The economy is rebounding, but most U.S. investors would still rather play it safe.

If forced to choose, most investors would seek to preserve capital rather than pursue higher returns, a survey by Natixis Global Asset Management has found.  

Almost three in four (73%) of the 750 investors polled said they would take safety over performance. Yet, almost as many (72%) would consider alternative investments if their advisor recommended them, according to the survey.

Most respondents (74%) said their advisors have discussed alternatives with them, up from 2011 and 2012, when 19% and 35%, respectively, said the same.

In the end, avoidance of risk won the day, with 36% of the respondents planning to increase their allocations to defensive assets, such as cash (36%), gold and other precious metals (28%), and real estate (28%) in the coming year. Only 28% said they plan to increase their weightings to U.S. stocks in the next 12 months, 22% expect to add to their weighting in alternative mutual funds, and 20% plan to increase their exposure to both emerging market stocks and private equity.

Overall, investors were optimistic, with the overwhelming majority (89%) expressing confidence that their current investment strategy had them on pace to meet their retirement savings goals. More than half (54%), however, did not have a financial plan, and those that did estimated they will need 62% of their pre-retirement income to live in retirement, significantly less than the 70% to 80% commonly used for planning purposes.

The survey polled 750 U.S. investors with more than $200,000 in assets. It was part of Natixis’s global survey of more than 5,650 investors in 14 countries from Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.

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