Majority of Young Adults Do Not Invest in Retirement Accounts

Seventy-three percent of Americans ages 18 to 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 to 34 were more likely to say 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 to 34 said they follow the stock market, compared to 30% of women ages 18 to 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 to 9, 2012, among 2,339 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.