Risk ranks as the top factor for all investors weighing financial decisions, but it plays a significantly different role with younger investors, who are most willing to take on risk.
Investors across all sectors became increasingly conservative during the Recession and are just now returning to more moderate and aggressive stances. Investors younger than 55 joined the trend to be more conservative - but to a lesser extent than BabyBoomers and retirees - and they emerged from the Recession much more aggressive investors than their older peers.
“Younger investors see the financial crisis facing BabyBoomers entering retirement and feel they need to catch up on their own retirement goals,” said Catherine McBreen, managing director of Spectrem Group, a market research firm specializing in affluent investors. “They also feel they have time to play out market downturns.”
Half of young Millionaire investors plan to buy stocks in 2011, compared to 47 percent of BabyBoomers and 40 percent of retirees, according to the latest Spectrem Group research. Millionaires have a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, not including primary residence. Younger Millionaires are more interested than their older peers in international investments, gold, real estate investments and alternative investments, such as hedge funds and private equity funds.
Thirty-six percent of young Mass Affluent investors plan to buy stocks, compared to 21 percent of BabyBoomers and 17 percent of retirees. They are also more interested in international investments, precious metals, real estate investments and alternative products. The Mass Affluent have a net worth of $100,000 to $1 million, not including primary residence.
Generation X investors are far more likely than older peers to describe themselves as “Most Aggressive” and “Aggressive.” Most Aggressive investors seek the highest returns and are willing to place all of their investments at risk, while Aggressive investors seek high returns and are willing to place a significant portion of their investments at risk.
The tendency is strongest among younger Ultra High Net Worth Investors, those with $5 million to $25 million in net worth, not including primary residence. UHNW investors younger than 55 are more than twice as likely to call themselves Aggressive. Thirty-seven percent describe themselves that way, compared to 17 percent of BabyBoomers and 18 percent of Retirees.
Young Millionaires are four times more likely to describe themselves as Most Aggressive, and 28 percent say they are Aggressive. Only 15 percent of Millionaire BabyBoomers and 12 percent of Retirees describe themselves as Aggressive. A greater percentage of Mass Affluent investors call themselves “Most Aggressive, and they are more than twice as likely as older peers to call themselves Aggressive – 28 percent feel that way, compared to 13 percent of BabyBoomers and 7 percent of retirees.
Younger Mass Affluent investors are also more likely than older peers to consider the social responsibility, tax implications, past track record and diversity of their investments.