Some Surprising Discoveries About the Wealthiest Investors

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Approximately two-thirds of all affluent investors have an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan like a 401(k), according to a Spectrem's Millionaire Corner study.

The 2013 Asset Allocation, Product Ownership, and Perception of Providers study revealed that retirement account ownership increased significantly among the wealthiest investors.

The research examined financial product ownership among three different wealth segments: mass affluent (with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million, not including primary residence, or NIPR), millionaire (with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million NIPR), and ultra-high net worth, or UHNW (with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million NIPR).

Both the mass affluent and millionaire studies showed 66% of investors owned employer-sponsored defined contribution, or DC, plans. Among UHNW investors, it was only 60% ownership, but that was a significant increase from 2012, when only 48% of UHNW investors had such plans.

The study further segmented the investors into their level of advisor dependency, and those investors who were heavily dependent on advisors for financial decisions were less likely to have retirement accounts. For instance, among mass affluent investors, only 52% of investors who were advisor-dependent had 401(k) plans, compared with the total of 66%.

The same was true for contributory IRAs, with 41% of all mass affluent investors having such an account but only 28% of advisor-dependent investors doing so.

Age was also a factor. Among investors 54 and younger, employer-sponsored DC accounts were extremely popular, with 93% of millionaires owning them. The same was true among UHNW investors, with 92% of investors aged between 44 and 54 having DC accounts.

Forty-four percent of mass affluent, 57% of millionaires, and 67% of UHNW investors had rollover IRAs. For the UHNW investors, that was a 5% increase over 2012. The younger investor was less likely to have a rollover IRA, with only 44% of investors aged 44 and younger owning one.

The ownership range for contributory IRAs was 41$ (mass affluent) to 61% (UHNW). For Roth IRAs, the range was 38% to 49%, and UHNW investors increased their participation from 33% in 2012 to 49%.

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Millionaire Corner

Millionaire Corner is published by Spectrem Group, the premier research and consulting firm in the wealth and retirement industry.

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