Most Retail Investors Say they are Financially Better Off than Four Years Ago

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Nearly six out of 10 retail investors say they are better off financially than four years ago while roughly three out of 10 (28.4 percent) investors say their financial security remained the same, according to a new survey by The Motley Fool.

With the market up nearly 20 percent over the last four years, it makes sense that so many individual investors are better off than in 2008. Unfortunately, people who weren’t investing Foolishly can’t as easily say they weathered the storm.

Nearly six out of 10 retail investors say they are better off financially than four years ago according to the results of an survey released today by The Motley Fool—the largest community of individual investors. Roughly three out of 10 (28.4 percent) investors say their financial security remained the same and 15.4 percent say they are worse off than four years ago.

Tom Gardner, cofounder and CEO with The Motley Fool said “With the market up nearly 20 percent over the last four years, it makes sense that so many individual investors are better off than in 2008. Unfortunately, people who weren’t investing Foolishly can’t as easily say they weathered the storm. Members of The Motley Fool community have learned the value of long-term, business-focused investing and they are better off financially because of it. Any investor can put these tried and true principles to work and own their financial future.”

Investors’ Returns on their Money
When asked how much money they estimate they have made investing in publicly traded companies, four out of 10 respondents said they made between $100,000 and half a million dollars over their lifetime. The amount of money made correlated to the amount of time investing, which reflects the Foolish way of investing. For example, those who saw a return of between $500,000 and $1 million, 83 out of 100 respondents, had been investing for more than 15 years. Of those who said they’ve made less $1,000, 94 out of 100 respondents, have been at it for less than 15 years.

The Benefits of Investing
When asked about the benefits investing has provided, most investors said that they were or are able to retire when they want (43.8 percent) or that they simply enjoy making money (39.6 percent). Three out of 10 investors say they have peace of mind that their family will be taken care of when they are gone, they can pay for current living expenses, take a vacation, and make charitable donations.

Added Gardner, “Anyone who invested in the market saw great returns over the last four years, but Foolish investors have done even better. If you invested $1000 four years ago, held to today and earned the same market-beating returns as our flagship service Stock Advisor, it would be worth $1,500 today compared to just $1,200 from the S&P 500 total return index. The Motley Fool’s track record, and the track record of our members, shows that success in investing is about becoming a part owner in businesses for the long-term, and not trading tickers and hot stock tips.”

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For more information about the survey or to schedule an interview with a Motley Fool spokesperson on the survey results, contact Alison Southwick at asouthwick(at)fool.com.

Note to Editors: Results are based on online responses from 1,016 individual investors that are part of The Motley Fool investing community, September 13-17, 2012.

About The Motley Fool: Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA, by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to helping the world invest better. Every month, millions of savvy investors rely on the Motley Fool’s expertise and guidance through Fool.com, The Motley Fool book series, newspaper column, subscription investment advisory services and media appearances.

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Alison Southwick
The Motley Fool
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