Merrill Edge® Report

 
 

Merrill Edge Report: Fall 2018

 

Merrill Edge Report: Fall 2018

Our nationwide survey, delivered semi‑annually, takes an in‑depth look at the financial concerns and priorities of mass affluent Americans — U.S. households with investable assets ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.Footnote 1

Insights from the Merrill Edge Report

56%
of Americans prefer a partner who provides financial security more than "head over heels" love

The new happily ever after

This sentiment is just as likely for men as it is for women (54 percent, compared to 57 percent), whereas Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2000) is the sole generation to choose love (54 percent) over money (47 percent). Survey respondents also said they prefer a partner who is career focused (63 percent) over socially focused (37 percent); frugal (55 percent) more than philanthropic (45 percent); and a saver (83 percent) rather than a spender (17 percent).
57%
of respondents do not discuss their salary with their significant other

When money doesn't talk

While Americans are looking to their partners for financial security, they are tight-lipped when it comes to discussing their own finances. Many are postponing the "money talk" with their significant others, as the majority admit they rarely talk about their own debt (60 percent), salary (57 percent), investments (55 percent) and spending habits (51 percent). Furthermore, respondents rank nearly all major relationship milestones ahead of discussing their finances, including meeting the family, being intimate, traveling together and discussing politics.
50%
of Americans have no monetary goal in mind for retirement

Saving to save

This never-ending quest for financial security is prompting Americans to save at record rates. Respondents report they are willing to stash away more on saving and investing than their rent and mortgage payments ($16K), children's education ($12K) or travel ($8K). But it is clear that saving does not equate to planning, as the majority say they have no monetary goals in mind when it comes to many major life milestones, including having a baby (67 percent), getting married (63 percent), putting a down payment on a house (50 percent) and retiring (50 percent).
"Americans are saving money at record rates, and yet we're seeing people of all ages look to their current and prospective partners to secure their financial futures. Economic uncertainty and a lack of financial planning seem to be creating this burgeoning trend of dependence on others for financial security. We believe that it's crucial to have a financial plan at every life stage in order to achieve financial goals and stay on the right path to financial success."
Aron Levine, Head of Merrill Edge
Read the Merrill Edge Report: Fall 2018
for insights on the mass affluent
View and share infographics
from the Merrill Edge Report

Resources

Reporters may contact:
Susan Atran – 
Bank of America – 
646.743.0791 | Email
Footnote 1 Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 40 (Gen Z/Millennials) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 40 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 41-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000.
Footnote 2 Impact investing and/or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) managers may take into consideration factors beyond traditional financial information to select securities, which could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Further, ESG strategies may rely on certain values based criteria to eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.

Methodology

Convergys (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative, panel-sample online survey on behalf of Merrill Edge Sept. 27 - Oct. 13, 2018. The survey consisted of 1,034 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S. Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 40 (Gen Z/Millennials) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 40 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 41-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. For this purpose, investable assets consist of the value of all cash, savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, stocks, bonds and all other types of investments such as a 401 (k), 403 (B), and Roth IRA, but excluding primary home and other real estate investments. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass affluents in Atlanta. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent for the national sample and about +/- 5.6 percent for the oversample market, reported at a 95 percent confidence level.
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