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Presidential Election Triggered a Flight to Cash

October 18, 2016

Most Americans are worried about how the U.S. presidential election will impact their finances, with many retreating to cash over the past year, according to a recent survey by asset manager BlackRock.

Three-quarters of Americans believe the election will have a bigger impact on their finances than the election in 2008, the last time an incumbent wasn’t running for president, according to the survey of 1,633 Americans, including 1,440 investors.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) say the impact will be significant, and 59% say they’ll be weighing the impact on their savings and investments in deciding which way to vote, according to the survey.

Whatever the outcome, 71% of respondents believe that market volatility will rise. Meanwhile, persistent volatility has made 53% of investors increase their allocations to cash only and no other investment products over the past year, the survey found.

On the other hand, most Americans are taking a longer-term view to investing, according to BlackRock. Only one-third of respondents believe that the election presents a threat to their finances, while many more are concerned about other threats, such as cost of living (52%), healthcare costs (46%) and Social Security changes (40%), the survey found.

Meanwhile, investors working with financial advisors feel better prepared than those who are not. While 46% of Americans investing on their own feel confident about their finances, that figure rises to 71% for those who have an advisor, according to the survey. And market volatility this year has made 52% of respondents more interested in working with a professional, the survey found.

By Alex Padalka