Opalesque Industry Update: The number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more, not including primary residence (NIPR), continues to rebound along with the stock markets, rising by 200,000 to 8.6 million in 2011, according to the Affluent Market Insights 2012 report by Spectrem Group. It marks the third consecutive year of growth following the 27% decline in millionaire households to 6.7 million in 2008, but the total millionaire population remains below the pre-recession high in 2007 of 9.2 million.|
The ranks of all affluent investors increased in 2011:
Despite their increasing portfolios, wealthy investors remain worried about the future. More than 4 out of 5, or 83% of 1,252 affluent investors with net worth of $100,000 or more NIPR indicate attaining the American dream will be harder for future generations. While wealthy investors under 40 identify owning a home as achieving the American Dream, older investors say it means having sufficient retirement assets. All investors, however, agree the American Dream can be defined as "an equal opportunity for all people."
"Even if they are not directly impacted, continuing high unemployment and the depressed housing market are bedeviling wealthy investors," says George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group. "Investor optimism has climbed from negative in April 2011 to neutral in February 2012, according to our monthly Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index, but investor outlook won't significantly improve until unemployment falls significantly lower."
Like unemployment, housing is a bellwether for investor optimism. "Even though the wealthy have substantial assets in addition to their primary residence, their homes remain an important investment and a touchstone of achieving the American Dream," Walper says.
Spectrem research shows that primary residence makes up: