How much money does it take to feel secure?
Only 10% of Americans with $5 million to $25 million in investable assets described themselves as “very wealthy” in a recent survey by Spectrem Group, and 28% considered their wealth “moderate.”
Perhaps surprisingly, this ultra-wealthy group remains concerned about the financial well-being of their children and grandchildren, Spectrem said. One reason may be that they lack confidence in the economy.
“Most millionaires feel that the job market must improve dramatically before a sustained economic recovery can take place,” said Catherine McBreen, managing director of Spectrem Group.
Observers would have little doubt that the respondents were “very wealthy.” The U.S. Census shows that only 2.1% of American households earn an annual income of $250,000, or more. Professionals such as doctors and lawyers earn an average of $125,019 a year. In the Spectrem survey, the average pre-tax income was $448,000. Respondents were most likely to be entrepreneurs or senior corporate executives, married, white, male and over the age of 50. Nearly a third had a graduate degree. Many are retired or semi-retired, but more than 40% work 41 to 50 hours a week, while 35% work 51 or more hours a week. A significant portion who own their own businesses have no plans to retire.
Like other American home owners, this group said that the bursting housing bubble has taught them not to see their home as a stable financial asset. They rank this lesson as more significant than rethinking debt or the expertise of the financial services industry.
“Millionaires experienced significant losses on the value of their homes and are unlikely to increase the amount invested in their primary residence,” said McBreen.
Millionaires surveyed by Spectrem in January saw the average value of their homes fall by more than $50,000 since 2008. In the last year, they have increased their cash holdings and 20% have reduced their debt.