With some of the immediate financial impacts of COVID-19 receding in the rearview mirror, Americans are feeling better about market conditions than they have in over a year.
According to new findings from the Q2 Quarterly Market Perceptions Study* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), less than half (48%) of Americans say they are worried about a major recession, a number that has been steadily declining recently and is down from 65% this time last year. Similarly, only a third (33%) say they are worried about the risks that market volatility can have on their retirement portfolio.
These sentiments come as the stock market hits record highs, and COVID-19 case numbers continue to decline. In fact, many report feeling more optimistic about COVID and their finances, with 63% saying they are less worried about the pandemic’s impact on their finances compared to this time last year.
But many still haven’t forgotten the drastic impacts of the pandemic, with 50% saying they are still worried about another pandemic or a new strain of COVID and its impact on their portfolios.
“As the economy and stock market continue to improve coming out of the pandemic, people are wisely taking lessons learned and applying them to their go-forward financial strategies,” said Kelly LaVigne, VP of Consumer Insights, Allianz Life.
A More Cautious Approach
The outlook isn’t all positive, as nearly three quarters (72%) say they expect the markets to be very volatile in 2021, and over a third (34%) say they are too nervous to invest right now. Those who say they are too nervous cite volatility (56%), fear of a market crash (53%), and lack of knowledge/information (53%) as their top reasons for holding back.
And while concerns over COVID continue to recede, new worries take their place. When asked about issues that may have a negative impact on their portfolios over the next six months, 58% say they are worried about rising interest rates, and 57% say they are worried about tax policy.
Through the ups and downs of the past year, the interest in products that provide a level of protection has remained strong. Currently, 64% say it is important to have some retirement savings in a financial product that provide some protection it from market risk.
“One of the most important takeaways from the last year is that nearly two-thirds (64%) say they have made positive changes to their saving and spending habits since the pandemic began,” added LaVigne. “Whether that’s refining a retirement strategy, sticking to a budget or adding a protection product to a portfolio, these are all good financial strategies to stick to as the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully becomes a thing of the past.”
*Allianz Life conducted an online survey, the 2021 Q2 Allianz Life Quarterly Market Perceptions Study, in May 2021 with a nationally representative sample of 1,005 respondents age 18+.
Allianz Life conducted an online survey, the 2020 Q2 Allianz Life Quarterly Market Perceptions Study, in August 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 1,005 respondents age 18+.