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Stock ownership in U.S. hits highest level since 2008: Gallup

Yahoo Finance columnist Kerry Hannon breaks down why stock ownership in the U.S. is hitting its highest level since 2008 according to a poll by Gallup.

Video transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, the majority of US adults have some skin in the stock market game, that's according to a new poll from Gallup. 61% of Americans own stock, a level not seen since 2008. Stock ownership plunged after the 2007-2008 recession and remained muted, at least until now. Here to break down the data is Yahoo Finance's reporter Kerry Hannon. Good to see you, Kerry. So what's happening here? Why are we now seeing this change?

KERRY HANNON: I know. It's really quite interesting, isn't it, Rochelle? What Gallup found is-- you know, these numbers really have popped up. And there's a couple of good explanations for this. The number one reason is, you know, there are not a lot-- in the last year or so, there haven't been a lot of alternatives to investing your money, right? I mean, fixed income, CDs, money markets were at 1% or below. I mean, it was really nowhere to go. So people stayed invested. That's one reason. There just wasn't another alternative. A second reason is quite simply, I mean, employment has been quite high.

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And after the great recession when things really-- when everyone fled the market, even though we had the worst market, right, in-- you know, it was the-- the sinking market was probably the-- I think it was the worst year since 08. And in 08, everyone left the market. But this time, they stayed in because of this lack of other places to go, but also I think a lot of it was the high employment. People were continuing to work, and what that means is you have access to an employer retirement plan. So you're kind of forced to-- I mean, it's almost like automatically you continue to add to your portfolio and out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. And it really has kept people in the market.

An interesting thing is also boomers tend to be working longer, and that was a big takeaway from this study. And today, actually, Fidelity came out with a report I just saw that showed in the first quarter that the cohort of savers that were saving the most money in Fidelity's accounts were boomers. That's because they're still working, they're saving, and they're eyeing longevity, right? They have long retirements ahead of them if they were to step out now and stop saving.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Lots of great insights there to keep track of. Great stuff. Thank you so much. Yahoo Finance reporter Kerry Hannon.