Uncertainty Registers In The Spectrem Outlook



We live in confusing times, when there is little agreement over the effects of any government decision, especially in terms of how those decisions will affect the American economy.

Will President Trump’s call for new tariffs on China have a positive impact on American business, or a negative one? Are the new tax laws beneficial to all Americans or just those in corporate offices? How will the new budget affect the daily financial lives of the citizens of the country?

This confusion appears to show itself in the March Spectrem Household Outlook, a monthly study of investor opinions regarding the state of the American economy.

After the Outlook reached a 13-year high in January, it fell (as expected) in February to a more normal level. But it fell again in March to where it was in August of 2017.

The Spectrem Household Outlook asks investors to rank four financial components in their lives in terms of how they perceive them to be progressing. In February, the overall Outlook among all investors dropped to 29.90 after streaking to 39.90 in January, which was the highest rating since February of 2005.

In March, the Outlook dropped again to 28.00, all due to the Outlook of non-Millionaire investors, who dropped their overall rating to 21.75, a decrease of more than 7 points. Millionaires, on the other hand, raised their Outlook slightly to 32.18.

The two segments agree that the Outlook for Household Income is down. Both groups dropped their Household Income Outlook by 6 points. It was the only component Millionaires rated worse for the month of March.

Here is a look at the outlook regarding each component:


16.40, down 4.8 points from 21.20 in February of 2018.

  • Non-millionaires dropped their Outlook on the Economy to 8.0, down 16 points from February and down a remarkable 30 points from January.  Millionaires, on the other hand, raised their Outlook on the Economy to 22.00, which is a recovery from a drop of 30 points from January to February.
  • A decrease in the Outlook on Economy was recorded whether investors were segmented by occupational status (working or retired) and gender. The only segment to report an improvement in Outlook over the Economy was Democrats, who still possess a significantly  lower Outlook than do Republicans (as would be expected when your party is the party in power).


55.60, up 1.2 points from 54.40 in February.

  • There is a bit of balance in the Household Assets Outlook, as Millionaires reported a 6-point increase and non-Millionaires dropped their rating by almost the same number. Non-Millionaires rated their Household Assets Outlook at 46.00, the lowest rating since last October.
  • Millionaires raised their Outlook on Household Assets to 62.00, 6 points above the February mark but still well below January’s rating of 69.11.
  • Among male investors, the Outlook for Household Assets jumped more than 6 points to 61.18, while female Outlook fell by almost 12 points to 43.75returning to more normal levels after a huge jump in January and February reached 55.68. surprisingly, Outlook for Household Assets grew among Democrats and fell among Republicans, although the Republican decrease was small.


23.60, a decrease of 6.0 points from 29.60 in February.

  • Household Income continues to be carefully monitored by investors as they reflect on how their paycheck has changed since the new tax laws have been put into effect. The drop in the overall Outlook on Income came from nearly identical drops from both Millionaires and non-Millionaires. Female investors reported a significant drop in their Outlook for their Household Income, and again, Democrats had a surprising rise in their Outlook as opposed to that of republicans.


16.40, up 2,0 points from 14.40 in February.

  • This is an Outlook component that examines the effects of the current economy on the well-being of the company for which the investor works, and the Company Health Outlook rose in March after a big decrease in February.
  • The increase in Company Health Outlook was reported by Millionaires, male investors and Republicans, and that balanced the decrease reported by females, Democrats and retired investors (a small percentage from that group).



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