All those years of nebulous returns have scared investors away from participating in a market that shows signs of improvement - a serious impairment to their retirement savings.
Reuters reports that while 80 percent of U.S. investors are currently unsure of being able to meet their post-retirement financial needs, they're also shying away from the market - and that's going to continue to have significant negative impact on their retirement plans.
In a financial meeting with reporters, John Hailer, CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management's Americas and Asia divisions, said that success in retirement is going to depend on allocating investment risk and managing it in the future.
Individual investors, he said, largely missed out on a market rally this year because they remain frightened of post-financial meltdown losses and stock value drops.
Other financial experts say that 2013 could indeed pose some hopeful times for the worldwide economy, with market uncertainty settling down by March 2013. The result, said David Rolley, portfolio manager at Boston's Loomis Sayles & Co., would be a very good chance of an increase in capital spending in America.
Despite significant cash balances, Rolley says corporations are waiting to see the outcome of the upcoming election and any action taking on the approaching "fiscal cliff," with large tax increases anticipated if the Bush-era tax cuts finally expire.
Industries including the automotive business, the housing market and the energy sector are poised to provide improved returns, he suggested.
"We are not talking a lot of duration of risk in the long end because we think there is a bear market three to six months away," he told Reuters. "We are not taking much risk on the front end because there is no income, so we are holding a lot of mid-curve securities - three- to 10-year-paper."
Commodity prices are also expected to gain value at a slow price, as the biggest investors in the sector - China - are assisted by government manipulation of their currency rates.
"Investors can expect much more modest asset appreciation going forward," said Jerry Chafkin, head of AlphaSimplex Group. "The returns that investors are going to get are less than expectations, and perhaps less than they need for their retirement."