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Forty Percent of Americans Don't Invest...and the 60 Percent Who Do Are Making Some Big Mistakes


"Buy an index fund ... that is all you have to do."

(Image via Dan Nguyen/flickr)

Americans are flubbing investing.

Writing for Get Rich Slowly, William Cowie took a look at the financial website's recent survey of 2,000 people and the concerning results: When it comes to investments, many Americans are way tuned in at the wrong times — or tuned out altogether.

(Image via Dan Nguyen/flickr) (Image via Dan Nguyen/flickr)

Of the survey's respondents, 40 percent said they don't invest at all, while other significant portions of respondents actively supervise their investments or hire others to manage their investments.

Image via Get Rich Slowly/Business Insider Image via Get Rich Slowly/Business Insider

Cowie's four main takeaways from the survey results:

1. Over 40% of all respondents do not invest at all at the present moment.

2. Despite investing being more advantageous to the young, the highest proportion of respondents not investing were also the youngest.

3. Using index funds is not a primary investing strategy by any age group.

4. The older people get, the more active they become in their investments.

In Cowie's estimation, Americans are eschewing the best practices, so to speak, of investing.

Rather than investing young in index funds, letting compounding work its magic over time, Americans are waiting to invest until they're older, then trying to beat the market with active management.

The result: People are winding up poorer than they'd be if they'd just stuck with an index fund.

Such luminaries as Warren Buffet have famously advocated a hands-off, index fund approach, saying the best way to approach the stock market is to, "Buy an index fund, preferably over time, so you end up owning good businesses at a reasonable average price. And that is all you have to do."

How do you approach investing? Take the poll below and discuss.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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