Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index (SAICI)sm joins a growing body of research that indicates renewed concerns about the economic recovery.
A Federal Reserve study released last week revealed that two-thirds of Americans saw their net worth decline during the recession. It also found that households have become more conservative, taking fewer risks with their money and wanting to save more. According to the study, about a quarter of people who were full-time heads of households said they planned to postpone retirement by two years.
Meanwhile, a consumer confidence report issued in March by The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, indicated that consumer confidence fell in March, revealing a sharp decline in expectations about the job market, income, and the overall state of the economy.
These data dovetail with Spectrem Group findings that etch a vivid portrait of affluent households whose worlds were, if not rocked, then shaken by the recession. These households were impacted dramatically. The average investor lost about 30% of his or her net worth, a significant blow both financially and emotionally.
In nearly three-quarters of households with a net worth of $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence), maintaining their current financial position is the primary personal concern. Sixty-seven percent worry about having enough money set aside for retirement, while 65 percent are concerned about the financial situation of their children or grandchildren. Fears of a catastrophic health event are also uppermost on their minds.
Nearly a third believe that they will be delaying their retirement (nearly 20 percent have had to make early withdrawals from funds intended for retirement). Since the recession, a third have worked to reduce their debt, while 28% say they have saved more in more conservative avenues as savings accounts and CDs.
Spectrem Group research finds something of a split mindset regarding risk tolerance amongst Millionaire investors. On the one hand, 53 percent believe it is more important to protect their principal rather than grow their investments, up from 34 percent in 2009. However, in 2010, 12 percent labeled themselves as Conservative investors and 70 percent called themselves Moderate, an about face from 2009, when 28 percent of Millionaire households identified themselves as Conservative investors and 58% said they were Moderate. This indicates a wary, but more hopeful attitude toward the economy, and one that dovetails with news this week that the Bloomberg Comfort Index, which measures perceptions on the state of the economy, personal finances and whether it's a good time to buy needed goods or services, rose for the first time in five weeks.