NEW YORK (MainStreet) Despite record returns in the stock market and low interest rates on cash and fixed income, nearly three in four Americans are still staying away from investing in the stock market, according to recent research from Bankrate.com.
Even with market returns exceeding 30% in 2013, 73% of consumers across all age groups and income levels said they are not more inclined to invest in the stock market now.
"The wounds of the financial crisis are still fresh for individual investors," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst. "As a result, they have missed out on a market that has recovered more than the losses and has continued to set new record highs."
Consumers have been steadfast in their decision, and the findings are consistent with Bankrate.com's survey results from April 2012 and April 2013. In both of those polls, 76% of Americans said they were not more inclined to invest in stocks.
In the past, investors often got back "on the bandwagon when the market reached its highs," he said. "Americans may be avoiding the buy-high, sell-low habit seen in previous market cycles, but only because they're not buying at all," McBride said. "An overly conservative investment stance compounds the problem that so many Americans have of not saving enough for longer-range goals like retirement."
The market has continued to move higher - 21% since last year's poll and 35% since 2012 poll, but "individual investors have remained very squeamish about the stock market," he said.
By allocating their money into money market and savings accounts, consumers are only focused on low returns and conservative investments, which only compounds the problem of not saving enough to begin with, McBride said.