NATIXIS, an asset management firm ranked among the world’s largest, surveyed 8,550 individual investors with $100,000+ investable assets globally across 24 countries in March and April 2021. The study sought to understand how the global pandemic had affected individual investors’ finances and emotions in the past year. 

Their findings revealed that:

  • About 1 in 10 experienced the loss of their job or business for at least part of 2020
  • More than 20% reported the loss of household income
  • About the same number said they were forced to withdraw from their savings accounts and other assets
  • 1/5 said they had experienced a setback to their financial security.

Despite these challenges, investors recognised that Covid had affected them less than other groups. Over 70% of the respondents believe they’ve been fortunate during the pandemic. Partially, this may be a result of the positive returns on investments they all experienced, with an average of 13% above inflation. 

In spite of this, a large number of investors expressed more mixed feelings about how they managed to live through the global public health crisis. About half of those surveyed said they feel stressed, and over 40% report they are fearful and feel vulnerable. 

The above results are global averages. The responses varied depending greatly on where investors lived. While investors in Europe and the USA seemed to be more resilient and confident about the future, those in Latin America and Asia felt insecure about their finances. 

According to the survey, the investors hit the hardest by the pandemic were those in South America. Over 1/3 shared they experienced a significant setback to their financial security as a result of Covid. About the same number reported that they had lost income due to the pandemic, and 20% had to make emergency withdrawals from their retirement plan. Yet investors in Latin America are among those with the highest reported returns above inflation at 14.2 % for 2020. This number is very close to the investors who enjoyed the best performance; those in North America who reported an average of 14.9%. 

Conversely, European individual investors, with the lowest return on investment at 11.2%, seem to have been the least affected by the impacts of COVID. Only 11% said their financial security was significantly affected, and 60% said they feel assured about their finances. In contrast, 70% of investors in Latin America and Asia reported anxiety regarding their finances..

How the global pandemic affected individual investors’ finances, health, and emotions