U.S. economic woes and stock market volatility have prompted changes in the investment and social behaviors of high-net-worth Americans, says a new survey of CPA financial advisors.
Clients say they're dining out less frequently and ordering less expensive wines and premium liquor brands, according to the survey of personal financial specialists (PFS) conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Many are having items repaired, rather than purchasing new ones and they're taking fewer or less expensive vacations.
CPA personal financial specialists are advising clients to rebalance their portfolios, reassess their tax planning and control their expenses and cash flow. Eighty percent of CPA financial advisors surveyed are strongly recommending their clients move toward a mix of growth and income securities. Sixty-five percent are also recommending more fixed-income securities. Forty percent are strongly recommending that their clients hold larger cash positions. Thirty percent are recommending commodities such as gold and precious metals.
In anticipation of future tax increases, 67% of CPA advisors said their clients are accelerating capital gains. Half of clients are increasing contributions to qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and IRAs. In terms of wealth transfer, nearly 60% of CPA financial planners are recommending paying medical and/or education bills directly for family members and 50% are recommending gifting devalued assets.
The survey was conducted April 22 to June 4 via an online questionnaire e-mailed to members of the AICPA Financial Planning Membership Section. Of the 529 respondents, 57% work with individual clients with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million; 34% work with individual clients with a net worth of less than $1 million; 3% have individual clients with a net worth of over $15 million; 5% have individual clients with an average net worth of $6 million to $10 million; and 1% manage individual clients with a net worth of $11 million to $ 15 million. The average age range of clients is between 56 and 64. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.