Mass Affluent investors are among the fastest-growing segments of the marketplace, according to Bank of America. But who are they what do their attitudes and behavior signal for the economy?
According to a new and ongoing study of investors by Spectrem Group with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence), Mass Affluent investors are on average 57-years-old and predominantly married. Just over half are still working, while nearly 40 percent are retired, with another eight percent describing themselves as semi-retired.
Thirty-percent identify their occupations as managers and educators. Nearly all Mass Affluent investors credit hard work as the primary factor in obtaining their wealth, followed by education (75 percent), frugality (71 percent). They are not overwhelming risk takers and are more likely to credit their success to smart investing (66 percent).
When it comes to making financial decisions, 38 percent overall describe themselves as Self-Directed Investors who do not consult with advisors, down slightly from last year. The youngest of these—ages 54 and under—are the most likely to describe themselves as such. Mass Affluent investors are more likely to consult with a professional for specialized needs such as retirement planning (32 percent) than they were two years ago (26 percent).
Mass Affluent investors do not view themselves as particularly poor or wealthy, but they do perceive themselves as financially better off than their parents and spouse’s parents. As the majority is still working, it is not surprising that the bulk of their income is derived primarily from salary and bonuses and investment income, including interest, dividends, capital gains, rental income and trust income, followed by retirement income, including Social Security and retirement distributions.
With this profile in mind, it is not surprising that economic issues such as a stagnant recovery, the national debt, tax increases and inflation would weigh most heavily on Mass Affluent investors, particularly baby boomers ages 55-64 who are at or nearing retirement. Retirement, too, as well as family health issues and maintaining their current financial position dominate personal concerns.
These attitudes will have a strong bearing on investing, as the Mass Affluent investor makes plans to add to their portfolios and retirement accounts. Characteristically, they will most likely take sole responsibility for rebounding from the devastating recession and get back into the markets with minimal risk.