More than half (56 percent) of retirement plan participants surveyed by Millionaire Corner identify themselves as Self-Directed investors, meaning that they do not consult with a financial advisor and make all decisions involving their money management themselves.
Participants in defined contribution plans, in which an employer sets aside a specified amount or percentage of money for the employee, are increasingly concerned about having enough money saved for retirement. Three-fourths said they do not feel confident that they have amassed enough retirement savings.
Yet less than half (47 percent) say that they are only “fairly knowledgeable regarding finance and investments, while 38 percent say they are “not very knowledgeable.” Those between the ages of 35-49 are the most likely to describe themselves as fairly knowledgeable about finance and investments, while the youngest respondents, (under 35) are most likely to say they are not very knowledgeable. Surprisingly, this age group is the most likely (59 percent) to identify themselves as self-directed.
Of the nearly 2,000 retirement plan participants surveyed, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said their primary concern is maintaining their current economic position, followed by concerns among six-in-ten about their children or grandchildren’s financial futures, health, college costs, and responsibility for aging parents. Respondents over the age of 50 are most concerned about all of these issues with the exception of paying for their children’s education. An equal percentage of 35-49 year-olds and those over 50 are concerned about caring for their parents and shouldering the educational costs for their grandchildren.
Much of the economic news to the contrary, respondents do express optimism about the present and future economic situations. Forty-five percent said they are better off now than a year ago, while 56 percent say they will be better off a year from now. Leading the charge is the under-35 age group, 55 percent of whom say they are better off now than they were a year ago and 64 percent who say they will be better off in one year.
Still, 46 percent are concerned they are not saving enough to meet their financial goals and 45 percent are concerned about the amount of debt they are carrying.
Only one-third say they enjoy investing, while 36 percent say they like to be involved in the day-to-day management of their investments. So it is somewhat surprising that less than half say they are concerned about getting adequate help and advice to reach their financial goals.
Perhaps they are putting greater stock in 21st century technology to give them access to information and ease the investment process. Our study finds this especially true among younger investors, who are typically first adaptors of new technologies and gadgets. For example, 29 percent of those under 35 read financial blogs, compared to 18 percent of those 35-49.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.