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Investor Optimism Overshadows Financial Impact of 2016 Life Events, Finds Hartford Funds Survey

December 15, 2015
Radnor, PA

New data released by Hartford Funds today reveals high levels of investor optimism going into 2016, despite major life changes potentially throwing their finances off-kilter.

The survey of more than 750 U.S. investors also shows their expectations with regard to what events are most likely to impact their finances next year.

"The results from this survey clearly underscore the importance of context in financial planning. Investors’ confidence should be tied directly to tracking against their goals and having a strong understanding of how life can throw financial curveballs," said John Diehl, Senior Vice President of Strategic Markets at Hartford Funds. "Taking a more human-centric approach to investing helps advisors and investors see the big picture when it comes to life and finances."

Optimism Reigns in 2016

U.S. investors are optimistic about their financial health heading into 2016 and plan to take action in the New Year. Nearly half (44 percent) of investors anticipate that their overall financial situation will improve in 2016 and 54 percent say they are very or somewhat confident about their investments. Only 14 percent anticipate that their financial situation will worsen in 2016.

Investors under the age of 60 are highly likely to take specific actions to improve their finances in 2016. Ninety-one percent of investors between the ages of 18-44 and 89 percent between the ages of 45-59 plans on doing one of the following in 2016 to be more financially stable: pay down debt, review and adjust investments, spend less, save more and/or downsize their life.

While less likely than their younger counterparts to take a specific action to improve their finances in 2016, a full 69 percent of respondents 60 and older still plan to make a change. Older respondents were most likely to say they will review and adjust investments compared with those under 60, who identified paying down debt as their first move toward financial stability.


Unexpected Financial Burdens on the Horizon

This year presented major personal milestones for a noteworthy number of investors, and 39 percent expect to experience a significant life event in 2016. Nearly one-fifth of Americans expect to be dealing with an aging parent in 2016. Moreover, 18 percent of respondents under the age of 45 expect a parent or child to move into their home in 2016. Despite the financial implications of these and other life events, more than half (53 percent) of investors don’t expect major personal events to impact their finances in 2016.

“Nearly all major life events have financial implications,” said Bill McManus, Director of Strategic Markets, Hartford Funds. “It’s easier to plan for and reach those financial goals when we can anticipate events, such as sending a child to college. However, it’s just as important to plan for the unexpected. Advisors have a real opportunity to provide strategic direction when there’s no clear roadmap for the unknown.”


Interest Rates Take a Backseat

When it comes to what investors believe will have the greatest impact on their investments, interest rates rank relatively low despite being front and center for the market. Instead, roughly 30 percent of investors expect events around the world impacting the global economy to have the largest effect on their finances. Less than half that number (14 percent) expect interest rates to have the biggest impact on their finances in 2016. A quarter of respondents pointed to stock market volatility, while 18 percent cited economic growth and 13 percent expect the presidential election to have the biggest impact on their finances next year.

Diehl added, “Because a wide variety of events can impact a portfolio day to day or even month to month, it can be challenging to take the emotion out of investing. However, it is absolutely critical to remain as objective as possible to ensure headlines aren’t driving your investment strategy. The key is to remain focused on progress against achieving financial goals.”

The survey of 778 U.S. investors was fielded on November 12-18, 2015 by ORC International. Investors are defined as adults (18 years of age and older) with investable assets of $100,000 or more. Additional information on how to navigate client discussions, anxiety and other challenges and what the future of financial advice looks like can be found on Hartford Funds’ website.


About Hartford Funds

Founded in 1996, Hartford Funds is a leading provider of mutual funds and 529 college savings plans. Using its human-centric investing approach, Hartford Funds creates strategies and tools designed to address the needs and wants of investors. Leveraging partnerships with MIT AgeLab and leading practice management experts, Hartford Funds delivers insight into the latest demographic trends and investor behavior. Hartford Funds offers a diverse line-up of more than 45 mutual funds, primarily sub-advised by Wellington Management, designed to address the challenges investors face and includes equity, fixed-income, multi-strategy, and alternative investments. The Company has mutual fund assets under management of $71.5 billion as of September 30, 2015 (excluding assets used in certain annuity products). For more information about the fund family, visit www.hartfordfunds.com.

Media Contact:

Robin Pertusi
(212) 279-3115 x254

All investments are subject to risks, including possible loss of principal. 

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of Hartford Funds before investing. This and other information can be found in the prospectus and summary prospectus, which can be obtained by calling 888-843-7824 (retail) or 800-279-1541 (institutional). Investors should read them carefully before they invest.

Hartford Funds are underwritten and distributed by Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC. Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC is a subsidiary of The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. 

“The Hartford” is The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and its subsidiaries. Wellington Management Company, LLP is a SEC-­registered investment adviser and an independent and unaffiliated sub-adviser to Hartford Funds.

John Diehl is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors, LLC.


Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-­looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-­looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in The Hartford’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-­Q, our 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-­K and the other filings The Hartford makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

From time to time, The Hartford may use its website to disseminate material company information. Financial and other important information regarding The Hartford is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at http://ir.thehartford.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about The Hartford when you enroll your email address by visiting the "Email Alerts" section at http://ir.thehartford.com.