Half of Americans don’t invest anything at all

Photograph by Andrew Burton — Getty Images

Half of Americans don’t invest in the stock market, according to a Bankrate.com survey released Thursday, despite U.S. markets recently reaching record highs.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed who don’t invest cited a lack of money to spare as their primary reason for not doing so. Nine percent distrusted stock brokers and advisers, while another 7% said investing was too much of a risk.

“It was a little surprising, especially since we specified that also includes IRAs and 401(k)s,” Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell told USA Today of the study. “But we had two big market shocks in recent memory. The bubble burst in tech stocks around 2000, and of course the financial crisis. So part of that probably comes from mistrust of the markets and . . . people not having the funds to invest right now.”

But Bell told USA Today that it’s a mistake not to place money in stocks.

“Over the last five years, if you invested in a broad market index of U.S. stocks, you have basically doubled your money between dividends and rising stock prices,” he said. “That’s a huge opportunity for people to build wealth and security for their retirement over the long term.”

On Wednesday, the Dow closed at 17,902.51. A record high close of 18,288.63 came on March 2.

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