The latest Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey(TM) has just been released. This survey sheds light on wealthy American’s (defined as having more than $250,000 in investable assets) financial perceptions.
MERRILL LYNCH AFFLUENT INSIGHTS SURVEY
Examining the Values, Financial Priorities and Concerns of Affluent Americans
February 22, 2012
There are several key takeaways from this survey. Clients are rethinking strategies for later life and favoring delayed retirement over reducing their lifestyle. The decision to retire is no longer about reaching a certain age; it’s more about the clients comfort in the ability of their asset level to afford their desired lifestyle. Clients are not defining retirement as stopping to work altogether; almost three quarters of the respondents indicated they plan to work at least part time during retirement. Increasing healthcare costs continues to be the top concern, and few actually have a plan in place to address this concern. Closely following healthcare cost are concerns about our national deficit and unemployment rate.
What are the retirement topics that wealthy Americans want to discuss with their financial advisor? One section of the survey asked just that, and below were the top six responses:
- “How to financial plan for the possibility of living to be 100”
- “Managing cash flow & liquidity in retirement”
- “Balancing competing near – and long-term financial demands”
- “How they hope to live their life during their retirement years”
- “The impact of rising health care cost on retirement income”
- “Making lifestyle choices today that will improve long-term financial security”
Keep these questions in mind the next time you meet with your clients. Clients are seeking more help from their financial advisors, beyond traditional investment management services. The survey responses indicate clients want to have a plan for their future and improve their long-term financial outlook, especially amid rising concerns associated with increasing life expectancies and health care costs. Advisors are able to provide additional value and build a deeper relationship with their clients by discussing concerns and desires for retirement, and creating a plan for the future.