017 survey. Gen Z and millennial respondents expressed the most fear.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said they worried about whether they were doing the right thing with regard to investing, up from 63% who felt this way in last year’s poll.

“The survey results point to a serious dilemma: Most Americans don’t see Social Security as a long-term solution, yet many are still banking on it for their retirement, so something’s going to have to give,” Ally Invest’s president Rich Hagen said in a statement.

What strikes fear in the hearts of reluctant investors?

Not surprisingly, 52% said they did not want to lose money by making a bad investment. These included 72% of women surveyed and 65% of men, and more than 70% of Gen Z and millennial respondents.

A third of those on the sidelines were alarmed by not knowing whom to trust for advice, and another third worried about finding the money necessary to invest. Twenty-seven percent simply did not know where to start.

Some were made anxious by the amount of time investing properly takes, and others were concerned that the market had passed them by and was headed down.

Only 15% of respondents purported not to be scared of anything having to do with investing.

“The good news for consumers is there are many more affordable and accessible options for investing today that can take the anxiety out of the process,” Hagen said.

He noted that customer surveys conducted by Ally Invest found 70% saying online investing had helped them improve their financial position, 81% claiming that it had made the process less intimidating and 89% saying it had made it easier to manage their investments.

“So there is light at the end of the tunnel for those who look for it and act proactively,” Hagen said.

Regina Corso Consulting conducted the online survey in early September among 2,100 Americans, aged 18 and older.

Besides Social Security benefits, which 59% of respondents said they currently planned to rely on in retirement, those surveyed said they would look to the following:

  • Savings: 45%
  • 401(k): 33%
  • Pension: 23%
  • Stock and bond investments: 23%
  • IRA: 21%
  • Real estate/home: 11%

Eleven percent said they would rely on none of these options as they did not plan to retire.


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