What advisors and their clients don’t know about each other may hurt them, according to new research.
There’s a knowledge gap between financial advisors and their affluent clients, according to business management specialists at The Spectrem Group. Advisors at times harbor misconceptions about what wealthy investors want and high-net-worth clients are often unclear about what their advisor does, they said.
Advisors may not be aware that most millionaires have between $1 million and $5 million in net worth and are beginning to skew younger, said George Walper, Spectrem’s president, while presenting research at last week’s TD Ameritrade 2016 National LINC conference.
“Few are under age 35, but the average net worth of a young millionaire is the same as those who are older,” Walper said. “Two-thirds of them are two-income households. Most are college educated and over half are retired. About a third have some type of graduate degree. That’s important because clearly they’re smart people.”
Younger millionaires tend to have higher annual incomes than older ones, Walper said, and in general have higher levels of education and entrepreneurship.
But not every millionaire is a doctor, lawyer or heiress—a surprising number of them are teachers, he said. “Educators are among the top occupations for millionaires,” Walper said. “They still have this wonderful thing that we call a defined benefit plan.”
Over the past few months, as markets globally have experienced a pronounced decline, affluent investors' outlook, as measured by Spectrem’s Millionaire Investor Confidence Index, has declined.
Walper says that the wealthy are being frightened away from investing.
“When we asked how people are investing right now, we find that they haven’t really panicked, but they’re starting to get nervous about the markets,” Walper said. “On average, 12 percent of their assets are in cash, and that’s a high number. Traditionally, they would have about five percent in cash. They’re in between as opposed to panicking.”
Stock market conditions have the biggest impact when affluent investors are choosing their investments, according to Spectrem’s research.