According to a new study conducted and released by NFO WorldGroup, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based business research firm, the number of American millionaires is dwindling. The survey reveals an 11% decline in U.S. households with $1 million or more in investable assets to 3.3 million in June 2002, compared to 3.7 million in June 2001. This drop marks the first in more than a decade, according to NFO.
“The decline in the equity markets finally caught up with these households,” says David Thompson, director of affluent research for NFO Financial Services, a division of NFO WorldGroup. “The number of wealthy had been increasing steadily for ten years and then plateaued in 2000 and 2001.”
Thompson adds that the reason the decline in millionaires lagged other income levels is because this group tends to maintain more diversified portfolios that include a larger percentage of non-liquid assets such as real estate, giving them some cushion for loses. “But there was no holding back this past year,” he says. “There was carnage, and it took its tool.”