Using credit effectively is a key component of wealth asset management, but affluent investors lack or fail to implement strategies for saving, spending and debt, according to Millionaire Corner research.
Wealth asset management involves more than making good stock picks, and begins with a holistic plan that considers an investor’s life goals, investment horizon and risk tolerance. A financial plan guides investors saving, spending and borrowing choices to enable them to meet such goals as buying a house, funding retirement, or paying for a child’s college education or wedding.
Strategic use of credit can play a role in achieving these life goals while, at the same time, building wealth, yet a Millionaire Corner study completed in the third quarter of 2011 shows that few investors plan to discuss this important aspect of wealth asset management with their financial advisors. Less than 10 percent of Main Street investors – those with a net worth of $100,000 to $1 million not including primary residence – said they plan to seek credit advice from their advisor, even though they express high levels of concern about their lack of savings and levels of household debt. About one-fourth has received credit advice in the past from either their primary advisor or another financial professional.
At the same time, the wealth asset management strategies of Main Street investors appear to be compromised by high levels of debt and low levels of savings. One-fourth of Main Street investors say they are worried about the amount of debt their household has accumulated. Younger investors, those age 44 and younger, are even more concerned about their personal debt levels. (College costs are the leading cause of debt for these young investors.)
Not saving enough to meet financial goals worries 40 percent of Main Street investors ages 45 to 54, and 41 percent say they expect to delay retirement because of the current economic environment. (Many families struggle to save for retirement while paying college tuition.)
Main Street investors are more likely to seek advice concerning other aspects of wealth asset management. More than half (51 percent) have worked with their advisor or other financial professional to create an investment plan or asset allocation policy. Close to 60 percent has received advice on diversifying assets away from a concentrated position, and 57 percent has worked with a professional to select individual stocks and bonds.
Other aspects of wealth asset management include establishing a sufficient cash flow, planning for long-term care, implementing tax-advantaged strategies, exercising stock options, selecting alternative investments, establishing an estate plan and creating a giving strategy.