Individual Investors Still Skittish Over Market

By FOXBusiness

The stock market may have bounced back post-recession, but it doesn’t mean American investors are any more likely to get in.

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A new report from (NYSE:RATE) finds 73% of Americans say they aren’t any more inclined to invest in the market now than they were a year ago. This number holds true across all age groups and income levels.

This percentage of Americans is also consistent with the 2013 and 2012 reports, in which 76% of Americans said they were not inclined to invest.

Bankrate also finds Americans feel less comfortable about their debt compared to one year ago, for the second time in the past seven months, across all age groups. Income groups were more mixed, with households with between $50,000 and $74,999 in income feeling slightly less comfortable with their level of debt.

Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, says despite market gains and record highs, investors are still squeamish over stock market volatility.

“The wounds of the 2008 financial crisis are still fresh for individual investors,” McBride says. “The result this year is consistent with what we have found over the past few years. People’s attitudes have not shifted, but the markets have.”

McBride notes the stock market is up 21% since last year’s poll and 35% since the 2012 poll.

“Individual investors tend to get back on the bandwagon when the market hits new highs,” he says. “But the market has hit new highs and they’re still not interested. The prolonged risk aversion is problematic, because it compounds the problem of not saving enough for retirement, along with not having safe haven investments.”

This scenario has investors jeopardizing long-term stability in favor of staying away from short-term risk, McBride says.

“The ups and downs in the market are as normal as temperature swings day-to-day and month-to-month,” he says. “If you hang in there, and you think long-term and keep investing when the market is down, that’s how you reach long-term goals.”

Bankrate also announced that its Financial Security Index slipped from 102.2 in March to 100.5 in April. Yet in four of the past five months the index still indicates improvement over one year ago, and any value over 100 indicates improved financial security compared to one year ago.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates among 1,010 adults by phone.

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