Americans Thinking of Reallocating Portfolios Following Election

The right messaging and access to advice can help retirement plan participants make the right decisions for their financial future.

Half of Americans said they are changing their investment strategy as a result of the presidential election, and 52% of working Americans are seeking more guidance on their financial strategy, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Empower Retirement and Personal Capital.

According to the survey report, “Back to (Financial) Basics: How Americans Are Responding After an Unprecedented 2020,” many respondents want to improve their financial stability. Seventy percent are saving more, 33% say they are more likely to work with financial professionals, and 25% are prioritizing saving for retirement.

Survey respondents expressed more worry than ever about various financial issues. Seventy-nine percent are more pessimistic about health care costs now than they were last year. That pessimism extends to taxes (82%), the price of higher education (81%), interest rates (80%), retirement planning (80%), the stock market trajectory (79%), Social Security (78%), the housing market (75%) and COVID-19 stimulus (72%).

Steve Jenks, chief marketing officer at Empower, says the 50% who are thinking of changing their investments would serve themselves well if they stuck with their strategies for the long term. “At Empower, what we have seen over the past year are a couple of trends that are important to highlight,” Jenks tells PLANSPONSOR. “When the pandemic first hit, we did not see a significant flight to safety. Those who were invested remained invested for the most part, and they rode out the market volatility. The retirement investor proved to be quite resilient in this respect.”

However, Jenks said, many retirement plan participants phoned the Empower call center to voice their concerns. Luckily, he says, call center representatives were able to emphasize the importance of keeping one’s eyes on the long term, and most participants did not change their portfolio allocations. “This trend has highlighted the importance of advice provided by in-person engagements,” he adds.

For those seeking guidance about their financial plans, “sponsors should help participants take advantage of advice offerings that are available to them,” Jenks says. “There is no one-size-fits-all message for employees who feel the need to make a change to their plan. Some participants may need to make a change; others may not. The important element to any change is to not act with emotion. Instead, a wiser course of action is to seek the help of a professional adviser. Every individual has different needs and should weigh those needs against whatever action they need to take.”