A survey released last week of TD Ameritrade ( AMTD) clients found that 72% of retail investors are "extremely dissatisfied" with Congress' management of the debt ceiling issue. Nearly half (48%) called the debt ceiling debate "very" or "extremely" influential on their decision to engage in the markets. "Policy uncertainties make markets jittery, but these kinds of macro-economic uncertainties are out of retail investors' control," says Lule Demmissie, managing director of retirement at TD Ameritrade. "This is an opportunity for retail investors to evaluate their investment portfolios and make sure they are diversified in line with their current risk tolerance and investment objectives." "Stay focused on long-term investment strategies and avoid short-term reactions that are motivated purely by fear," he adds. Keep saving, invest wisely
Bob Phillips, managing Partner at Indianapolis-based Spectrum Management Group, fears the focus on the debt ceiling debate may have diverted attention from the broader economic dangers that exist globally. Even once the debt ceiling is resolved, the U.S. faces a staggering debt and spending problem, as well as uncertainty over taxes and regulatory efforts. And all this comes amid the backdrop of the European debt crisis. "The government debt problem is a universal problem around the world," he says. "The debt ceiling is kind of the symptom; the real problem is the underlying fundamentals of the economy." Phillips points out that in many of the recent conference calls that accompanied earnings reports, numerous CEOs and CFOs said they are not making business moves due to Washington's uncertainty.