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Survey: Economic Uncertainty Holds, Savings Remain A Priority

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SOURCE STA Wealth Management

Investors Uneasy About Stability in Q2, Over 80% Predict Stagnant Economy

HOUSTON, May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Emerging out of a slow economy many attributed to the brutal winter, investors ended the first quarter of the year with little confidence in the country's finances and a renewed focus on their own personal savings, according to money management company STA Wealth Management's quarterly survey. The volatility of markets coupled with sluggish wage growth and employment at a snail's pace in this year's coldest months left an alarming majority (over 80 percent) of the survey's 1,800-plus respondents expecting the economy to perform the same or worse in Q2.

"Contrary to what you may have heard, our economy's growth wasn't frozen by the weather this past winter," says Chief Strategist Lance Roberts. "People are frustrated that the economy hasn't been on a steady uptick for the last seven years and as a result of these sentiments, investor outlook continues in the negative, while keeping confidence in savings high."

Risky Business

The results of the survey indicated that there is still a significant distrust in the stability of the stock market with many still adverse to risk. A majority of participants (58 percent) felt that stocks were overvalued and a plurality (43 percent) wanted a return on their money but also wanted to avoid any major losses.  A concern that was carried over from STA Wealth Management's 2013 Q4 survey was the fear that the U.S. is headed towards an economic bubble with 23 percent still believing we were moving towards an inflated economy.

"The poor performance at the start of the year is heavily influencing how people are spending, or not spending, their money for the rest of 2014," Lance said. "They aren't seeing any light at the end of the tunnel just yet and as a consequence are holding on to their money instead of investing in the market."

The Importance of Savings

When asked to rank what personal finance decisions they would be focusing on for the rest of 2014, participants were least concerned with paying off credit card debt and contributing any additional funds to their savings.  Despite the lack of interest in adding to their savings, nearly 50 percent of survey respondents thought they were maintaining enough for retirement. 

"A lot of people understand the value of savings, even though around 80 percent of Americans don't save for retirement," continued Lance. "A key word to look for in our survey's numbers for retirement is that people think they are saving enough for their golden years.  This is an indicator of how people feel about their own savings accounts and it doesn't look too good. The public has become skittish with the highs and lows of the market and the lack of available time to save for retirement has launched investors into panic mode for savings."

In addition, if survey respondents did receive a tax refund 23 percent said they would put their check in an emergency savings fund.

The Federal Reserve

With many people concerned about the economy impacting their personal finances, survey respondents looked towards the Federal Reserve for some relief.  Forty-six percent of participants believed that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen should continue her focus on increasing real economic growth.  Second to this response, 37 percent wanted her to continue tapering the current quantitative easing (QE) program.

"What hasn't been lost on the public is the fact that the Federal Reserve's policies are failing to restart the economy," Lance said. "After years of a superficial stimulus and no results, the public is recognizing that most of the Fed's work has benefited Wall Street and not Main Street.  The hope is that tapering will continue so that a secure economy will not be a pipedream."

About STA Wealth Management
STA Wealth Management is an independent RIA, which currently manages in excess of $550 million. The firm was founded in 2004 by Lance Roberts and Michael Smith and later joined by Luke Patterson. The primary focus of the firm remains risk adjusted return investing for individual investors.

Contact: Nicolle Gallo - or (609) 915-6078

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