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September 13, 2021
Marcus by Goldman Sachs conducted a survey of over 2,000 Americans to uncover their financial habits and attitudes towards investing. Of that population, we looked at American investors, including those who are currently investing outside of their workplace retirement accounts, to uncover even more about their investing behaviors and feelings about investing.
We compared responses across generations, focusing on Millennials (age 25 – 40), Gen X (age 41 – 56), and Baby Boomers (age 57+).
Of the surveyed population, 498 respondents said they currently invest outside of workplace retirement accounts. Here’s what we found from those respondents:
When it comes to investing, people are investing their funds in a variety of ways. So, what are Americans investing in? Of those Americans currently investing outside of workplace retirement accounts:
While investment strategies are created based on individuals’ goals, tolerance for risk and investment timeframe, of those Americans currently investing outside of workplace retirement accounts, nearly half (49%) felt having a diversified portfolio is very important to their investment strategy, followed by:
ESG investing is more important to Millennials surveyed compared to other generations, while building a diversified portfolio is more important to Baby Boomers surveyed compared to other generations.
While some may choose to start investing when they enter the workforce, the age at which American investors start investing outside their workplace retirement accounts varies. Of those Americans currently investing outside of workplace retirement accounts:
The sooner the better according to those surveyed since,
To invest with confidence, it is important to have some foundational knowledge of what you are getting into. The pandemic provided an opportunity for some people to look closely at their financial know-how, and in fact of those Americans currently investing outside of workplace retirement accounts, 30% state they are spending more time learning about investing than they were before the pandemic.
So where are they getting their investing advice?
However, generations have different preferences when it comes to where they get their investing advice from, with Millennials more likely to get advice from online research, social media and podcasts.
Not only have those surveyed spent more time learning about investing than before the pandemic, but they are taking more action as well. Of those Americans currently investing outside of workplace retirement accounts, 31% state they are investing more money compared to before the pandemic, nearly one-third (32%) state they are managing their investment portfolio more often than they were before the pandemic and 21% would say they’ve taken a more aggressive investment strategy compared to before the pandemic.
The following changes were made to investment strategies during the pandemic:
Reasons why they expect to invest more in the next 6 months:
Areas they would like to invest in the next 6 months:
Of the surveyed population, 644 respondents said they currently invest in either retirement or non-retirement investment accounts. Here’s what we found from those respondents:
When deciding how to invest your funds, Americans have several options to explore, and preference seems to vary by generation when it comes to robo-advisors. Of those Americans currently investing in either retirement or non-retirement investment accounts:
However, Millennials are more likely to invest in an automated investment platform or robo-advisor, compared to other generations. One in five (21%) Millennials invest through an automated investment platform or robo-advisor, compared to 18% of Gen X and 7% of Baby Boomers.
The number of investment choices out there can be overwhelming, especially if someone is still somewhat new to investing. Of those Americans currently investing in either retirement or non-retirement investment accounts, over one-third (35%) find investing overwhelming.
According to this survey, the top three reasons attributed to why they find investing overwhelming are because:
Methodology: The Invest Survey was conducted by Marcus by Goldman Sachs in June 2021 among 2,037 Americans.
Of those Americans who think they will spend more post-pandemic:
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.