The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index fell 10 points in the third quarter to +33, down from +43 recorded in May. Among retired investors, third quarter optimism has fallen 18 points since May to +14, but optimism among non-retired investors has waned only slightly in the third quarter, falling five points since May to +40. Answers related to questions about the stock market and inflation showed the greatest decline in optimism and contributed to the overall Index dip.
Five years after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, setting off the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and recession from which the U.S. economy has still not fully recovered, four in 10 non-retired investors (41%) say they are “extremely” or “very worried” about a repeat of this event in their retirement years, surpassing concerns about having a lower standard of living (28%), running out of money (26%) or having to work in retirement (25%). In addition, more than two-thirds of investors see a “slow” or “non-growing” U.S. economy for their lifetime as the norm.
“Over the summer, investors watched rising mortgage rates, a volatile stock market and stubborn unemployment figures – all of which understandably impact optimism. What is so striking to me is the fact that five years after the market collapse, non-retired investors harbor significant concerns about a repeat financial crisis. The past continues to color their view of retirement, and whether the stock market is a place where they can invest and grow savings,” said Joe Ready, director of Institutional Retirement and Trust at Wells Fargo.
Investor Wariness Prevails, Affecting Retirement Confidence
A majority (69%) of investors say this year’s stock market increases do not make them any “less fearful about sustained losses” if the market were to fall similar to the 2008-2009 downturn. Fifty-nine percent of retired and 51% of non-retired investors say they haven’t seen a “noticeable increase” in their retirement account values as a result of stock market increases.