NEW YORK: Three out of four US investors age 40 and older worry about a correction that will eventually end the long-running bull market in stocks, yet most refuse to head for the exits.
Sixty-nine per cent of older investors remain heavily exposed to equities, according to a national study released on Tuesday (Dec 5) by Global Atlantic Financial Group, potentially leaving many ill-positioned for the inevitable downturn.
"Investors felt the pain from the 2008 financial crisis, but our study indicates many are not prepared for another significant downturn," said Paula Nelson, president, Retirement, at Global Atlantic.
"It's clear that investors need a better strategy to protect themselves from future market corrections and volatility, especially as they enter their peak earning years and prepare for and enter retirement," she added.
The study was conducted in October and November by Ebiquity, a global market analytics firm. It polled 1,005 people who invest in equities through individual stocks, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts.
Fifty-nine percent of employed investors said a significant stock market drop would delay their planned retirement date, while 25 per cent of retirees said it would disrupt their retirement.
Nonetheless, 52 per cent said they believed the stock market could sustain continued growth for five years without a downturn of 10 per cent or more.
According to the Global Atlantic study, the most popular investing strategy is steady income-focused investments (34 per cent), followed by protecting/capital preservation investments (26 per cent) and growth (24 per cent).
Women appeared to be more conservative than men. Forty-three per cent of women said they placed a higher value on income, compared with 34 per cent of men, while 30 per cent of women highly valued capital preservation, versus 23 per cent of men.
More than one-third of retirees, 36 per cent, also placed a higher value on capital preservation, compared with just 19 per cent of employed people.
Forty-six per cent of investors said they found equities and fixed income investments equally appealing, while 32 per cent preferred equities and 22 per cent preferred fixed income. More women than men preferred a mix, 52 per cent to 38 per cent.
The typical US investor 40 and over on average invests US$210,051 in the stock market, while retirees on average invest US$236,148, the study said.