Fidelity finds 86 percent of millionaires are self-made

More than 85 percent of millionaires are self-made and their path to wealth, financial outlook and goals greatly impact their investment behaviors, according to a new Fidelity Investments report.

The fifth Fidelity Millionaire Outlook surveyed more than 1,500 people, 1,020 of those who were millionaires, about their investing attitudes and behaviors.

Millionaires’ outlook on the future financial environment is at its highest level in the survey’s history, underscored by their confidence in the stock market, the report said.

The survey used a scale where +100 is the most favorable outlook and -100 is the least favorable outlook.  The millionaires’ outlook for the future financial environment reached +39, the highest level since 2006. Despite a -29 outlook on the current financial environment, their near-term confidence is on the rise, consistently increasing by 50 percent each year since 2009.

Their confidence was driven  by positive sentiment about business and consumer spending, and their negative attitudes about the current financial environment stemmed from their lack of confidence in the value of real estate, the economy and business spending.

“One trend has held true throughout the life of this study – the millionaire investor’s outlook has been consistently pragmatic about current market conditions and pervasively optimistic about a future recovery,” said Michael R. Durbin, president of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services. “In many ways, what millionaires have been thinking and doing can be a strong indicator for financial trends, as they are often the first to jump on an opportunity in the market – as they have recently with domestic stocks.”

Domestic stocks ranked as millionaires’ number one investment choice, followed by certificates of deposit/money market accounts/cash equivalents, equity exchange traded funds, individual domestic bonds and domestic equity mutual funds, Fidelity reported. Of those investments, significantly more millionaires chose equities over fixed-income investments, the opposite investment strategy of the average investor.

According to the data, today’s millionaire is on average 61 years old with $3.05 million in assets.  Those who were born wealthy were more interested in real estate investments. Those who were self-made millionaires turned more to equities.

Thirty percent of today’s millionaires said their top financial concern is preserving their wealth, while 20 percent were focused on growing their wealth. Managing income flows in retirement, supporting the lifestyle they want in retirement and managing investments made up the remaining 50 percent, the report found.

Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.6 trillion, including managed assets of $1.6 trillion, as of June 30, 2012.


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