What Are Rich People Worried About?

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Take a guess: What's bugging affluent Americans -- defined as households with more than $500,000 in investable assets -- these days?

First, let's digress for a brief, snarky sidebar: "Oh nooo, the Sunburst Yellow Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster is still in the shop and I misplaced the keys to the Morning Frost White one!" Or, "This recession is really hitting close to home ... the neighbors had to cancel one of their four country club memberships." And, of course, this familiar Wall Street executive-suite refrain: "How exactly do they expect us to survive with just a six-figure bonus this year!?"

Sour grapes aside, here's how rich folks really feel about the state of the economy, according to the latest Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index. Based on a poll of 250 households, it appears that things may finally be looking up for the upper class.

The index is at its highest level in nearly two years. But please hold your applause. Although it's up five points since October, the index still sits at minus-10. According to the Spectrem Group, that's considered "neutral territory" -- not pull-the-kids-out-of-private-preschool dire, but not quite break-out-the-bubbly worthy, either. The Millionaire Investor Confidence Index, which reflects a more fiscally advantaged subset of the Affluent Investor subjects, expressed a slightly higher level of neutrality at minus-four, up three points from October.

What's on Mr. Howell's and his wife Lovey's minds? The economy, stupid! Actually, when asked what news story most affected their economic outlook, 32% of responders cited health-care reform, while unemployment and the economy clocked in at 11% and 10%, respectively. The political environment, stock market conditions, and housing and real estate also made the list.

Hmmm, maybe they're not so different than the rest of us after all.

What's bugging you?
What news stories most affect your economic outlook? Let us know below. And, no, you don't have to be a gabillionaire to respond.

Even if Dayana Yochim could afford an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster, she'd still have to park it on the street. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2009, at 12:30 AM, holosys wrote:

    Not particularly a religious person per se, I must confess the following quotes from two ancient manuscripts came to mind after reading your ad "Why Your Gold is Worthless" and this "you're breaking my heart" article:

    Ezekiel 7:19

    They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD's wrath. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it, for it has made them stumble into sin.

    Zechariah 9:3

    Tyre has built herself a stronghold; she has heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets.

    (For better or worse, richer or poorer, I dumped my gold at a healthy profit back when it was under $1,000 an ounce in 2008. My goal is to one day be "Oprah Winfrey" rich for all the right reasons, but at the rate the dollar is collapsing, that lofty goal is a leap of faith. I will consider myself fortunate to survive at the rate our currency is imploding.)

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2009, at 10:31 AM, mistercube wrote:

    $500,000 in investable assets won't be the definition of rich (or "affluent") for long. In fact, I can't see how $500,000 in investable assets, for say a family of four (parents, say, 55 y/o.) with both kids in college, is even remotely "rich"--unless of course the earners combined are able to stash away some $40-50k additionally each year for the next 10 years.

    For a couple to retire in their late 50's or early 60's and to expect to live out their perhaps-long lives comfortably (which means preserving capital while generating income), I'd darn sure want to be closer to $1,000,000 today at retirement, god knows what in 10, 20 years, depending on inflation.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2009, at 12:19 PM, grassrootsgal wrote:

    I am not at all focused on the rich. If they earned it honestly and aren't hurting anyone, then spend, spend, spend. Go ahead and stimulate the economy.

    What concerns me most is my fear that many average people have learned little or nothing from the recent economic events. There are news stories of folks feeling "confident" enough again to go buy that luxury car or vacation that they really cannot afford. Instant gratification and keeping up with the Jones is part of what got us into this mess and could again. A "Groundhog Day" economy.

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