Investment Research Survey results
Young investors use online apps, older investors shun cryptocurrency, and more people of all ages say they would turn to the internet instead of seeking a professional to learn about investing
Although these findings may not shock you, some of the details might raise an eyebrow or two.
Just for fun, Insurist decided recently to sponsor a series of online surveys on a variety of topics. We’re a curious bunch — and we’re pretty sure we’re not alone — so we thought we’d share our findings with those of you who are interested.
Our first survey was about investing. First, we asked more than 1,000 adults of all ages whether they have investments. From there, we asked those who said they do have investments about their history of investing, what they invest in, whether they use a professional investment adviser, when they invest, and how they feel about their financial future.
We didn’t let those who said they do not have investments off the hook. We asked them about why they don’t invest, whether they would like to invest, where they would look for information about investing if they were so inclined, and whether they worry about their finances. We also asked them how they feel about their financial future.
Here are the highlights of what we found out.
More than two-thirds of the respondents said yes, they do invest.
Overall, approximately 70% said they have investments and about 30% said they do not. While the “yeses” and “nos” were relatively consistent across the age groups, those ages 45–60 (the largest age group of respondents) were most likely to say no (35%) and those over the age of 60 were most likely to say yes (75%).
More men than women said they invest.
While 79% of the men who took our survey said they have investments, a considerably smaller proportion of the women who responded — 61% — said they have investments. That may not come as a surprise, as women still tend to earn less than men. When asked what prevents them from investing, 52% of the female respondents said they don’t have any disposable income, compared with 47% of the male respondents who chose this as a reason. Respondents were allowed to choose multiple reasons, and 47% of the men also said they don’t know how to invest (compared with 39% of the women who chose this as a reason).
Younger respondents, and men, were more likely to say they invest on their own.
Nearly 80% of those in the youngest age group (18–29) and 67% of those in the next-to-youngest age group (30–44) said they invest on their own. Those ages 45–60 were more evenly split (48% said they invest on their own), whereas just 37% of those over 60 said they do. About two-thirds of the men said they invest on their own, while just under half of the women said they do.
Younger respondents were also more likely to use online applications to invest.
Less than 10% of the two youngest age groups said they do not use online applications when making investments, compared with 27% of those ages 45–60 and 55% of those older than 60 who do not use online investment apps.
Of the 16 possible choices, Robinhood was far and away the most commonly selected online app, especially among the youngest age group, followed by Coinbase.
Stocks were the most common type of investment.
More respondents of all ages said they invest in stocks and options (categorized as one answer) than in any of the other categories of investments. In general, mutual funds were the second most commonly selected response, particularly among the two older age groups — who were also more likely to say they invest in bonds and money market accounts when compared with the two younger age groups. As might be expected, the younger age groups were far more likely than the older ones to say they invest in cryptocurrency. Approximately one-third of the two youngest age groups said they invest in cryptocurrency, while just 15% of those ages 45–60 and only 3% of those older than 60 said they do.
Age made a difference when asked “when” they invest.
Among the youngest respondents, more said they invest when they have extra money (54%), when they see an opportunity (44%), and when the market is down (42%). This age group was considerably more likely than any of the others to say they invest based on social media advice (11% vs. 0%–3% for the older age groups).
A larger proportion of the youngest age group (42%) chose “when the market is down” than any other age group. The proportion grew consistently smaller as the groups increased in age; just 12% of those older than 60 chose this response.
Among those who were older than 60, a higher proportion (41%) said they invest when their broker or financial planner recommends it. Given that a higher proportion of this age group also said they use a professional adviser, compared with the other age groups, this finding wasn’t a surprise. A similar proportion of this age group (39%) said they invest when they see an opportunity.
Approximately one-third of the middle two age groups said they invest on an automated schedule. Only about one-fifth of the youngest and oldest age groups chose this response.
Gender also made a difference when asked “when” they invest.
About the same proportion of the men chose “when I have extra money” (47%) and “when I see an opportunity” (46%). One-third of the men also said they invest when the market is down.
Among the women, though, while 41% said they invest when they have extra money, considerably fewer said they invest when they see an opportunity (28%) or when the market is down (21%). That could suggest that women are less able to take advantage of investment opportunities because they don’t have the financial means to do so.
Most of the respondents with investments are optimistic about their financial future.
Overall, about half of the respondents in each age group said they are optimistic, with the youngest group having the highest percentage who responded this way (54%) and those 45–60 having the lowest percentage (46%). Just 4%–8% across all age groups said they don’t feel very good about their financial future, with the remainder indicating that they “have some concerns.”
More of the men said they are optimistic as compared with the women (56% vs. 43%).
Most of those who currently don’t have investments said they would like to start investing.
The exception was those in the oldest age group, with 76% of them responding “no” to this question. In the next-oldest age group, the responses were close to even (53% said yes, and 47% said no). About two-thirds of the other two age groups said yes.
When broken down by gender, the survey revealed that while the majority of men (64%) said they would like to start investing, the women were evenly split between yes and no.
Most respondents said they would go online or ask a friend or family member for information about investing.
Among those who said they don’t have investments, the internet was the top choice in all age groups when asked how they would learn more about investing. A much higher percentage of the youngest age group chose this option as compared with the oldest age group (70% vs. 38%).
More of those in the youngest age group said they would ask a friend or family member for help as compared with those in the older groups (58% vs. 45%, 34%, and 25% as the ages increased).
Of note, just 27%–35% of any age group said they would find a financial planner, accountant or broker to help them.
More of the men said they would search online (58%) or ask a friend or family member for information (45%) when compared with the women (50% and 39%, respectively). About the same percentage of both groups said they would find a professional adviser (men, 31% and women, 30%). More of the women said they are not interested in learning more about investing (15% vs. 8% for men).
Most of those without investments worry about their finances at least some of the time.
This is not unexpected. More than half (53%) of the respondents in the 18-29 age group said they “sometimes” worry or feel anxious about their finances, and 31% of them said they feel this way “all the time.” Among those in the 30–44 age group, 47% said they worry “all the time” and 41% said “sometimes.” In the next-oldest age group (45–60), 36% worry “all the time” and 45% worry “sometimes.” Respondents in the oldest age group (over 60) were less anxious, with 22% saying they worry “all the time,” 38% saying they worry “sometimes,” 27% saying they “rarely” worry and 13% saying they “never” worry.
The male and female respondents were relatively similar in their responses to this question, with somewhat higher proportions of the women saying they worry “all the time” (36% vs. 33% for the men) or “sometimes” (47% vs. 42% for the men). A higher percentage of the men said they “rarely” worry or feel anxious about their finances (18% vs. 12% for the women).
For what it’s worth, bear in mind that 38% of the female respondents said they do not have investments (compared with 21% of the male respondents) — so nearly twice as many women as men responded to the question about how often they feel anxious about their finances.
About the survey
Survey Monkey conducted this online survey on on behalf of True Blue Life Insurance. A total of 1,078 people participated.
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