Some Surprising Discoveries About the Wealthiest Investors

Retirement account ownership grew among affluent investors in 2013, according to a study.

Jul 5, 2014 at 12:10PM


Source: Pixabay. 

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%.

How to get even more income during retirement
Social Security plays a key role in your financial security, but it's not the only way to boost your retirement income. In our brand-new free report, our retirement experts give their insight on a simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule that can help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers