Majority of Young Adults Do not Invest in Retirement Accounts

February 23, 2012 ( – Seventy-three percent of Americans ages 18-34 do not currently invest in retirement accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA. 

According to a recent CouponCabin survey, nearly four-in-10 (39%) U.S. adults ages 18 and over report they don’t currently have any types of financial investments, like 401(k)s or IRA retirement accounts, mutual funds or stocks. In addition, 61% of U.S. adults said they have reservations about investing in the stock market. Their concerns include not having enough money to invest (32%), not trusting the stock market (26%), thinking it’s too complicated (17%) and being unsure of how to get started (11%). Those ages 18-34 were more likely to say they they don’t have any financial investments at all (55%).

Even though many U.S. adults report they don’t have financial investments, they are still keeping an eye on the market. Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults said they follow the stock market in some capacity, with one-quarter (25%) reporting they track its ups and downs at least once a week. When it comes to young adults, there was a significant difference between men and women. Fifty-nine percent of men ages 18-34 said they follow the stock market compared to 30% of women ages 18-34.

While some Americans report they are intimidated by the complexity of the market, others said if the economy were more stable they would be more likely to invest. Thirty-nine percent said they were much or somewhat more likely to invest money in the market if the economy were more stable; 46% said they weren’t any more or less likely to invest if the economy were more stable; and 15% said they were much/somewhat less likely to invest.

Regardless of apprehensions in investing in the stock market, many U.S. adults said they would be open to learning more about the process. Forty-three percent would be at least somewhat likely to consider taking a course or class to learn more about the stock market and investments.

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from February 7-9, 2012, among 2,339 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.