Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans are Unaware of How Rising Interest Rates will Impact Investment Portfolios, Edward Jones Survey Finds

Investors Should Look to 'Ladder' Fixed Income Investments for Proper Diversification in Rising Rate Environment

Aug 21, 2013, 08:58 ET from Edward Jones

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a recent survey by financial services firm Edward Jones, 63 percent of Americans don't know how rising interest rates will impact investment portfolios such as 401(k)s, IRAs and other savings platforms. In fact, a full 24 percent say they feel completely in the dark about the potential effects.

"While it's hard to know exactly where interest rates will go in the coming weeks and months, we believe over the long-term that rates will continue to rise," said Tom Kersting, Fixed Income Strategist at Edward Jones. "Fixed income is still an important part of an overall investment portfolio, but we want to remind investors that now is the time to consider buying shorter- and intermediate-term bonds, rather than just longer-term bonds. Our financial advisors are focused on making sure investors have properly laddered their fixed income investments across various maturities."

Why Interest Rates Matter

Bond prices typically move inversely to interest rates. This means that as interest rates rise, the price, or value, of bonds will decrease. Higher interest rates mean higher current income for an investor purchasing new bonds. For investors who already own a significant amount of fixed income, rising rates and corresponding falling bond values may mean lower overall portfolio value. Shorter-term bonds, while offering lower income opportunities, are less impacted by the drop in bond value seen in longer-term investments.

The survey of 1,008 Americans conducted by ORC International, gauged how well they understood the impact potential rising interest rates would have on investment portfolios.

Age and Awareness

One-third of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 replied they have "no idea" how interest rate changes will impact a portfolio. As respondents' age increased, their level of awareness increased as well with the exception of the oldest age group. One-quarter of those 65 and older also indicated they had "no idea."

Gender Breakdown

Men and women are evenly matched when it comes to respondents who, while understanding there will be some impact to portfolios, do not quite understand the specifics (40 percent and 39 percent, respectively). A division occurs among respondents who admit they "do not understand at all" what those impacts may be. While 29 percent of women admitted they do not understand the issue, just 19 percent of their male counterparts did.

Income Discrepancy

Respondents in the lowest income bracket were most likely to misunderstand the impact of rising rates, with 35 percent of Americans surveyed identifying as such. Just 13 percent of those with household incomes of $100,000 or more indicated the same.

Additional survey results are available upon request.

Editor's Note

Survey was based on 1,008 telephone and cell phone interviews of U.S. adults conducted between July 26 and July 29, 2013. The margin of error was +/-3%. 

About Edward Jones

Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work. The firm's 12,000-plus financial advisors work directly with nearly 7 million clients to understand their personal goals - from college savings to retirement - and create long-term investment solutions that emphasize a well-balanced portfolio and a buy-and-hold strategy. Edward Jones embraces the importance of building long-term, face-to-face relationships with clients, helping them to understand and make sense of the investment solutions available today.

Edward Jones, which ranked No. 8 on FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For 2013," is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones Web site is located at, and its recruiting Web site is Follow on Twitter @EdwardJones. Member SIPC.

SOURCE Edward Jones