Affluent Americans Have Money Worries Too

April 22, 2003 ( - Even the affluent are fretting about the economy these days.

Half of those surveyed by Harris Interactive said they feel less financially secure than they did a year ago, according to a Harris news release. The survey included a sampling of those with 2002 household incomes of $100,000 or more plus household assets of $250,000 or more, excluding residence and employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Their skittishness shows up in their investing decisions, according to the poll.   A third (34%) indicated they have moved assets to less-risky investments and 27% have moved assets to investments with guaranteed returns. Yet nearly a third say the market volatility hasn’t prompted them to change their spending or investment habits.

The see-sawing financial markets have also not driven many of the respondents into the waiting arms of a financial advisor with 58% reporting that market events have not affected their need for financial advice. In fact, compared to those who use an advisor for guidance, those who say they depend on a financial advisor to make most or all decisions for them are more likely to feel less secure now than they did a year ago.

Men More Likely to Be Financially Self Reliant

While more than two thirds (70%) say they interact with an advisor, about half (49%) most often rely on their own judgment when making financial decisions. Men are more likely to rely on themselves (57% compared to 37% of women). Those who say they rely on others when making financial decisions most often look to certified financial planners (19%), brokers (13%) or friends/family (11%).

Of the affluent respondents who have advisor contact, more than three times as many are advisor-guided (54%) as are advisor-dependent (17%). The advisor-guided listen to recommendations but make their own decisions. Only 2% of all those polled indicated their assets are completely in an advisor’s hands.

Among all respondents, most (70%) either have, or believe they should have, a long-term financial plan. Advisors have played a role in developing the plan for two-thirds (65%) of those with a plan. Men are much more likely than women to believe they do not need a written financial plan (40% of men, 14% of women).

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive online within the US between January 28 and February 3, 2003 among a sample of 217 adults who were the sole or joint family financial decision maker.