Wall Street Wary: Americans Still Don't Trust the Stock Market

Wall Street Wary: Americans Still Don't Trust the Stock Market

The S&P 500 has more than doubled since 2009. So why are Americans still so stock-market shy?

A new Bankrate.com survey finds that almost three-quarters (73%) of the country remains wary of investing, with survey respondents indicating that they'd rather play it safe in liquid accounts than take a chance in the market.

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Although the most-recent financial crisis may be five years in the past, it's likely still fresh in the nation's memory. "A lot of individual investors got burned twice [in the last decade] and as a result they swore off investing," Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told CNN Money, referring to the dot-com bubble of 2000 and the Great Recession of 2008.

As a result, many Americans now prefer to pay it safe, opting to sock away money in low-risk bonds, low-interest CDs and savings accounts. Unfortunately, the strategy is unlikely to keep long-term savers on track for retirement. Investing typically offers much higher returns over the long run, and also helps to beat inflation. "Individual investors are jeopardizing their long-term financial stability over concerns about short-term volatility," McBride said.

Sure, the stock market can sometimes seem like a roller coaster—but if you're focused on saving for something far in the future (like retirement), investing in a diversified, well-balanced portfolio is often the best way to build wealth over time.

Not sure where to start? Learn the ins and outs of Investing 101—and how it can help you build your nest egg.

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