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Ready or not rates are rising and investors are ready: Wells Fargo

Ready or not rates are rising. Whether it happens after this week's Fed meeting is the big question for the markets. But many investors are prepared for the first rate hike in nearly a decade, according to the latest Wells Fargo Retirement Optimism Index survey.

“Investors found a variety of ways to benefit from the low interest rate environment,” said Bob Vorlop, Head of Products and Advice at Wells Fargo Advisors (WFC). More specifically, “on the debt side, investors are still taking opportunity to lock in low rates. On the investment side, they’re trying to stay nimble…to make changes in a rising rate environment,” he added.

Wells Fargo/Gallup Investors and Retirement Optimism Index

The most common action investors anticipate making when rates rise is to buy more stocks and bonds. The survey found fewer investors plan on reducing their portfolios, but the strategy depends on the investor’s stage in life.

Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index

“Those in the retirement age are looking for income, so they’re either buying dividend paying stocks or they’re investing in bonds or other instruments that pay interest to them,” said Vorlop.

Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index

It’s not just investment strategies with rising interest rates that differ for non-retirees and retirees. “Pre-retirees are much more skeptical that Social Security is going to be a meaningful part of their retirement income equation,” said Vorlop.

Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index

The investor survey, which polled 1,006 investors from across the country, found only 26% of non-retirees expect Social Security benefits to be a major source of income when they retire compared to 42% of retirees, who say those benefits are a major source of their income.

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