Prospect of financial crisis tops fears of pre-retirees

Consumers also are more fearful of stock-market investing than of dying or of losing their job, according to the report. Consumers also are more fearful of stock-market investing than of dying or of losing their job, according to the report.

The prospect of another financial crisis is the most common fear of Americans, according to a new report.

Nationwide Financial discloses this finding in a survey conducted in collaboration with Harris Interactive. The "Fear of Financial Planning Consumer Study" polled 783 adults ages 18-plus who currently have $100K or more in investable assets. The research sought to gain further insight into the demographic groups of Gen Y Emerging Affluent, Gen X Emerging Affluent, Pre-Retiree (plan to retire in 5-10 years), Retirees and High Net Worth Investors ($250K+ investable assets).

When asked about their top fears (characterized as "afraid" or "very afraid"), 83 percent of the survey respondents cite another financial crisis, topping financial fears of 10 other scenarios. Among the other fears shared by a majority of respondents across age groups, respondents are afraid that:

Healthcare costs will become unmanageable (72 percent);

● They will be unable to finance their children's education (71 percent);

● Their savings will be insufficient to last through retirement (68 percent);

● They won’t have money to maintain their current lifestyle (64 percent); and

● They won’t have enough money to retire with the lifestyle they desire in retirement (58 percent).

The report observes, however, that a significantly lower proportion of seniors fear these scenarios than other age groups. Less than a majority, for example, fear that:

● healthcare costs for family members will become unmanageable (36 percent);

● that they will not have enough savings to cover them through the retirement years (48 percent);

● that they won't be able to maintain their current lifestyle;

● If not yet retired, that they won't be able to retire and maintain the lifestyle they want (30 percent); and

● that healthcare costs for family members will become unmanageable (55 percent).

The report adds that consumers are more afraid of sky-diving than investing in the stock market (81 percent vs. 62 percent). Yet, consumers also are more fearful of stock-market investing than of dying (58 percent) or of losing their job (37 percent). 

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