For the first time since the September 11 terrorist
attacks, affluent Americans are more worried about the country's
financial future than they are about the terrorism threat, according to
a new survey.
The survey by U.S. Trust-its annual Survey of Affluent Americans-found that the top 1% wealthiest Americans cite as their top worry that the next generation may have a tougher time financially.
That worry was cited by more than 80% of those surveyed, up from 75% a year ago.
Concern about terrorism's impact on the economy and the securities
markets-which since 2001 has been cited as their top worry-was ranked
second, dropping to 77% from 90% a year ago.
Also for the first time since 2001, affluent Americans expressed decreased optimism in the stock market. The U.S. Trust Affluent Investor Index showed a down tick for the first time in four years, declining to 48 from 66 in 2004, according to the trust company.
While 81% of respondents saw their portfolios increase in value over
the past year, 34% feel investing in the stock market is now riskier
than it was a year ago, according to the survey.
In terms of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of investing, 72% of the survey respondents believe energy and natural resources are the most promising sectors, followed by real estate, which was favored by 67%, and health care, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, chosen by 65%. Financial services declined in popularity, dropping from 65% to 51%, and technology fell from 72% to 55%.
Nearly three quarters of respondents feel real estate values will increase over the next year.
"One bright spot in affluent investors' outlook is real estate," says Paul K. Napoli, executive vice president and head of Personal Wealth Management for U.S. Trust. "They clearly do not think there is a real estate bubble."
An overwhelming majority of respondents, 90%, said they feel Social Security needs to be fixed now, although 71% feel Social Security may not run into trouble for many years.