Wealthiest investors worried about economy

Four out of five millionaires are concerned about the prolonged economic downturn, compared to 70 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to new research from Spectrum Group. Eighty-one percent of affluent investors, whose net worth is between $100,000 and $1 million, also cited the economy as their top concern, compared to 74 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

Only high net worth investors, with at least $5 million in assets, didn't list the slow pace of the recovery as their chief concern. Instead, the national debt, cited by 82 percent of the wealthiest investors, and the contentious political environment, listed by 80 percent, beat out the lackluster economy.

Even so, the economy came in third, with 77 percent of ultra-high net worth investors naming it as a concern, up from 69 percent a year ago.

"With the unemployment rate remaining high, the continuing volatility in the stock market and gasoline prices, and a high-stakes presidential election looming, wealthy investors are anxious about the country's outlook," says George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group. "You can expect a strong turnout among these voters."

Wealthy investors also expressed concern about their own financial position and worried about having enough money for retirement, and 70 percent of ultra-high net worth investors worried about tax increases. Sixty-five percent of millionaire investors and 64 percent of affluent investors also worried about tax increases.

These concerns haven’t translated into major investment changes, the report found. Just 40 percent of the wealthiest, 28 percent of millionaires and 25 percent of affluent investors are making investment changes because of possible tax increases.

“Overall, wealthy investors are more confident about their own finances, with roughly half optimistic that their personal financial situation will improve in 2012, said Walper.

In the first quarter of 2012, Spectrum Group conducted a survey of wealthy investors about a variety of topics. It surveyed 1,319 mass affluent, 1,303 millionaire and 482 ultra-high net worth investors, with a focus on investment attitudes and behaviors.

Spectrum Group is a consulting firm that specializes in the affluent and retirement markets, integrating proprietary research with expertise in building business, marketing and merger and acquisition strategies.


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