About one-third of investors surveyed (35%) consider protecting retirement assets more important than increasing those assets, the survey found. Just 8% of respondents consider increasing assets more important.
“In a continued choppy market environment it’s not surprising that investors are concentrating on managing risk and protecting their nest egg. It’s also clear that the sharp downturn in 2008 remains fresh in their minds,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, senior vice president at Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.
The 2008 financial crisis may have had a particular impact on younger Americans who said they were most likely to sit on the sidelines in the next six months and move assets into more stable investments such as money markets and savings accounts. The survey found 29% of people age 18 to 34 plan to pull money out of the market, with only 11% of older Americans indicating they would take do so.
“Younger Americans have seen their parents’ retirement savings and their own retirement savings take some hits with the recent market volatility,” Schwab-Pomerantz said. “Younger Americans seem to be more risk averse than ever before. While their time horizon for retirement should be conducive to staying invested and maintaining a more moderate or even aggressive risk level, we are seeing the younger generation sway to be more conservative given what they have witnessed in the market in recent years.”