Do You Think Like a Wealthy Person?

You can find some interesting investor data in the Annual Insights on Wealth and Worth survey by U.S. Trust. This 2013 study, the largest of its kind, surveys more than 700 high net worth Americans.

Even if you are not part of this elite group—those surveyed had at least $3 million in investable assets—you can take a page from the results. For example:

Most built wealth by working, and consider themselves ordinary.
• Roughly two out of three surveyed grew up in middle or lower class families (even higher for the baby boomers—78%).

• Three out of four created most of their wealth, while one in four said a majority of their wealth was inherited.

• Slightly more than half—57%—do not consider themselves wealthy now.

• About two of three (65%) have broadly diversified investments. Almost half (45%) consider investment decisions a way to express their values. About half will accept lower returns to invest in companies with greater positive impact.

• Only 37% consider themselves retired.

They face the same challenges about investing and financial plans.
• Two out of three high net worth investors surveyed do not feel well-informed about the impact of tax law changes on investment returns. Almost seven out of 10 do not plan to change their investment strategy, but will just keep plugging away.

• Six out of 10 are interested in investing for growth, yet more than half (56%) said they have a substantial amount in cash and no plans to move it.

• Only 45% feel they understand their risk tolerance.

• Almost three out of four do not have a comprehensive estate plan. Yet, they say leaving an inheritance is important.

• In regard to planning, six of 10 said they have or intend to name their spouse/partner as executor for their estate. Yet, nearly half (46%) have not told the intended executor how to find and access records and information.

U.S. Trust, a division of Bank of America, has conducted this survey since 1993. The average age of those surveyed was 53. Those surveyed had $3 million or more in investable assets. (In 2013, about 2 million households in the U.S. had $3 million or more.) You can see the entire survey here.

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