The financial crisis has taken a serious toll on millionaires, with their ranks falling 27% in 2008 from 9.2 million at the beginning of the year to 6.7 million by year-end, Spectrem Group found. That brings the total down to 2003 levels, when there were 6.2 million millionaires in the nation.
Ultra-high-net-worth households, that is, those with a net worth of$5 million or more, fell in lockstep, with their ranks declining 28% from 1.16 million to 840,000, as did affluent households, or those with a net worth of $500,000 or more. They declined 28% in 2008 from 15.7 million to 11.3 million.
America has a lot fewer millionaires than when this economic crisis began, said George H. Walper, Jr., Spectrem president. In fact, the 2008 declines to 6.7 million, which reduced the millionaire ranks by 2.5 million households, shrinks this important population close to levels seen in the last recession. The culprit is not just the stock market, which we all know has dropped precipitously, but broad declines in the asset classes available to the nations wealthiest investors.