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American investors are worry-warts

·Lawrence Lewitinn

The vast majority of American investors are worried about taking on risk, according to a recent study from Ameriprise.

Investors fall into four general categories: risk avoiders, risk mitigators, risk managers and risk seekers, said the study of 3,000 investors between the ages of 25 and 70.

While baby boomers reported being particularly interested in minimizing risk, young people also were wary of risky investments, the survey showed.

“Your generation or your age in life stage is not the primary factor," said Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategies at Ameriprise.

Risk also didn't appear to be correlated with net worth, she explained. “We saw people at a variety of levels of assets with really a range of attitudes toward risk, so we know it isn't only about the money – it's also your feelings and your experiences," Keckler said.

But while considered prudent behavior by some, dodging investment risks comes with its own risks, such as inflation.

“If somebody has a large part of their savings mostly in a cash equivalent – something that's not going to vary, something that's not going to have much volatility – it'll be safe but it won't grow over time,” said Keckler. “They may find themselves in retirement with fewer assets to tap into and not much buying power.”

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