The mind is a powerful tool. It can protect, justify, trick and even make good things happen by its sheer will. A good example is the placebo effect, a biology-based phenomenon with proven positive results.1
But there are limits to what a positive mindset can truly accomplish. For example, a 2016 survey by asset manager Schroders found that American investors may be expecting unrealistically high returns. The average stock market yield globally is 3.8 percent, but investors over the age of 35 think they can achieve 8.4 percent. Millennials are even further off the average mark, anticipating returns of 10.2 percent.2
Simply believing your investments will pay off won’t make it happen. As financial advisors, we’re here to help you analyze your personal financial situation and create strategies utilizing a variety of investment and insurance products that can help you work toward your financial goals.
The positive outlook consumers have developed after the recession could be a good sign for our nation’s spending and continued economic rise. However, this optimism can actually be a negative factor if it leads to an irrational confidence in investment choices.3
According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, even after the volatile swings of this year’s first quarter, investor optimism regarding the stock market was pretty high. Most investors (81 percent) said they “rode out” the volatility and did not make changes to investments, while only 4 percent reported selling stocks in response to market changes.4
That’s a good sign, because doing nothing can be one of the most difficult actions when an investment starts losing money. Human nature is hard-wired to fight or flee; people may want to liquidate for cash, trade for something better or just blame somebody. Part of that is fueled by the enormous amount of information available to investors, which makes it seem like there’s always somewhere else we can go for higher returns. But studies show that investors who overtrade tend to earn mediocre returns once all of those transaction costs are factored in.5
Every year, the Employee Benefit Research Institute conducts a Retirement Confidence Survey to gauge how confident Americans feel about their retirement income prospects. In 2016, the survey found that only 28 percent lack confidence in their financial preparations for retirement, with 28 percent feeling very confident and 43 percent somewhat confident. Among retirees, the survey found that 39 percent are very confident (up from 18 percent in 2013) that they have enough money for a comfortable retirement.6
Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.
1 NPR. Jan. 26, 2016. “How Meditation, Placebos and Virtual Reality Help Power ‘Mind Over Body’.” http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/26/464372009/how-meditation-placebos-and-virtual-reality-help-power-mind-over-body. Accessed July 8, 2016.
2 Suzanne Woolley. Bloomberg. June 16, 2016. “Wanted: Big Returns, Low Risk. (And Millennials? They Want 10.2%).” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-16/wanted-big-returns-low-risk-and-millennials-they-want-10-2. Accessed July 8, 2016.
3 Shreenivas Kunte. CFA Institute. April 21, 2016. “The Behavioral Continuum: What’s the Best Behavioral Bias?” https://blogs.cfainstitute.org/investor/2016/04/21/the-behavioral-continuum-whats-the-best-behavioral-bias/. Accessed July 8, 2016.
4 Wells Fargo. March 10, 2016. “Wells Fargo/Gallup: Stock Market Jitters Drive Investor Confidence Down; Majority Ride out the Volatility.” https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/press/2016/gallup-stock-market-jitters_0310/. Accessed July 8, 2016.
5 Fidelity International. December 2014. “Behavioural finance: Overconfidence.” http://www.fidelity.com.au/insights-centre/education/behavioural-finance-overconfidence/. Accessed July 8, 2016.
6 EBRI. March 2016. “The 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey: Worker Confidence Stable, Retiree Confidence Continues to Increase.” https://www.ebri.org/pdf/surveys/rcs/2016/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf. Accessed July 8, 2016.
This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic financial planning strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. All investments are subject to risk including the complete loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
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