Wealthy Consumers, Business Owners Increasingly Willing to Invest

Politics, national debt and healthcare costs remain top concerns
Stock market data

Positive economic news and rising stock prices are leaving many investors bullish, as wealthy consumers and business owners say they’re increasingly likely to put money into the market, a new survey shows.

The upbeat findings come from financial services company UBS Global Wealth Management’s quarterly Investor Sentiment survey, which measured perceptions about the stock market and current investing environment. The most recent survey was given between June 3 and July 6 to 3,899 investors and business owners in 17 countries. Investors surveyed had at least $1 million in investable assets, while business owners had a minimum of $250,000 in annual revenue and at least one employee.

The study finds that U.S. investors have become more optimistic about the global economy over the last three months. Overall, 41% of U.S. investor respondents were bullish on the global economy, up from 37% in the previous quarter. Alternatively, 30% said they were pessimistic, down slightly from 31%.

That hopeful outlook has drawn many respondents toward stocks, as 37% said they plan to invest more in the market, up from 26% in the previous survey. Investors have a favorable view of U.S. stocks in particular, as 53% of respondents expressed optimism about them.

However, survey respondents did report some anxiety in a few key areas. Politics and the national debt were the top two concerns named, followed by healthcare costs.

Investors have also paid special attention to trade tensions between the U.S. and China that have ramped up in recent months. Among respondents, 50% of U.S. investors said the best way to protect their financial interests amidst the uncertainty fueled by U.S.-China relations is to have a diversified portfolio.

The U.S. investors were also more bullish than their counterparts elsewhere, with the European Union in second place — about 47% of EU respondents planned to increase their investments, a rise of 8 percentage points from the previous quarter. Globally, 51% were optimistic about the world economy and 46% of investors said they intended to invest more.

Meanwhile, members of the U.S. business community appeared even more hopeful for the economic future, with 81% of business owners saying they were optimistic about their own enterprise, up from 75% in the previous survey. Likewise, 46% said they planned to hire more workers, a significant increase from the 20% of business owners who responded that way in the previous quarter. The findings were similar to those from a recent Bank of America study that found entrepreneurs to be optimistic about their own business prospects.

The biggest concern for American business owners who took the UBS survey was healthcare costs, with 61% citing it as a worry.

Staying on top of economic trends is important if you’re planning to put your money to work in the markets. With any investment, however, there is a chance that you can lose some or all of your money so make sure you understand the basics of investing and how to minimize your risk.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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