Young Investors More Optimistic

Young investors are more upbeat about the U.S. stock market and women and men have very different views on what they think will happen and whether Republicans or Democrats are best able to jumpstart the economy.

Young investors have a more upbeat outlook for the U.S. stock market over the next three months, and as a result they’re looking to invest more than older investors are expecting to, according to a TD Ameritrade survey.

The poll also revealed that there are clear differences between what men and women think will happen.

It may not seem very surprising that more 18- to 34-year-olds are looking to increase the amount of money they invest in the stock market compared to those 35 and older (46% vs. 20%). After all, this younger generation has more time to wait for the stock market to swing back up before they have to worry about retirement. However, their older counterparts will be more cautious considering the European debt crisis, U.S. unemployment, the still-down housing market and political uncertainty.

And the fact that they have more time is manifesting itself in more optimism; young investors are more upbeat and positive about investing conditions over the next three months. While 46% of all investors said they were optimistic, 56% of 18- to 34-year-olds were optimistic compared to 44% of the rest.

"Younger investors tend to be more optimistic because they have time on their side. As investors get closer to retirement, they tend to become more cautious, and what's going on in the economy right now has exacerbated those feelings," said Fred Tomczyk, president and chief executive officer, TD Ameritrade, in a statement. "The good news is we're seeing signs of optimism both in the results of this survey and among our clients who continue to log in and monitor their accounts at the same levels as a year ago."

More than half of investors believe the S&P 500 will be up in three months and 54% have seen or expect to see improvements in the U.S. economy during 2012.

Women investors seem to be more cautious than men, and were twice as likely (23% vs. 14%) to say that it will take at least 18 months for the U.S. economy to improve. This might be because women were slightly more likely to say that domestic unemployment has the biggest influence on market volatility.

But who can fix the economic conditions in the country? A third of respondents think neither President Obama nor a Republican nominee can jumpstart the U.S. economy. But for the rest, women seemed to think Obama was more likely, while men favored the Republican.