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60pc high-net-worth consumers are optimistic about personal financial future: report

December 18, 2012


Sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults with a household income of more than $500,000 are satisfied with their current financial situation and 60 percent of these consumers predict that they will definitely be better off one year from now, according to a new report by Shullman Research Center.

The latest Shullman Luxury and Affluence Monthly Pulse survey found that the wealthiest consumers in the United States are most confident in their personal financial futures, but are not as optimistic about the state of the economy going forward. Also, more than half of the most-affluent consumer sample surveyed described their financial investing style as do-it-yourself.

“Wealthy consumers continue to be anxious, just like everybody would assume,” said Bob Shullman, founder/CEO of the Shullman Research Center, New York.

“Be aware that consumers have different styles,” he said. “When you’re an advertiser, you have to listen to how the customer wants to do it, not just how you want to do it.

“Be aware that there are different types of affluent investors and you need to model your business to work with them the way that they want to work.”

Data for the report was gathered Oct. 30-Nov. 9 from a sampling of 1,005 affluent Americans in three sample household income groups: $75,000 to $149,999, $250,000 to $499,999 and more than $500,000.

Survey says

The survey found that 76 percent of consumers with a household income of more than $500,000 believe that the U.S. economy is doing better or the same as it was 12 months ago.

However, the wealthiest respondents are not generally optimistic about the economy. Forty percent are optimistic or very optimistic about the economy.

On the other hand, 69 percent are very satisfied or satisfied with their current personal financial situation in comparison to 76 percent of respondents with a household income of more than $250,000.

Sixty percent of consumers with a household income of more than $500,000 said that they will definitely or most likely be better off financially this time next year.

Also, 37 percent of these respondents plan to spend a lot or slightly more over the next year. Of these, 14 percent plan to spend a lot more and 23 percent plan to spend slightly more.

Forty-four percent will spend about the same over the next year.

DIY finances

Wealthy survey respondents also shared insight on their projected financial actions.

Fifty-four percent of respondents with a household income of more than $500,000 described themselves as do-it-yourself investors.

Thirty-eight percent of these respondents generally rely on professional advisers or brokers.

During the next 12 months, 48 percent of respondents with a household income of more than $500,000 plan to make a donation to a charity or nonprofit organization.

Forty percent of these consumers plan to save for retirement.

Thirty-four percent said that they will save for a rainy day.

In addition, 24 percent of these respondents will save for college-related expenses and 20 percent will invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and hedge funds.

Respondents also shared their attitude toward financial and investment risks at this time.

Sixty percent of respondents with a household income of more than $500,000 described themselves as conservative or cautious.

Thirty-one percent of these consumers described themselves as moderate.

Four percent described themselves as aggressive.

Furthermore, 13 percent of these consumers plan to invest in money-market funds, CDs and U.S. government obligation and 10 percent plan to invest in mutual funds and ETFs.

“The people are less inclined to be dealing with advisers, who are the luxury purveyors in this situation,” Mr. Shullman said.

“There are great opportunities for the investment managers, but they need to be aware of how conservative people tend to be now,” he said. “Deal with their anxieties in just not selling something, but telling what do you need and why do you need it.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York