Nationwide Survey: Americans Are More Fearful of the Stock Market Than of Death

Friday, 26 Jul 2013 08:05 AM

By John Morgan

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Talk about the ultimate in bearish sentiment! Americans are more scared of investing in the stock market than they are of losing their jobs, public speaking or even dying, according to a new survey from Nationwide Financial.

The results from the "Fear of Financial Planning" survey showed 62 percent the 783 potential investors surveyed are afraid of investing in stocks, more than the 58 percent who said they feared death and the 57 percent who feared public speaking.

"Even with the recent uptick in the markets, we still hear from our financial advisor clients that investors are very skittish. We wanted to dig deeper to understand their fears related to their financial security, and to help advisors address them," said Michael Spangler, president of Nationwide Funds.

Declassified:
‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth

The findings also revealed that a whopping 83 percent are fearful of another financial crisis, while 72 percent are concerned their personal health will become unmanageable and 71 percent are afraid they will not be able to afford their children's education.

Even looking further into their future, the majority of those surveyed did not see a rosy image. Specifically, 77 percent worried they would not be able to sustain an adequate retirement, and approximately 65 percent feared they may never be able to retire.

The Nationwide survey found that non-retired respondents were more likely to use websites than investment professionals as their primary financial planning resource.

"Too often we see investors set up a 401(k) or savings account and assume they have a financial plan," Spangler said. "The reality of planning is much, much more complex than that."

Americans may be gloomy, but some leading Wall Street firms are much more optimistic about the stock market, according to The Wall Street Journal.

On average, Wall Street strategists believe the Standard & Poor's 500 will end 2013 at 1,658, according to research firm Birinyi Associates, The Journal reported.

The Journal said Capital Economics, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are among those that have issued more bullish forecasts in recent months. The S&P 500 is up about 18 percent this year, and nearly hit the 1,700 mark earlier this week.

The bearish results of the Nationwide survey actually could be viewed as positive in some quarters. Market sentiment is sometimes considered a contrarian indicator by stock professionals. By that token, if Americans are more fearful of the stock market than they are of dying, contrarian investors would take that to mean that stocks may be headed up from here.

Declassified: ‘Financial War’ Could Wipe Out 50% of Your Wealth

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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