The impact of the worst recession since the Great Depression is finally receding from the mindset of the nation’s high net-worth individuals.
That, at least, is the conclusion reached in two studies on the financial attitudes of high net-worth investors, those with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million, according to Lake Forest, Illinois-based Spectrem Group.
The firm also found this group remains concerned about gridlock in Washington, but does not see it impeding economic growth.
These results were contained in the Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index, a report which showed that the index rose to a seven-year high in May to 11 points. Another index, the Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index, also reached a five-month high at 16 points in May.
In other areas, the very affluent attributed their own efforts to their exceptional financial well-being. The study found that 96 percent of high net-worth investors claim that “hard work” was a factor in their obtaining wealth, and 94 percent credit “education.” About 88 percent said their wealth was accumulated due to “smart investing,” while 80 percent said “frugality’’ helped them get and remain wealthy.
Perhaps surprisingly, about 45 percent of high net-worth investors reported they were agreeable to paying a tax rate between 16 percent and 25 percent, while 29 percent don’t believe it should go any higher than 15 percent. About 20 percent said they were willing to accept a tax rate at 30 percent or higher.
Looking ahead, another 80 percent of high net-worth investors reported their financial situation is “better today than it was one year ago,” and 66 percent expect it will again improve one year from now.
In yet another indicator reflecting improved economic conditions, 45 percent of high net-worth investors said they are willing to assume more significant risk on a portion of their investments. This compares to only 26 percent who said they were willing to assume any risks two years ago.
At year-end 2013, the number of high net-worth households in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 1.24 million, with the continued growth in the stock market considered the main cause of the rise, according to Spectrem.
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