When it comes to putting money in the stock market, more than half of the country is opting out.
According to a new survey from Bankrate, some 52% of Americans say they don’t own any stocks, even as the market has enjoyed positive returns for the last six years and counting.
The most common reason people are staying out of the market is straightforward: They say they lack the money to invest.
Yet perceptions about the complexity and riskiness of the stock market are also reason enough for people to steer clear. Roughly a fifth of people say they lack sufficient knowledge about stocks and 7% say it’s too risky. Another 9% say they don’t trust their stock brokers or advisors.
Stocks, while not necessarily appropriate for everyone, are key to building wealth. If you were to invest just $1,000 a year starting at age 25, earning 8%, you would have nearly $280,000 by the time you retired at 65. The majority of that sum (85%) would be thanks to investment returns.
Yet if you waited until you were 35 years old to do the same thing, you’d have less than half of that, at just $122,000.
“Stocks aren’t only for the rich; even if you start small, investing in stocks through mutual funds or ETFs can help you build wealth over the long term,” says Claes Bell, an analyst at Bankrate.
By putting off investing — until you completely pay off student loans, for instance, or think the market is primed for an upswing – you’re giving your money less and less time to grow.
The stock market, which gained 30% in 2013 and 11% in 2014, is up less than 1% this year.
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