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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Nonsense Reporting

Read this article by Harold Gold of Marketwatch and see what's wrong with it:  "Opinion:  Baby boomers have no idea what they're doing with retirement planning."

I'll help.  The subtitle (referring to baby boomers) says "...over 80% of them have all of their money in equities." Eye popping, right?  Especially for me because I deal with baby boomers all the time; and I can tell you that, if Fidelity found that, then their study was wrong.  Period.

But, of course, headlines and sub-headlines are many times  misleading.  Later in the article, it says that Fidelity found that approximately one in ten 401(k) participants have 100% in stocks.

What is interesting to me is that it wasn't until the 6th commenter that this was pointed out.  When I first read the article and looked at the comments, I wondered if the commenters had actually read the article! I also wonder if the author proofed his own article, misread the statistics, or what?

One final point:  boomers have more than their 401(k) in retirement assets.  They have IRAs which they rolled over and taxable accounts.  Fidelity's study probably accomplished its objective of getting people to throw up their hands and say "OMG, do we need to sell, we have too much in stocks!"

The bottom line is that studies coming out of the financial services industry always need to be read with an eye to an underlying motive.

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