Concern about the partisan political climate has decreased since last December's fiscal cliff imbroglio
In December 2012, with the White House and lawmakers unable to reach a bipartisan solution to the fiscal cliff before the mandated deadline, Affluent investors surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner said they considered the partisan political climate to be the most serious threat to achieving their financial goal at that time.
Since then, their concern over the political environment has decreased, and their focus has centered mainly on the economy. The highest percentage of these investors (24 percent) said in June that the Economy is the biggest threat to achieving their household’s financial goals. This is up from 16 percent in March, when this survey question was last asked, and 14 percent in December, and the highest percentage since September of 2011.
The May jobs report released earlier this month found that despite better than expected job gains, 12 million Americans were unemployed and that the majority of last month’s new job gains were in low-paying retail opportunities. Wages, too, were mostly stagnant, with average hourly earnings up from the previous month by just a penny.
The stock market is also increasingly seen as a serious threat by Affluent investors to achieving their financial goals. Sixteen percent so responded in June, up from 11 percent in March. The survey was taken shortly after Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s May testimony before the Joint Economic Committee that the Fed would consider tapering its bond-buying program if the economy showed signs of improvement. His remarks triggered a new round of stock market volatility.
(It was taken before Wall Street’s worst sell-off of the year following Bernanke’s comments at the Fed’s Federal Open Market meeting in which he further laid out conditions by which the central bank would wind down its stimulus policies this year).
Fourteen percent of Affluent investors said they still consider the political climate to be the most serious obstacle to achieving their financial goals, down from 26 percent last December and 17 percent last March.
Considered to be less of a threat were the Europe crisis and inflation, which dropped five percentage points and seven percentage points, respectively.
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.