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Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor And Retirement Optimism Index Q3 2013

Asked which of two approaches to handling the looming debt ceiling deadline Congress should take, a slight majority, 52%, say that given the fragility of the economy, it is most important that Congress avoid a battle over raising the debt ceiling and “avoid shutting down the government.” Less than half, 45%, think it’s more important Congress use the debt ceiling debate and federal budget process to limit federal government spending, even if it results in a government shutdown.

The Bright Side: Pre-Retirees Exhibiting More Planning and Knowledge About Preparing for Retirement

The percentage of pre-retirees reporting they have both developed a specific financial plan to reach their retirement and investment goals, and have written that plan down, has climbed to 39% in August, from 37% in May and 29% in March. Similarly, the percentage saying they have taken the time to calculate a good financial estimate of how much they will need to save now to retire comfortably -- as opposed to guessing -- is now 60%, up from 53% in May and 45% in March.

Along with this positive trend for retirement preparation, a majority of investors, (84%), rate both “the time in your life at which you began to save for retirement” and “how much you save each year” as “extremely” or “very important” factors in determining whether you will save enough to live comfortably after retirement. Somewhat fewer consider selecting the right investment funds (75%), the amount of investment gains made each year (70%), or having low fees on investment funds (62%) as being important.

Taken together, Ready said, “The findings indicate investors understand they will need to save their way to a secure retirement, not merely invest their way there; and they are taking more responsibility for their savings through better planning.”

About the Wells Fargo-Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index

These findings are part of the Wells Fargo-Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, which was conducted August 14-21, 2013 by telephone. The sampling for the Index included 1,018 investors randomly selected from across the country with a margin of sampling error is +/- three percentage points. For this study, the American investor is defined as any person who is head of a household or a spouse in any household with total savings and investments of $10,000 or more. About two in five American households have at least $10,000 in savings and investments. The sample size is comprised of 73% non-retired and 27% retirees. Of total respondents, 58% had reported annual income of less than $90,000 and 42% of $90,000 or more. The Wells-Fargo Gallup Investor and Retirement Index is an enhanced version of Gallup’s Index of Investor Optimism that provides its historical data. The median age of the non-retired investor is 48 and the retiree is 69.

The Index had a baseline score of 124 when it was established in October 1996. It peaked at 178 in January 2000, at the height of the dot-com boom, and hit a low of negative 64 in February 2009.

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