Top 5 Reasons for Angst Among the Wealthy

Pessimism about global economic climate and U.S. economy abounds

Wealthy Americans today are worried about the global political and economic climate and the long-term health of the U.S. economy, according to a survey by Insite Security and IBOPE Zogby International.

Insite released a white paper on Wednesday, detailing the results of a survey of some 300 U.S. high-net-worth adults on their post-recession attitudes toward the economy, politics and style of life.

The survey showed that wealthy Americans are a pessimistic lot these days:

  • HNWs do not believe the financial crisis will end soon, with 73% calling the global investing environment negative and 24% saying it is poor.
  • Investing environment aside, 94% of HNWs are worried about unrest around the world.
  • Two-fifths of respondents expressed little or no confidence that the U.S. will right its fiscal ship, and 90% had a negative view of the current global economic climate.
  • Fifty-nine percent of HNWs feel less secure since the advent of the Obama administration.
  • Thirty-eight percent consider themselves worse off today than they were last year, and nearly as many believe their personal finances will be worse off in a year’s time.

These findings have important implications for industries that service well-off Americans. For their part, HNWs are proactively trying to forestall another financial crisis, according to the white paper.

One-third of respondents said they had personally experienced a direct negative effect on their investments or businesses because of global political unrest, and nearly as many have altered plans for this reason.

 “The survey found a seismic shift in the attitudes of the wealthy and how they are living their lives, the way they travel and how they are running their businesses,” Christopher Falkenberg, president of Insite Security, said in a statement. “We have been advising our clients to carefully evaluate their travel security planning and take necessary precautions, such as curbing ostentatious purchases and being more inconspicuous when they travel.”

Global security concerns have prompted 70% of HNWs to make significant life-choice changes in order to forestall a future financial collapse, whether in their living arrangements, travel choices or investment strategies.

Take travel, for instance. Nearly 40% say they are more likely to fly private rather than commercial. As for pricey accouterments, 59% are cutting back on “flashy” purchases—Rolex watches and Hermes ties, for example—to lower their wealth profile. 

 

The survey turned up a somewhat surprising finding about the security concerns that continue to worry the wealth most. In a global media environment fed by almost daily reports of cyber-security breaches and political upheavals in many parts of the world, it is not pragmatic fears that keep them up at night. Rather, wealthy folks today are most worried about “random street crime,” “home invasion” and “mugging.”

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