One thing that is very helpful about working with affluent Americans is that people are always asking them about their lives. There are constant surveys asking the wealthy what they want, how they spend their money, the steps they take to manage — or not manage — their assets.
We reviewed several recent surveys of America’s wealthy, however that might be defined, and gathered some of the most pertinent results. Perhaps the most important finding: These Americans’ financial needs are not being fully met. According to the U.S. Trust Insight on Wealth and Worth, Seventy-two percent of those with $3 million in investable assets do not have a comprehensive estate plan.
So this market is still, in many ways, available to estate planners. Here are some other findings from recent surveys of the wealthy that can help advisors hone in on this cohort:
They’re not fully prepared
The same U.S Trust survey found that most wealthy respondents had not fully accounted for several key factors that could affect their retirement. These factors range from inflation to paying for elder care to having realistic expectations for the lifestyle they’ll be able to lead. Only those who were already retired were fully aware of what retirement really entailed.
They don’t feel wealthy
Fewer than half of those in the U.S. Trust survey said they felt wealthy, even though they all had at least $3 million in investable assets. Ipsos surveyed a less affluent cohort, those with annual incomes of at least $100,000, and found something very similar.
“Today’s ultra affluent by and large grew up middle class,” writes Ipsos Senior Vice President Stephen Kraus in the report accompanying the survey, “and in some ways still have a middle-class sensibility and a middle-class value orientation that’s just been intensified by the recession.”
The young affluent are getting more comfortable