It seems it will take more than volatile markets and a financial crisis to scare Americans away from mutual funds. Over 50 million U.S. households own mutual funds, according to the latest findings in the Investment Company Institute
's 2009 Annual Mutual Fund Shareholder Tracking Survey, released Thursday.
Adding bulk to this figure, baby boomers reportedly accounted for 46 percent of mutual fund-owning households in 2009, in addition to holding 59 percent of households' mutual fund assets.
“Mutual funds continue to be a key investment vehicle for millions of Americans who are saving for retirement or education costs, or building personal savings for emergency reserves,” stated Sarah Holden
, senior director of retirement and investor research at the ICI.
Despite the fact that most shareholders' attitudes towards mutual funds tends to mirror stock performance –- a bad omen given the markets precipitous drop in 2008 –- a majority of shareholders maintained favorable impressions of mutual funds overall. Adding an extra dose of optimism were boomers' kids, as the survey found that younger mutual fund investors maintain an even more favorable impression of mutual funds compared to older generations.
“Although last year's market performance was jarring, the majority of mutual fund investors continued to have a favorable outlook toward fund investing,” concluded John Sabelhaus
, senior economist at the ICI and co-author of the study.
Sentiment aside, a majority of respondents invested in mutual funds via employer-sponsored retirement plans and financial advisors. In addition to mutual funds, 3.0 million households owned ETFs and 1.8 million households held closed-end funds.
The annual survey, which was conducted in May 2009, drew from a sample of 4,201 U.S. households called at random via phone, of which 43 percent owned mutual funds.
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