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PART ONE
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Getting Ready
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Copyright 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc Click here for terms of use
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CHAPTER
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Why We Invest
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In this age of IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, and 529 savings plans, all of us are investors or at least we re bound to be Yet this wasn t always the case Not so long ago, Americans could be classi ed into two distinct groups On the one hand, there were workers On the other, there were investors The di erence being: The working class worked long hours and often earned little pay, while the investor class worked few hours but earned great sums The advantage the investor class had, of course, was access to capital In other words, they had money And that money worked on their behalf so they didn t have to Of course, back then, investors didn t invest because they had to They invested because they wanted to and because they could But times have changed, in all sorts of ways Today, more than 90 million Americans in more than 50 million homes representing around half of all households own shares of at least one mutual fund That means that at the very least, half of the country invests directly or indirectly in the stock and bond markets This is a far cry from just a half a century ago, when only around 6 million people invested Even as recently as 1980, less than 6 percent of American families even owned shares of a single mutual fund By 1990 that number had grown to around a quarter of all American households And by the mid- to late 1990s, more than a third of all households got into the investing game (Figure 1-1)
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Copyright 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc Click here for terms of use
PART 1
Getting Ready
Fig 1-1 Percent of US Households Owning Mutual Funds The number of Americans who invest in mutual funds has grown by leaps and bounds since the start of the 1980s Today, about half of all households have some exposure to the stock market through mutual funds
Source: Investment Company Institute
Fig 1-2 Mutual Fund Ownership by Age It s not just older investors who invest in mutual funds A large percentage of investors of all age groups invest in funds, including twenty-somethings
Age 24 or younger 25 34 35 44 45 54 55 64 65 or older
1999 28% 47% 55% 58% 50% 34%
2000 23% 49% 58% 59% 54% 32%
2001 32% 50% 60% 60% 54% 41%
2002 27% 48% 57% 59% 55% 37%
2003 27% 44% 54% 57% 59% 34%
Source: Investment Company Institute
As big as today s numbers are, they re bound to grow in the coming years, since more and more Americans are getting an early start investing Today, nearly a third of all workers age 24 or younger have money working for them in the stock or bond markets By the time we hit age 35, a majority of us invest, primarily through mutual funds and company-sponsored retirement accounts (Figure 1-2) Even low incomes aren t stopping us One out of six of us who are earning less than $25,000 a year manage, somehow, to invest a portion of our annual incomes in the stock market And a majority of all mutual fund shareholders have incomes of between $25,000 and $75,000 a year hardly Rockefeller territory (Figure 1-3)
Why We Invest
Fig 1-3 Mutual Fund Ownership by Income A large percentage of investors of all income levels invest in funds But as this chart indicates Americans tend to invest in funds aggressively once their household incomes rise above $50,000
Age $24,999 or less $25,000 $34,999 $35,000 $49,999 $50,000 $74,999 $75,000 $99,999 $100,000 or more
Source: Investment Company Institute
1999 15% 30% 49% 62% 78% 78%
2000 17% 37% 49% 66% 77% 79%
2001 21% 38% 49% 66% 78% 85%
2002 14% 36% 48% 67% 79% 82%
2003 15% 33% 41% 59% 77% 83%
Why Are We Investing
You can thank the advent of so-called self-directed retirement accounts like 401(k)s and Roth IRAs, along with the rise of low-minimum brokerage accounts and cheap online commissions all of which helped democratize Wall Street in the 1980s and 1990s for this investing boom A record 36 million of us invest through individual retirement accounts, while another 45 million of us invest through company-sponsored retirement plans These include 401(k) plans, to which private sector employees typically have access; 403(b) accounts, which are 401(k)-like accounts for nonpro t workers and teachers; and 457s, which are 401(k)-like savings plans for municipal workers Collectively, workers have around $2 trillion of their savings invested in these plans The recent rise of 529 college savings plans and the exorbitant cost of sending kids to universities is another force driving more Americans to invest Figures 1-4 and 1-5 graphically illustrate the increasing number of Americans investing in 401(k)s and the billions in assets they are investing But there s another reason why so many of us invest today: We have to We have to invest during our working years so that when we leave the workforce and no longer bring home paychecks, our investment portfolios can earn one for us Try as we might, simply putting money into a safe and comfortable bank account just won t cut it The chart in Figure 1-6 will give you an idea of which rates, applied over various periods of time, will enable you to generate enough money to meet your goals such as retirement, college education costs for your children, the purchase of a new home, etc
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