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We're Saving Only 16% of Our Income

NEW YORK ( BankingMyWay) -- Is 16% enough to save for college, marriage, retirement -- with some left over for the proverbial rainy day?

It better be, because that's the amount Americans are stashing away in savings every month, according to a study from the investment management firm Blackrock (BLK).

The company says that more financial consumers are looking to protect their money in an investment environment they consider to be "high risk."

"U.S. investors continue to hold a sizable percentage of their assets in low- or no-return cash investments and expect to remain in this holding pattern with no major shift out of cash over the next year," Blackrock's Global Investor Pulse Survey says. "Despite rising concerns about meeting investment goals, most investors are stuck in place with current portfolio allocations."

That's good news for banks, which are seeing big inflows of cash in savings vehicle accounts such as certificates of deposit and money market accounts.

But it's not such great news for bank investors, who are earning only 0.203% on the average one-year CD, and only 0.101% on the average money market account.

That makes it harder to save money for big life events, but even so investors are adamant about keeping investment risk at arms-length, Blackrock notes. All told, 48% of all individual investment assets are in cash, with 18% in stocks and 7% in bonds.

Half of U.S. investors in the study say the equity markets are just too risky, and roughly the same number say they "don't know" the best ways to build income through their financial investments.

That's likely why so many Americans are opting for the "sure thing" in putting so much of their money into bank savings vehicles and their notoriously low investment returns.

"[Investors] are understandably unnerved and are holding too much of their money in assets that are earning them nothing or that will lose value if interest rates rise," says Robert S. Kapito, president of BlackRock.

Additional data from Blackrock reveals why so many Americans are reluctant to bet on the stock market: They're burdened by debt and bills. In fact, the average U.S wage earner earmarks 49% of his or her take-home pay to paying bills, compared with 40% for the rest of the world.

Americans seem particularly anxious about rising health care costs, a concern that could rise give the rocky start of Obamacare this month, followed by job security and the "state of the U.S. economy," which continues to be precarious five years after the near collapse of the U.S. banking system and resulting recession.

That could explain why so many Americans are avoiding risk and keeping their cash out of harm's way.

That said, being saddled with low interest rates via CDs and money market vehicles doesn't translate to big investment returns either.

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