Affluent Outlook decline driven by Non-Millionaires' shaken confidence in household income
After two consecutive months of gains, the Spectrem Affluent Household Outlook dipped 4.72 points in February to -4.19. The Outlook is a monthly survey of Affluent attitudes toward four financial factors that impact their daily lives.
Affluent Household Income posted the month’s biggest decline, 11.07 points for a reading of -9.51, an almost four-year low. The Commerce Department reported last week that personal income fell in January by the largest monthly decrease (3.6 percent) in two decades. Income after taxes fell by 4 percent, the largest monthly decline on record. Personal income rose in 2012 by 3.5 percent, the smallest gain in four years, while the saving rate, 3.9 percent, was the smallest since 2007.
Affluent household confidence in the Economy dropped 4.14 points to -6.95. This component had posted double-digit gains the previous two months. Household Assets declined 3.56 points to 1.41, while Company Health was basically unchanged at -1.79, a downward tick of 0.08 of a point, again, reversing two months of gains.
Our monthly survey of Affluent investor attitudes and behaviors further breaks down attitudes by Millionaire and Non-Millionaire households. The Non-Millionaire Outlook posted a precipitous drop, 16.66 points, for a reading of -14.93, a three-month low and the fourth consecutive month it has posted a negative reading. The Millionaire Outlook’s decline was less severe, 5.19 points to 6.04, the third consecutive month in positive territory.
Non-Millionaire confidence in Household Income took the biggest hit, 16.66 points to -21.84. a neat four-month low. Household Assets dropped 6.69 points to -20.20, the lowest reading in a year-and-a-half. Company Health dipped 1.08 to -9.26. This component in the Non-Millionaire Outlook has been in negative territory for eight consecutive months.
The Economy, though, while in negative territory (-8.40) gained 6.11 points in February. This is third consecutive month this component in the Non-Millionaire Outlook has increased.
Millionaire investors feel most confident in Household Assets, which posted a reading of 22, a dip of 1.04. Company Health was basically unchanged from the previous month at 5.50, an uptick of 0.65 points, but Household Income declined 5.96 points to 2.24.
The Economy component of the Millionaire Household Outlook, though, dropped 14.27 points to --5.56. This may be an indication of heightened Millionaire concern over sequestration, the government-imposed $85 billion in across the board spending cuts that took effect March 1. According to a monthly Millionaire Corner survey of Affluent investors, this ranks behind the political climate as the news story most impacting investors’ economic outlook. Millionaires are also more concerned than Affluent investors overall in news about the federal deficit.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.