Majority of HNW Segment Believes Retirement Planning is Important

Three-quarters of high net worth (HNW) individuals point to retirement planning as their most important financial activity – calling the process “absolutely essential″ or “very important,″ a new survey found.

Wells Fargo Private Bank’s Wealth Lifecycle study said the HNW individuals may be retirement conscious, but that doesn’t mean they are headed for the office doors tomorrow.

Of those currently working, two-thirds (64%) would keep working even if they didn’t have to. Some 89% of the current workers like to work and six in 10 (60%) would rather have more money than more free time (40%), according to a news release.

Also, nine in10 of the HNW individuals polled agree that “everyone is responsible for their own financial security.’

The survey covered 1,146 U.S. adults ages 18 and over who have $1 million or more in net investable assets, excluding residences and employer retirement plans.

The Wells Fargo poll also found that the HNW types liked the idea of giving back to society. About three-quarters (74%) of respondents indicated that they are generous with their money and the majority said that making a difference in the world (65%) and volunteering in their community (57%) are important to their overall happiness.

Nearly three in five HNW adults (57%) say that leaving an estate or financial legacy to heirs is an important financial goal.

The study categorized HNW individuals into four distinct groups based on their stage in the wealth lifecycle:

  • In their Building stage, individuals are career driven and are the youngest of the four segments (45 is the average age). They believe that the power of wealth can change lives for the better and are willing to work for it.
  • In their Managing stage, individuals believe that wealth leads to having the freedom to do what they want, are focused on the financial security of their family and emphasize improving their cash flow and minimizing their taxes.
  • In their Preserving stage, individuals are primarily focused on protecting their current wealth, and are driven to save for retirement and less concentrated on making charitable contributions.
  • In their Transferring stage, individuals are focused on sharing their money.

The study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Wells Fargo Private Bank between June 18 and July 9, 2007

A copy of the survey is available from Kathleen Golden at or 415.396.4024.