Published On: April 20, 2020

Written by: Ben Atwater and Matt Malick

Each year Fidelity Investments conducts a “Millionaire Outlook,” essentially a survey of over 1,000 millionaires, defined as those who have $1,000,000 in investable assets (above and beyond retirement accounts and primary residences).  This survey is particularly interesting because it took place last summer, pre-COVID-19 crisis. 

Last summer, millionaires registered the highest ever Current Economic Confidence Index, which comprises views on the economy, the stock market, real estate values, consumer spending and business spending.  At the same time, however, millionaires gave the lowest ever response to the Future Economic Confidence Index, the same measures, but looking twelve months into the future.  As it turns out, this dichotomy was amazingly prescient. 

Millionaires may have seen a bubble brewing.  In hindsight, it certainly seems like America was underinvesting and overindulging. 

So, what was weighing on the minds of millionaires?  Again, very presciently, four of their top five concerns were health-related (#1 My weight, #2 My Health, #3 My family’s health and #5 Paying for health care). 

To further illuminate what’s working for millionaires and what is not, Fidelity broke the millionaires down into two categories, stressed and less stressed. 

Let’s look at some of the attributes of the less stressed:

  • Although health is also the top concern of less stressed millionaires, they are half as concerned about these factors as the stressed millionaire.
  • They are more concerned about the financial well-being of their families; one of their top investment goals is passing wealth to children, grandchildren and other heirs.
  • They have less income tied to fixed expenses, have less overall debt and have a higher financial literacy.  It appears that the less stressed are more frugal and less consumption oriented. 

The top three goals of millionaires, whether the stressed or less stressed variety, are maintaining household wealth, supporting lifestyle in retirement and supporting today’s lifestyle.  At the same time, millionaires identify as savers, not spenders. 

No doubt, many of us are using this time of crisis to reevaluate our priorities, whether they be health-related or financial.  It’s a great time for all of us to reexamine our expenses, savings, risk tolerance and overall goals. 

We are here to help you examine these issues in greater detail.  We welcome a broad discussion of your concerns and your goals.  Although we can’t conduct in-person meetings, we are still available to chat.  Please don’t hesitate to call or email us to check-in.  We know these are trying times, but out of crisis comes opportunity – let’s take advantage of it. 

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