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In the following interview, Linda Shelby, a Merrill Edge Executive, sits down with Brendan Byrnes to discuss the most recent Bank of America Merrill Edge Report. The report is a semiannual study that puts the behaviors or mass affluent consumers into perspective. With their numbers accounting for nearly 28 million households in the United States alone, understanding the sort of massive trends that affect these individuals can have powerful implications on your investments. Understanding paradigm shifts like those discussed here are a cornerstone of Motley Fool superinvestor David Gardner's own investing strategy and are critical to his market-thrashing returns. I invite you to learn more about how he discovers his winners -- just click here now to read more.
Brendan Byrnes: Hey, folks, I'm Brendan Byrnes and I'm joined by Linda Shelby, Merrill Edge executive, today to talk about a study that Merrill Edge did on the financial priorities and concerns of mass affluent customers, which you defined as people with 50k to 250k in total household investable assets.
Linda, I think one of the things that struck me with the study was, over the past year people are actually more worried about their retirement. That's despite the fact that the Dow and the S&P 500 have both advanced up over 10%.
Why is that? Why are people planning on retiring later, even after a pretty good year, overall, for the stock market?
Linda Shelby: To your point, 56% of the people that we surveyed are pushing back their retirement later than they were expecting to, just a year ago.
What is a positive note, though, and I think could be reflective of what you've mentioned with the positive returns on the stock market, is that, while the three largest concerns continue to be rising health-care costs, with 84% having that as their primary concern, outliving their retirement funds being at 73%, and then affording the lifestyle that they want to live for retirement being at 67%, those percentages are all down from where they were just six months ago, in April.
So we are seeing that there's a bit more optimism around the ability to reach the retirement goals, while they are having to postpone it a bit, to get there.