2015 Wells Fargo Affluent Investor Survey

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1 2015 Wells Fargo Affluent Investor Survey Table of contents Overview 1 Key findings 2 Background and methodology 8 Harris Poll conducted the survey online of 1,993 affluent investors, ages who have $250,000 or more in investable assets, excluding retirement and property assets. 9 in 10 Affluent investors feel on track to reach retirement goals Overview Almost all affluent investors feel good about their overall household financial circumstances. They value saving as a top priority and have made sacrifices to get to where they are today. Additionally, nine out of 10 affluent investors are confident that they will have enough money to sustain them through their retirement years. Most affluent investors started saving for retirement in their 20s and 30s and are saving a median of $1,000 per month towards retirement. Non-retired affluent investors with $250,000 to $1 million in investable assets (excluding retirement and property values) estimate they will need $1.2 million to retire comfortably and have saved $750,000 towards that goal. Those with more than $1 million in investable assets estimate they will need $2 million and have median savings of $1.9 million. Six in 10 affluent investors currently work with a financial advisor and twothirds see their advisor as their most trusted source for financial advice. Affluent investors rely on their financial advisor especially during times of market volatility. Seven in 10 say their financial advisor is as important to them as their doctor. However, perhaps different from their relationship with their doctor, they view their relationship with their financial advisor as a collaborative partnership instead of one where the financial advisor dictates what to do with their money. The majority of affluent investors believe that leaving an inheritance is important to them and nearly three-quarters have plans in place to ensure an orderly transition of wealth to their beneficiaries. Yet, nearly a third have not taken any steps to create a wealth transfer plan. Additionally, some are uncomfortable talking to their family about their estate plan while others don t understand the complexities of transferring wealth and how to get started. Affluent investors are familiar with technology and are comfortable using it to monitor and manage their investments. They value technology as a way to enhance the services provided by their financial advisor, not as a replacement for that relationship. Only a small percentage of affluent investors were familiar with automated investment advisory services (AIAS or robo-advisors) and the majority said they never would be comfortable working with an AIAS, even if it was in conjunction with a financial advisor. While overall, affluent investors are confident about their financial health, they are not without a few regrets. Looking back ten years, the most common regret was wishing they d made better investments. The other top two regrets wishing they d saved more and spent less and wishing they d enjoyed their money more demonstrate conflicting perspectives on their accumulated wealth.

2 Key findings State of the affluent investor Nearly all (97%) affluent investors say their overall financial health is good or great. They give themselves high marks with respect to financial literacy with eight out of 10 (79%) assigning themselves a letter grade of A or B. Additionally, they view saving as a top priority (83%) and say that they have made sacrifices to get where they are today financially (83%) (see chart 1). As a result, eight out of 10 (81%) say they are prepared to weather any fluctuations in the stock market. Chart 1: Financial preparedness Saving is a top priority for me 83% 17% I ve made sacrifices to get where I am today financially I am financially prepared to weather any fluctuations in the stock market 83% 17% 81% 19% My financial situation is complex 45% 55% I feel financially squeezed 20% 80% Among all affluent investors (N=1,993) Agree Disagree Affluent investors are generally risk-averse with nearly two-thirds (61%) preferring wealth preservation over taking risks to grow their money. They have set aside a median of $35,000 to cover any potential financial emergencies. Expectations around retirement When it comes to confidence in their ability to retire comfortably, more than nine out of 10 (92%) say they are very or somewhat confident they will have enough money to sustain them through retirement (see chart 2). This is in stark contrast to confidence levels for the non-affluent, where just half (52%) are confident they can retire comfortably, and nearly a quarter (22%) of non-affluent investors are not at all confident they will have enough money to retire. Chart 2: Confidence in sustainable retirement money 6% 2% 40% 52% 10% 42% 26% 22% Very confident Somewhat confident Not very confident Not at all confident Total HNW/Affluent (N=1,993) Non-Affluent (N=1,000) 2

3 While most (89%) affluent investors say they are on track to meet their retirement goals, some still express concerns about the future. A third (33%) of affluent investors worry that they will run out of money in retirement and a similar percentage (32%) are concerned that they might be victims of elder financial abuse. Most affluent investors started saving for retirement in their 20s (41%) and 30s (32%) and are saving a median of $1,000 per month toward retirement. A third (32%) of affluent investors say the main factor preventing them from saving toward retirement goals is paying for current living expenses. Overall, non-retired affluent investors expect to need a median of $1.2 million for retirement and have saved $750,000 (see chart 3). Those with more than $1 million in investable assets estimate they will need $2 million to live comfortably in retirement and are far along to reach that goal with $1.9 million in current savings. This compares to an estimated need for $500,000 and retirement savings of just $30,000 for non-affluent investors. Chart 3: Expected retirement savings needed and current savings by asset level Investable assets (median) All affluent investors with $250,000 $1 million+ Affluent investors with $250,000 $1 million Affluent investors with $1 million+ Non-affluent investors with less than $250,000 Expected savings needed to live comfortably in retirement $1,200,000 $1,000,000 $2,000,000 $500,000 Current savings $750,000 $500,000 $1,900,000 $30,000 The median age at which affluent investors anticipate retiring is 62. More than half (62%) expect they will live 20 or more years in retirement and more than a third (35%) expect to live more than 25 years in retirement; almost half expect they will live 25 or more years in retirement. The estimated median annual withdrawal rate during retirement is 5%, yet nearly a third (28%) are unsure or can t even estimate this amount. Only a third (33%) of affluent investors have a written plan for retirement that includes a budget, a withdrawal plan that takes into account their life expectancy, or estimates of healthcare expenses in retirement. Only a third (33%) of affluent investors have a written plan for retirement 3

4 Investing and support of financial advisors Six out of 10 (61%) affluent investors currently work with a financial advisor and about two-thirds (65%) look to a financial professional as the most trusted source for financial advice (see chart 4). Further, more than seven in 10 (72%) say their financial advisor is as important to them as their doctor. Virtually all (97%) affluent investors are very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of service they receive from their financial advisor. Among those with a financial advisor, the most frequently cited reasons they would leave their financial advisor included lower investment returns than expected (44%), personality conflicts (38%), and not taking a holistic approach (31%) to their financial circumstances. 7 in 10 (72%) say their financial advisor is as important to them as their doctor Among affluent investors who do not work with a financial advisor, more than three-quarters (77%) are unwilling to pay for one. Yet, of this same group, a quarter (24%) wish they had a financial advisor to guide them with their finances. Additionally, nearly a quarter (23%) believe that they would make more Chart 5: Events that would create consideration for need of a financial advisor Change in financial status (i.e., new job/promotion, bonus, or inheritance) Chart 4: Most trusted source of financial guidance A financial professional Information on the internet Friends or family 65% money if they worked with a financial advisor. There are life events that could compel those not using a financial advisor to consider one, including a change in financial status, market volatility, or a change in personal situation (see chart 5). However, one in four (25%) say they would never consider working with a financial advisor. Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) affluent investors would like their financial advisor to be a partner in their financial planning not someone who just tells them what do to with their money. Yet, not all agree on what that partnership should look like. Affluent investors are almost evenly divided in terms of how they choose to work with their financial advisor. The majority (51%) regularly consults with their financial advisor but make most of the final decisions while 40% rely on their financial advisor to make most or all of their investment decisions (see chart 6). 22% Market volatility 19% Change in personal situation (i.e., marriage, children) 18% None of the above 34% Nothing 25% Among affluent investors who do not have a financial advisor (N=754) Financial bestsellers or major publications 8% 7% 4% None of these 11% Not sure 5% Among all affluent investors (N=1,993) Consistent with findings discussed above, affluent investors are confident in their ability to manage and invest their money (see chart 7). However, more than half (54%) worry about losing money on stock market investments and four in 10 (39%) don t trust themselves to manage their own investments during market turbulence. This is especially true of women, with nearly half (49%) expressing concerns about market turbulence vs. 33% for men. 4

5 Chart 6: Approach to investing with a financial advisor I regularly consult with an FA but make most of the final decisions I rely upon an FA to make most or all of my investment decisions I make my own investment decisions without the help of an FA 9% 40% 51% Affluent investors are heavily invested in the stock market with a median of $450,000 in the market. Interestingly, one in five of all affluent investors are not sure how much they have in the stock market. Among affluent investors who have a financial advisor (N=1,239) Chart 7: Thoughts on investing I feel confident in my ability to manage and invest my money 77% 23% I worry about losing money on investments in the stock market 54% 46% I would have more money if I knew more about investing I don t/wouldn t trust myself to manage my own investments during market turbulence 44% 56% 39% 61% Agree Disagree Among all affluent investors (N=1,993) Affluent investors feel on track to reach retirement Yet 4 in 10 (39%) don t trust themselves to manage their own investments during market turbulence 49% women 33% men 5

6 Legacy planning The majority (57%) of affluent investors say leaving an inheritance is important (see chart 8) and seven in 10 (71%) have taken steps to help ensure an orderly transfer of wealth. Yet, despite their desire to leave an inheritance, some are not sure how to go about it. A quarter (25%) are uncomfortable discussing the topic with their family and a quarter said they don t understand the complexities of making the wealth transfer happen (see chart 8). Chart 8: Thoughts on leaving an inheritance It is important for me to leave an inheritance to my heirs/beneficiaries 57% 43% I am uncomfortable talking to my family about my estate plan 25% 75% I don t understand the complexities of transferring my estate/wealth to my heirs/beneficiaries I will not be able to leave an inheritance to my heirs/beneficiaries due to the money needed to support my own retirement 25% 75% 21% 79% Agree Disagree Among all affluent investors (N=1,993) Prospects on leaving an inheritance 7 out of 10 have taken steps for orderly transfer of wealth But, one-quarter feel uncomfortable talking to their family about their estate plan 6

7 Affluent investors and technology Overall, affluent investors are familiar with technology and are comfortable using it to manage/monitor their investments. Eight in 10 (79%) affluent investors say it s important for them to have access to their investment information 24 hours a day. Three-quarters (73%) use online sites or portals from their financial institutions to monitor performance of their investments. However, more than six in 10 (62%) also receive paper statements. Chart 9: AIAS usage and comfort by age* Very/somewhat familiar with AIASs (Among all affluent investors) Currently use/have used an AIAS (Among those who are very/somewhat familiar with an AIAS) I would never be comfortable working with an AIAS (Among all affluent investors) I am likely to try using an AIAS in the next 5 years (Among the affluent investors who are currently not using an AIAS) More than three-quarters (77%) of affluent investors would like to see their financial advisor using high tech automated investment tools to help optimize their investments performance. Additionally, nearly two-thirds (65%) said they are interested in using technology to manage their investments, but only in conjunction with help from their financial advisor. Just over one in five (22%) of affluent investors are familiar with automated investment advisory services (AIAS) or so called robo-advisors. And of that subset, one-third (33%) currently use or have used one to manage their finances. Half (52%) of affluent investors say they would never be comfortable working with an AIAS, even if it were paired with a live financial advisor. Additionally, three quarters (75%) say an AIAS could never take the place of their financial advisor. Yet, half (49%) indicated they would be likely to try using an AIAS in the next five years. Age appears to be a factor in familiarity with and willingness to use an AIAS (see chart 9). Younger affluent investors are much more likely to be familiar with/have used an AIAS and be more comfortable with using one in the future. Age % 36% 22% 10% 66% 36% 22% 10% 24% 39% 51% 61% 71% 61% 46% 27% *Familiarity and usage of AIAS may be overstated in this study due to confusion around the definition of AIAS. Financial regrets While affluent investors are generally confident and content with their financial circumstances, they did express some regrets. Looking back over the past ten years, nearly four in 10 (37%) affluent investors regret not making better investments. The next most common regrets reflect opposing sentiments on their wealth. Three in 10 (29%) wish that they had saved more and spent less, while 15% regret that they did not enjoy their money more. Top 3 most common regrets of affluent investors 7

8 Background and methodology About the Survey On behalf of Wells Fargo, Harris Poll conducted 1,993 online interviews of affluent investors age 30 75, surveying attitudes and behaviors around financial health, financial planning, saving and investing, financial advisors, retirement preparation, and financial services technology. The survey was conducted from May 5 to May 26, To target the affluent investors, the survey data includes only respondents who had $250,000 or more in investable assets (excluding the values of retirement savings and property). Data were weighted as needed to represent the population of those meeting the qualification criteria. Figures for education, age, gender, race, ethnicity, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Some percentages in this document have been revised so percentages shown in charts add to 100%. About Wells Fargo & Company Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 266,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune s 2015 rankings of America s largest corporations. Wells Fargo s vision is to satisfy all our customers financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories. About Harris Poll Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers motivations and behaviors, Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. Please note: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy. Investors need to make their own decisions based on their investment objectives, financial circumstances and tolerance for risk. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns. Please contact your financial, tax and legal advisors regarding your specific situation and for information on planning for retirement. INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS: NOT FDIC INSURED NOT BANK GUARANTEED MAY LOSE VALUE Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors. Wells Fargo Advisors is the trade name used by two separate registered broker-dealers: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC, Members SIPC, non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company. Insurance products are offered through our affiliated non-bank insurance agencies. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., is a banking affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo Advisors is not a legal or tax advisor Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. ECG

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