Investors Optimistic, but Still Scarred by Great Recession
Life + Money

Investors Optimistic, but Still Scarred by Great Recession


Today’s investors are more optimistic than they’ve been since 2007, but they’re not any better off than they were five years ago, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index.

At +46, the optimism index is at its highest point since December 2007, but it remains below its 12-year, pre-recession average of just under +100. Among non-retirees investors, worries remain whether their income will grow in the future, and whether the stock market is the best place to grow their savings.

Related: Why First Time Homebuyers Should Get Their Checkbooks Ready

“Clearly, average investors have not forgotten their recession experiences,” Karen Wimbish, Wells Fargo director of retail retirement said in a statement.

More than half (56 percent) of non-retired investors do not expect their income to grow significantly higher than it is today.

While the overall combined wealth of American households hit a record high this month, it appears that individuals aren’t feeling much better off. When asked how their finances today compare to five years ago, 58 percent said they’re doing about the same, and 34 percent said they’re faring worse.

Just 37 percent of those surveyed said they are saving and investing more in recent months than they did prior to the recession, about the same percentage as two years ago, and nearly half (47 percent) said they are still feeling the effects of the recession.

Related: Investors in Denial Over Coming Fed Rate Hike

Nearly a third (29 percent) of those surveyed said they consciously avoid stocks in long-term investment accounts, with more than half of those thinking it’s better to avoid stock market risk even though they are not confident they can reach their goals without it.

These investors may have missed out on recent gains - the S&P 500 is up more than 200 percent since 2009. Analysts at Morgan Stanley predict it could gain another 50 percent in the next five years, but others have a more bearish outlook.

A full 50 percent of non-retirees and 36 percent of retirees surveyed are worried about outliving their savings.

Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: