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Affluent Investors Retreat to the Sidelines in October

Non-Millionaires are in an especially cautious investment mindset, a Spectrem's Millionaire Corner survey of investment preferences finds.

| BY Donald Liebenson

What a difference a month fraught with gridlock and government upheaval can make. When surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner about how they would be investing in the coming month, Affluent investors said they would be retreating to the sidelines (45.75 points, a gain of 15 over the previous month, when those who responded that they would not be investing had dropped to the lowest level since March 2012).

National polls taken during the 16-day government shutdown (when our investment preferences was fielded) found confidence in the economy and the government diminished. Nearly three-quarters of investors (72 percent) in a TD Ameritrade survey said their confidence in the economy has been shaken by the government shutdown and threat of default, which was averted only at the last minute in a deal that funds the federal government through Jan. 15, 2014 and lifts the debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014.

While the TD Ameritrade survey found that most had not made adjustments to their portfolios as a result of the political impasse, it did reveal a cautiousness among investors. .

Among Affluent investors surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, intentions to invest in Stocks dropped 16 points to 24.70, the lowest reading since September 2011 and an unprecedented month-to-month drop in the more than nine years in which this investment preferences survey has been taken.

Stock Mutual Funds and Cash each dropped eight points to, respectively, 30.96 (a nine-month low) and 21.24, a five-month low.

Intention to invest in Bonds dropped five points to 5.77, a six-month low, while Bond Mutual Funds and Real Estate each dipped one point to 12.96 (another nine-month low) and 7.30, respectively.

Our monthly survey of Affluent investors breaks down investment preferences by Millionaire and Non-Millionaire households. Non-Millionaires are in an especially cautious mindset with “Not Invest” jumping 14.6 points to 61.9, a nine-month high. Stocks dropped 11.7 points to 15.4, the lowest reading since September 2011. Cash dropped 16.3 points to 11.5, a six-month low.  Bonds, Bond Mutual Funds and Real Estate each posted declines.

Fewer Millionaires said they would hold on the sidelines, although “Not invest” increased 12.7 points to 30.8, while Stocks dropped 17.5 points to 33.2, a seven-month low. Stock Mutual Funds fell 11.5 points to 39.4. Bonds and Real Estate dropped 4.2 points and 4.7 points, respectively, while intention to invest in Cash was unchanged from last month’s 30.3 points. Real estate edged up 0.7 of a point to 18.5.

Stock Mutual Funds is the one investment vehicle that remained steady, ticking upward at 0.1 of a point to 21.9

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

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.