Investor Optimism Falls, Though Survey Finds Most Investors Think ‘American Dream’ is Achievable

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Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index quarterly poll..

Retired investors’ optimism plummeted in the second quarter on concerns about the economy, and most Americans say the financial market is not a good place for ordinary investors to grow wealth, Wells Fargo reported Wednesday.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index fell by eight points to +29 in June from +37 in February, largely because of a 17-point drop in optimism among retired investors.

Non-retirees’ optimism fell only four points — +31 versus +35 in February — the quarterly poll of 1,036 American investors 18 and older found. The survey was conducted between June 27 and July 9.

Notwithstanding their ambivalence about the economy and investing, 84% of the investors surveyed said the American Dream was achievable.

For 93%, the dream included the ability to afford a home. Ninety-two percent cited living comfortably in retirement, and another 92% said it included having meaningful employment.

The least cited version of the dream, mentioned by 76% of respondents, was having a standard of living surpassing that of their parents.

Nearly nine out of 10 non-retired investors said they were optimistic they would achieve the American Dream versus 77% of retired investors.

“The American Dream remains a pretty simple concept among investors: a home, a good job and money to live on later in life,” Joe Nadreau, head of innovation and strategy at Wells Fargo Advisors, said in a statement.

“While retirement gives some investors pause, most still view the American Dream optimistically and are taking steps to realize it.”

Asked what they would do with an extra $10,000, 41% of investors said they would invest money in the markets, while 56% said they would keep it as cash or saved in a CD.

Researchers found that the conservative response tracked with 59% of all investors who said the financial market was a “fair” to “poor” place for average Americans to grow wealth, despite 2013’s historic stock market gains.

This view was held by 69% of investors with less than $100,000 in investable assets.

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