The percentage of Affluent investors who cite retirement as the primary factor affecting current investment plans has increased from 13 percent in January to 19 percent.
Though the political climate and the 2016 presidential race, still in its early stages, dominate the 24-hour cable news channels, Affluent investors seem to be tuning out divisive rhetoric, campaign stump speeches and debate format controversies to focus on issues that directly impact their portfolios, according to a new Spectrem Group survey. When asked in October which one factor is most affecting their current investment plans, the highest percentage (three-in-ten) responded Stock Market Conditions.
This response has been consistent over at least the past three years, with the response to this question reaching as high as 38 percent in October 2014. That was a time of extreme volatility, when, during one near-month-long stretch between September and October of last year, the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 1,100 points.
On Aug. 24 of this year, the Dow suffered its worst day since August 2011. By the end of the month, U.S. stocks closed out the third quarter down about 7 percent for the three-month period.
In September, the markets were further rattled following an announcement by the Federal Reserve that it would not, as some speculated or forecast, raise interest rates that month. Year-to-date as of last week, the NASDAQ was up 6.2 percent, the S&P 500 up 0.3 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average down 1.4 percent.
Following Stock Market Conditions, the second highest percentage of Affluent investors indicated that Retirement is the primary factor most affecting their investment plans today.
Stock market losses can wreak havoc on retirement savings.
According to a 2013 Government Accountability Office report, cumulative output losses from the 2007-2009 economic recession were forecast to reach $22 trillion, which include losses in household wealth through declines in home equity.
In regard to interest rates, retirees, especially, are affected by the Fed’s eventual move, because in many cases, they are living off of the interest gained from their savings vehicles. In a bid by the Fed to stimulate the economy following the economic collapse, interest rates have been at below 1 percent since December 2008.
Stock Market Conditions and Retirement supersede other issues referenced by Affluent investors, the Spectrem survey found. Ten percent said that the Economic Environment is the one factor most affecting their investment plans today, unchanged from three months ago when this questions was last asked.
Just 6 percent responded Household Income, while a scant 3 percent said the Political Climate. It remains to be seen if this figure will surge as the presidential race intensifies and the last candidates standing lay out their stances on the economy.