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BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey: Day-to-Day Financial Concerns Weigh Heavy, But Americans Keep an Eye To The Future

Jun 05, 2017

New York, June 5, 2017 – The top financial concerns for Americans are day-to-day issues such as the cost of living and healthcare costs, but they are also working to address their retirement needs by moving cash into the market, according to the Global Investor Pulse survey from BlackRock (NYSE: BLK).

Retirement was cited by Americans as the most important financial priority (43%) after saving money generally (58%). In keeping with this focus on retirement and demonstrating an increased interest in investing, Americans have decreased cash allocations since BlackRock’s [election pulse] survey in November 2016.

“Americans continue to grapple with day-to-day financial concerns, but they also recognize the importance of saving for retirement,” said BlackRock President Rob Kapito. “Americans are showing an increased willingness to invest and save for the future.”

On average, cash now totals 58% of Americans’ assets, down from 67% in late 2016. Among those Americans most actively considering stepping further out of cash, the top reasons to do so are “the return is better in the long run” (34%) and “to be better prepared for retirement” (33%).

Despite improvements, Americans still hold excess cash and many are reluctant to part with it. Less than half (45%) of Americans with cash are considering deploying more of it to investments.

Americans also expressed the importance of financial guidance, with 38% stating that “having a clear understanding of the risks and returns of the investment” is a key factor that would encourage them to invest more.

Challenges Remain: Underinvestment Creates a Retirement Savings Gap

Four in 10 Americans (39%) have not started saving for retirement, with women (43%) considerably more likely than men (35%) not to be retirement savers.

The savings gap seems to be weighing on retirement confidence, with just 47% of Americans either knowing (16%) or thinking they know (31%) that they are on track to receive the income they want in retirement. Only one in three Americans (36%) are confident they will have the retirement income they need.

“Many Americans are facing a big gap in their retirement savings, but financial advice can be a key factor in helping people develop a plan and get back on track.” said Kapito. “Americans are telling us that having advice plays a key role in their financial decision-making.”

According to the BlackRock research, on average, Americans estimate that they will need about $48,700 in annual retirement income, and expect to need $437,500 in savings by the time they retire. Yet, that much in accumulated assets would fund Americans’ desired income for only about nine years – vs. the 17 years that Americans on average can expect to live past retirement age. Americans are also not keeping pace even with that inadequate savings goal: On average, they have accumulated just $55,000 for retirement, only about 13% of what they expect to need.

Use of Technology Aligns with Positive Planning Action

Using technology to monitor investments and retirement savings encourages people to take action to improve their financial futures or to adjust to a more realistic understanding of their finances, the BlackRock survey indicates. More than three quarters of Americans who are monitoring their retirement plans online have taken positive action as a result: About four in 10 (39%) have decided to spend less, 24% have increased pension contributions, and 20% have changed their income expectations for retirement. Americans who are most actively considering moving cash to investments are considerably more likely than other Americans (70%) to be interested in using technology to choose a portfolio.

“Technology is having an incredible, positive impact on Americans’ investing behavior,” said Kapito. “Not only does it give people the information and the confidence they need about their finances – it is helping them make smarter decisions.

About nine of 10 (89%) of those managing investments online say it has had a positive impact on their investing behavior; about four in 10 say that online monitoring lets them “feel like I am more in control of my money” and “reassures me about what my money is doing.”
Among those managing investments online, Millennials are more likely than any other age group to say that technology has “encouraged me to keep investing” and “I feel more confident about investing now.”

About the Global Investor Pulse Survey

BlackRock’s Global Investor Pulse Survey examines investing and attitudes and behaviors across the world.  The 2017 survey included 28,000 respondents in 18 countries.  The U.S. sample included 4,000 respondents.



Sally Lyden


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