Merrill Edge® Report

 
 

Merrill Edge Report: Spring 2018

 

Merrill Edge Report: Spring 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

33%
of Americans say their financial stability is dependent on receiving an inheritance

Financial independence?

Uncertainty for the future is creating an unexpected dependence on others for financial security. This is especially true for Gen Z, today's youngest generation - 63 percent say their financial stability is dependent on an inheritance despite a strong majority (87 percent) describing their approach to financial decisions as "do-it-myself."
87%
of people are more likely to invest in companies that pay women and men equally

Conscious investing on the rise

This is closely followed by companies that promote diverse senior leadership (85%), demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability (82%) and provide three or more months of family leave (78%). While Americans are putting a greater importance on social investments,Footnote 2 they are still most likely to invest in stock based on market performance (88 percent), closely followed by its ability to pay dividends (85 percent).
40%
of respondents are already comfortable consulting AI for financial guidance

The hybrid future

Emerging technologies are drastically shaping the future, particularly where, how and when investors seek financial guidance — and they want the best of both worlds. While investors are adopting technology for guidance, 80% still prefer in-person advice.
"We've never seen such a strong reliance on receiving an inheritance. With shifting priorities and growing lifespans Americans are finding new ways to ensure their financial stability and as such are increasingly looking to others. While it's great to see investors thinking ahead, the key to financial freedom is outlining and following an action plan for short- and long-term goals beyond an inheritance—which may or may not ever come."
Aron Levine, Head of Merrill Edge
Read the Merrill Edge Report: Spring 2018
for insights on the mass affluent
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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 April 9-20, 2018. The survey consisted of 1,000 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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