Last updated: 19:44 / Monday, 5 August 2013
Puzzling Findings

Americans Are More Afraid of Investing in the Stock Market Than of Dying

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Americans Are More Afraid of Investing in the Stock Market Than of Dying
  • 62 percent of respondents are scared of investing in the stock market, while 58 percent fear death, 57 percent fear public speaking and 37 percent fear losing their jobs
  • 83 percent of respondents are afraid of another financial crisis, while 72 percent are concerned their personal health care costs will become unmanageable and 71 percent worry they will not be able to pay for their children’s education

A new Nationwide Financial survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that Americans are more afraid of investing in the stock market than they are of losing their jobs, public speaking and even dying. And despite those fears, many – especially younger investors – would rather use a website for their financial planning needs than meet with an investment professional.

According to the “Fear of Financial Planning” survey released today, of the 783 potential investors over the age of 18 who had at least $100,000 in investable assets, 62 percent are scared of investing in the stock market, while 58 percent fear death, 57 percent fear public speaking and 37 percent fear losing their jobs. Despite this revelation, more than one in two millennials and nearly half of generation X (58 and 48 percent) turn to websites before financial advisors for help with financial planning.

The survey also found 83 percent of respondents are afraid of another financial crisis, while 72 percent are concerned their personal health care costs will become unmanageable and 71 percent worry they will not be able to pay for their children’s education.

“Even with the recent uptick in the markets, we still hear from our financial advisor clients that investors are very skittish. We wanted to dig deeper to understand their fears related to their financial security, and to help advisors address them,” said Michael Spangler, president of Nationwide Funds, Nationwide Financial’s mutual fund business. “Americans are increasingly moving toward managing their own assets and investments. For their practices to be sustainable, advisors need to focus more resources on demonstrating their value to both existing and prospective clients.”

Rather than working with an investment professional, generation X and millennials are more likely to use websites as their primary financial planning resource. Forty-three percent of generation X and 51 percent of millennials use an advisor for their financial planning needs, which is fewer than those using websites (48 percent and 58 percent). However, 78 percent of retirees and 61 percent of high-net-worth investors (those with $250,000 or more in investable assets) use a financial advisor as their top resource for financial planning needs.

The study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Nationwide Financial from March 26 - April 3, 2013, and participants included 783 Americans ages 18 and older with a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and a therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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