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Rising health costs remain top concern of affluent

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Rising healthcare costs remain a top concern of 8 in 10 mass affluent investors, according to a new report.

Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C., released this finding in its latest “Merrill Edge Report,” a semi-annual study that explores the financial concerns, priorities and behaviors of mass affluent consumers. Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and Braun Research conducted the survey, polling a nationally representative sample of 1,013 Americans with $50,000-$250,000 in household investable assets.

The survey finds that rising healthcare expenses remain a top concern of 80 percent of mass affluent investors. This is down from 84 percent in October 2012 and 89 percent in April of 2012.

The second greatest financial concern of mass affluent consumers is ensuring that retirement assets last throughout their lifetime.  More than three quarters of those polled (76 percent) express this sentiment, up from 73 percent in October 2012, but down 83 percent in April of 2012.

More 7 in 10 (72 percent) of these investors also voice concern about the economy’s impact on their ability to meet financial goals. This is down from 75 percent in October 2012 and 80 percent in April of 2012.

Additionally, more than half (55 percent) of mass affluent respondents believe they will have less debt over the next 10 years, while 33 percent believe they will have the same amount. Most respondents (67 percent) who believe they will have less debt 10 years from now plan to accomplish this by living a more frugal lifestyle.

More than half (56 percent) of mass affluent parents, the survey adds, say they are not willing to incur debt to pay for a child’s college education. This compares to 28 percent who are willing to incur debt and 16 percent who say they are unsure.

The report goes on to note that married mass affluent couples with young children are more likely to reduce retirement savings to fund their children’s college education than those with adult children (33 percent vs. 16 percent).