President Donald Trump enjoys touting the stock market hitting all-time highs under his presidency. In fact, he’s tweeted about it 54 times, as recently as last week, since he entered the Oval Office.
While causation is debatable, there’s a bigger problem — nearly half of Americans aren’t benefiting from the record-breaking milestones.
In a new survey of 5,000 people, personal finance site GoBankingRates found that 43.8% of respondents answered “no” when asked if they are currently investing their money.
“Investing is the way that you secure true wealth. There’s this pervasive idea nowadays that it just takes a paycheck to achieve wealth. That’s certainly true for some individuals, but investing is how you get there. And many Americans are missing out,” said Andrew DePietro, lead financial analyst at GoBankingRates.
The survey also asked exactly how much money individuals were investing right now. The findings represent an inverted bell curve — with 29% investing more than $50,000 and 27% saying they have less than $999 exposed to the markets.
“It’s the wealthy who are already in the market. Investment choices by nature are more esoteric, more narrow, not the broader benefit that happens when you have a ton of smaller investors in the middle class on a broader level,” said DePietro. “Those are the president’s base but they’re not getting the benefit to the market.”
Of the 2,809 (56.2% of respondents) who do invest, individual stocks and bonds are the most common investment vehicle (46%) and broader mutual funds and ETFs came in a close second (44%). Those who do invest are doing so with their future in mind, with 57% of respondents saying their primary goal is to save for retirement.
“The main reason for investing is overwhelmingly retirement. That’s good in terms of responsibility, but it could also be preventing more diversity in investments, absorbing everyone’s extra money, especially among a lower-class audience,” he said.
When asking the screener question — “Are you currently investing your money?” researchers did not specifically tell respondents that investing includes retirement accounts like 401(k)s. If respondents were given that additional context, perhaps there would be a larger percentage of folks who do say they invest.
Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.
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