Survey: 90% Want to Invest But 45% Aren’t Sure Where to Start

These days, there is certainly no shortage of investment options that consumers have. Furthermore, thanks to retail brokerages as well as mobile apps, the stock market is more acessible than ever. Nevertheless, a recent survey shows that many consumers still aren’t sure how to take advantage of these options.

According to a report by the FinTech app Stash, 90% of Americans say they want to invest in order to build long-term wealth. Unfortunately, 45% of those surveyed stated that they don’t know where to begin. In turn, only 31% of respondents reported having a taxable brokerage account, while 49% had retirement investment accounts. By comparison, 69% of consumers said they had a savings account and 83% had at least one checking account.

Despite the significant percentage of potential investors who are unsure how to begin, many others have at least some confidence in their investing knowledge. A combined total of 54% of respondents said they were either very or somewhat confident when it comes to making investment decisions (breaking down to 13% and 41% respectively). However, 45% of those who currently have 401(k)s or IRAs admitted that they don’t fully understand what they’re invested in.

Moving away from investments, elsewhere in Stash’s survey, a majority of respondents expressed “cautious optimism” about their financial futures. Of those surveyed, 70% said they were strongly or somewhat optimistic. Additionally, 38% of respondents agreed that next year will be better than this one. Interestingly, the slight majority (51%) of Americans believed that they were better off financially than their peers. On the other hand, the past few years have not been without their challenges. With that in mind, 38% of respondents reported that the pandemic negatively impacted their finances.

When asked to best describe their current financial situation, the top response from those surveyed was “I can pay my bills each month and sometimes am able to save.” This particular response was selected by 35% of respondents. Encouragingly, an additional 31% selected the phrase “I am able to pay my bills each month and consistently save.” Only 10% stated that they were unable to pay bills or save on a monthly basis.

Returning to the main topic at hand, while it’s slightly discouraging to hear that so many Americans are confused when it comes to investing, the fact that a significant number expressed a desire to learn more on the topic is notable. Additionally, as mentioned, there are now several different tools these consumers can use to not only gain education about investing but also start building up a portfolio in a relatively painless way. Even as the current market brings a bit of uncertainty and volatility that might scare off newbie investors, hopefully their interest coupled with these easy-to-use platforms will bring them around sooner rather than later.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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