Investors are feeling a little edgy.
They have shifted their money into more conservative investments recently, a sign they’re having reservations about how the U.S. presidential election could affect their retirement plans, according to a new survey.
Despite last year’s strong stock market rally, nearly half of respondents have either shifted to more conservative investments (21%) or plan to make that shift (24%) over the next 12 months, according to Global Atlantic Financial Group’s “Vote for your Retirement” survey. That study, given to USA TODAY exclusively, surveyed 1,004 investors between 40 and 74 who had at least $75,000 in assets.
The upcoming election and lingering concerns of a possible recession were among the top issues posing risks to their investments, they said, according to the study. Nearly half of those surveyed believe that the party that wins the election will have an impact on their retirement strategy.
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“There’s an expectation for volatility to pick up in the stock market ahead of the election, which causes anxiety for investors, especially the closer you are to retirement,” says Paula Nelson, president of the retirement unit at Global Atlantic Financial Group.
About 12% have made adjustments to investments in anticipation of the presidential campaign.
Two out of 10 respondents, for instance, have either purchased or plan to purchase an annuity, an investment product that is primarily used as a fixed income stream for retirees.
The economy, health care and government dysfunction ranked as the top issues that investors worried would affect their retirement strategy. Women were more likely to be concerned about health care, while men were more worried about trade policies.
One-third of respondents expect “very substantial” volatility in the stock market heading into the presidential election. To be sure, confidence in the economy and stock market remained fairly high despite concerns about gyrations, according to the study.
“The closer you get to retirement, your mindset shifts and you want to guarantee what you’ve already made,” Nelson says. “Most people believe that at some point there will be a correction following this decade-long bull market. How big or how long, no one really knows.”