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Impact of Stock Market Decline On 50-70 Year Old Investors

In order to determine the extent to which stock market declines over the past two years have affected 50-to-70-year-old investors, AARP surveyed a random sampling of individuals in this age group who currently own stocks, either as individual stocks, or through mutual funds or other types of investment accounts, including 401(k)s and IRAs. The survey explored the extent to which investors who lost money in stocks have altered their lifestyles, work plans, or retirement expectations as a result of their losses.

The survey found that:

  • Of the respondents who own stock, 77 percent indicate that they lost money in stocks over the past two years.
  • Of those who have lost money in stocks and have not yet retired, 21 percent have postponed retirement as a result of their losses.
  • Of investors who lost money in stocks and have already retired, 10 percent either have returned to work after retirement due to their losses or are still working due to their losses.
  • Across all respondents who have lost money in stocks, nearly 59 percent say they are budgeting their money more carefully as a result of their losses, and 30 percent have postponed making a major purchase.
  • Among investors who lost money, 43 percent think that they will be less comfortable in retirement due to their losses, and 20 percent expect to have difficulty paying for health care and prescription drugs during retirement.

From November 15 through December 5, 2002, telephone interviews were completed with a total of 1,013 individuals between ages 50 and 70 who said they own stock. All interviews were conducted by International Communications Research (ICR), a national survey research firm. The report was prepared by S. Kathi Brown of AARP Knowledge Management. Further information may be obtained from her at 202/434-6296 or from Jeff Love at 202/434-6279. (21 pages)