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Published: Sep 27, 2023 3 min read

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It's an uneasy time to be an investor. The Federal Reserve said earlier this month that it would pause interest rate hikes for the second time since March 2022. While one more hike in 2023 is in the cards, the pause brings hope that long-sticky inflation might be on its way out of the picture — which bodes well for the stock market and investing in general.

In the meantime, everyday Americans are still feeling a squeeze on their finances — and it's influencing their feelings about the economy and their investing behavior.

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Most popular investments in 2023

Personal finance company SoFi released a report recently that takes stock of investor behavior and attitudes after the first half of 2023. The company surveyed roughly 3,500 Americans and found that two-thirds of investors think the country is currently in a recession. A majority say they're lagging in achieving their investing goals too.

However, despite this arguably bleak situation, three-quarters remained bullish on their market outlook.

Here are the top five places investors have put their money through the first half of the year, along with the percentage of SoFi poll respondents who said they're invested in each category:

  1. Stocks (53.7%)
  2. Cryptocurrency (44.1%)
  3. Mutual funds (38.2%)
  4. Bonds (26.6%)
  5. Exchange-traded funds (21.1%)

Interestingly, crypto and ETFs, while two of the most popular investments, are also the two areas where investors feel they lack the most knowledge. Almost one-third of respondents said that they don't know enough about crypto nor ETFs to invest in them. Index funds and real estate also fall into this gap, with about one-quarter of respondents saying they don't know enough to invest in either.

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What different generations of investors worry about

Overall, 56% of investors said they feel that they haven't invested enough at this point in their lives. The group most concerned with falling behind is Gen X, or people ages 43 to 58. Nearly two-thirds of this generation (64%) say they haven't invested enough.

Boomers are the only generation that feels more confident than not in how much they've invested, with just under 43% of 59- to 77-year-olds concerned that they haven't done enough.

The biggest fears that investors have tend to be in the realm of not doing enough, rather than doing too much. About 30% worry about being too conservative and 38% worry about not investing enough, whereas only 14% fret about being too aggressive.

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