As Net Worth Goes Down, Interest in Finances Goes Up

Being a millionaire just isn’t what it used to be.

A Fidelity study found that almost half (46%) of U.S. millionaires (having $1 million or more in investable assets) do not feel wealthy and are taking action to reassess and rebuild their wealth. That’s more than twice as many as when the survey was conducted last year (see “More Millionaires Using Independent Advisers“).

That is likely because millionaires have seen an average 19% drop in household income, a 19% drop in investable assets, and a 28% decline in the value of their real estate holdings, according to a press release of the survey results.

While many respondents are increasing their allocation to fixed-income investments, others are increasing their exposure to stock, according to Fidelity. About a third (32%) of millionaires plan to increase exposure to fixed income, bonds, and CDs over the next 12 months; likewise, 31% plan to invest more in individual stocks.

Looking for More Information

The crisis has had another effect on millionaires: a greater appetite for financial information. Millionaires surveyed by Fidelity are spending more time gathering financial information, from reading and listening to financial news to discussing finances.

Almost one-third (32%) are spending more time discussing financial matters with family and friends, while 18% are spending more time checking their investment performance, and 20% are increasing the time they spend monitoring or calculating their net worth, according to Fidelity.

Bracing for Tax Hikes

Seventy-two percent of respondents expect higher capital gains taxes in the next five years. Furthermore, 67% expect a higher dividend tax rate, and 62% expect a higher federal income tax rate.

Anticipating the tax hikes, half of millionaires plan to sell poorly performing investments in the next 12 months to offset capital gains on other, better-performing investments, the survey found. Millionaires surveyed also plan to increase their pre-tax income deductions to avoid higher federal income taxes, while almost a third (29%) will invest more in tax-advantaged mutual funds to avoid higher dividend taxes.

The study, commissioned by Fidelity and conducted by Richard Day Research, looked at 1,012 financial decisionmakers at U.S. millionaire households.