A year later, and it seems we're no more comfortable about retirement and our investments.
In a recent study, independent advisers report that half their clients doubt their ability to retire on time, and 40 percent are less optimistic about investment performance than they were in July 2009. The survey of 1,199 advisers with a total of $243 billion in assets under management was conducted by the investment firm Charles Schwab.
Perhaps in response, the advisers also report that more of their clients (47 percent) are reducing expenses this year compared to last year.
The advisers are a little more upbeat than clients about the economy: More than half (60 percent) don't believe we'll have a double-dip recession over the next six months; in fact, they think the S&P will rise during that time. U.S. large cap stocks and fixed income are two asset classes they expect to invest more in compared to January of this year, and they report high levels of interest in emerging market large cap stocks.
In the immediate term, advisers say they are helping clients mitigate the impact of the expected 2011 tax increases by converting traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, selling appreciated investments now to avoid increased capital gains taxes, and realizing capital losses to help offset capital gains.
Overall, the message for investors is still conservative, and likely will be for the near future.
How are you feeling about your investment portfolio -- are you optimistic or pessimistic about the next six months?
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