More than one-third of British Columbians are anxious about their investments, according to a new poll commissioned by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), released Jan. 23.
The BCSC polled over 500 B.C. investors about investment anxiety last week and found that 36 per cent say they feel "overwhelmed" when trying to make investment decisions. This anxiety has consequences, says the BCSC. The poll found that nearly two-in-five anxious investors (39 per cent) avoid reading their investment statements because doing so causes them anxiety.
Looking at barriers
"The BCSC has been looking into the barriers that keep people from doing what they should be doing when it comes to their investments," said Pamela McDonald, Director, Communications and Education at the BCSC. "We spoke to British Columbians in focus groups last year and learned anxiety is one of the main barriers they face when making investment decisions. We conducted this survey to quantify the problem and understand what would help investors overcome their anxiety."
More education needed
The poll found that investors felt their anxiety could be reduced through education. One out of every five investors (21 per cent) surveyed said that a better understanding of basic investment principles would help lift their anxiety. Investors also identified that a better understanding of investment jargon (16 per cent) and a better understanding of the products they hold (22 per cent) would alleviate anxiety.
"We're launching the next phase of our public awareness campaign this week to educate investors on the importance of investment fees, because fees are one of the investment principles that investors still don't understand," said McDonald. "We know from previous research that many B.C. investors still don't know they pay fees, let alone how much they pay. We don't want anxiety to prevent investors from having important conversations with their investment advisors about fees and how they impact investments."