Postcrisis, wary investors miss out on huge returns

Personal Finance


In the last decade, the S&P 500 has rallied 200 percent, yet many Americans are less willing to invest in the market than they were before 2008 — and before $2.7 trillion in retirement accounts were erased in the financial fallout.

“When you have giant shocks to the economy it changes people’s attitudes about risk,” said Greg Ip, chief economics commentator at The Wall Street Journal.

As a result, many people are still clawing their way back to where they stood a decade ago. About 65 percent of people say they have still not fully recovered from the financial crisis, according to a survey of 2,000 adults by Betterment.

Nearly a third said they are making a concerted effort to save more today as a result of the crash, Betterment found. But of those polled, only 10 percent of total respondents invest more today than they did 10 years ago, compared with 66 percent who said they invest less.

That likely means they are falling far short when it comes to maximizing returns. The average interest rate on a savings account has remained just above zero percent, while a 60/40 stock/bond portfolio has returned about 8 percent over the last 10 years.



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