Many mass-affluent investors, those with $50,000 to $250,000 in investable assets, have thrown in the towel when it comes to long-term financial goals and are, therefore, more focused on short-term needs than they are on retirement.
This is according to Bank of America’s inaugural, semi-annual study, the Merrill Edge Report, based on a survey of 1,000 investors.
Sixty-three percent believe that saving for retirement or a child’s college education will only get harder in the future, 45% are more conservative with their investment decisions today than they were a year ago, and 36% consider themselves low-risk investors.
And even though 75% have a household income of more than six figures, nearly half, 45%, don’t think they will ever be wealthy.
Sixty-three percent said they are balancing both short- and long-term financial needs, and 28% have tapped into their long-term investments in the past year for such short-term needs as paying for bills or groceries (29%) or a mortgage or car loan payment (14%).
Just over half, 51%, do not have a formal financial plan, but among the 49% who do, 60% said they have successfully met the goals they had set.
The mass affluent are also very concerned about retirement, with 72% worried about rising healthcare costs, 67% concerned that their savings may not last throughout their lifetime and 58% unsure that they will be able to live the lifestyle they want in retirement. Two in five, or 41%, expect to retire later than they did a year ago.
They are worried about how economic factors will impact them, with 62% tuned into tax reform, and 60% focused on the economy.
“The mass affluent have their own set of complex and unique financial needs,” said Dean Athanasia, mass affluent and small business segment executive at BoA. “By recognizing the distinct financial challenges of these consumers, we are creating solutions and services to help them meet their financial goals.”
“Given this range of concerns, it’s no surprise the mass affluent are looking for ways to increase their confidence in meeting financial goals,” Athanasia added.
The BoA survey looked into what types of solutions would alleviate these fears, and found that 67% would like to know how federal and local regulations will impact their finances and investments. Fifty-eight percent would like to have access to a complete picture of their finances and investments in one place; 57% would like help on asset allocation; 55% would like to know more about financial markets; and 50% would like to better manage their cash flow.