Investor concerns always evolve with the changing economic landscape. But recently, the converging factors of rising health care costs and increased life expectancy have resulted in the primary worry being the financial consequences of supporting themselves in old age. And, for the first time ever, long-term care issues are more pressing than retirement.
In a recent survey of more than 2,000 affluent investors reported in UBS Investor Watch — a quarterly research publication that tracks the trends of current investor sentiment—26 percent of investors indicated their largest personal concern was affording long-term care. That was more than those who indicated their biggest worry was retirement (14 percent). And in a sweeping nod to the growing importance of this issue, younger investors, ages 25-49, reported seeing long-term care as more important than their older counterparts, ages 60 and older (33 percent vs. 18 percent).
“We’re beginning to see a major shift in what investors see as their most important personal issues,” Mike Ryan, chief investment strategist for Wealth Management Americas and Regional CIO for the United States, said as he unveiled the new report.
“The impact of growing long-term and health care costs cannot be disputed,” he concluded.
Other anxieties about the macro-environment persisted, including concerns about an increasingly intractable political situation in Washington. Seventy-six percent of investors are highly concerned about the political climate in Washington, surpassing concerns about rising health care costs (67 percent were “extremely/very worried”) and the size of U.S. national debt (66 percent were “extremely/very worried”).
Ryan commented, “We see today’s investors as adaptive creatures. In this environment, neither euphoric nor despondent, they are more pragmatic and practical. They’ve tempered return expectations, but acknowledge participating in the markets is necessary to grow wealth.”