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Merrill Edge® Report


Merrill Edge Report: Spring 2019


Merrill Edge Report: Spring 2019

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

of Americans believe how they manage their money would make their parents proud

Finding financial footing

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans think how they are managing their money would make their parents proud. This may be in part to the savvier spending and savings habits Americans are adopting. In fact, 85 percent of respondents improved their financial lives in the past year, including raising their credit score (45 percent), paying off credit card debt (43 percent), saving enough to live on for three months without an income (35 percent) and investing some of their savings in the market (29 percent).
of Americans admit managing their financial lives weighs heavily on their minds

Mind on their money, money on their mind

Americans of all ages say managing their finances impacts their mental health, including Gen Z (73 percent), millennials (69 percent), Gen X (58 percent) and baby boomers (40 percent). Fifty-six percent of Americans also say their physical health is affected by their finances. In both instances, women are more likely than men to admit managing their current financial situation is taking a toll on their mental health (64 percent, compared to 52 percent of men) and physical health (60 percent, compared to 51 percent of men).
of respondents have delayed or abstained from various life milestones to pay off debt

Debtor nation

Despite their financial feats in the past year, half of respondents are worried about their finances over the next five years. Top concerns include the potential for an inadequate amount of savings (55 percent), political instability (53 percent), a looming recession (47 percent) and market volatility (45 percent). With debt another source of worry, 68 percent of Americans have put certain life milestones on the backburner to pay off debt, including going on vacation (43 percent), buying a home (30 percent), having children (19 percent) and getting married (15 percent).
"On the bright side, Americans are prioritizing their financial goals and taking steps toward improving their futures," said Aron Levine, head of Consumer Banking and Investments for Bank of America. "However, many find managing their money today causes them a great deal of stress. The key is to find the right balance of short- and long-term planning, and always to take steps forward without placing a heavy burden on one's current financial situation or well-being."
Aron Levine, Head of Consumer Banking & Investments for Bank of America
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Footnote 1 Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 23 (Gen Z) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 23 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 24-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000.
Concentrix (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative, panel-sample online survey on behalf of Merrill Edge April 17 - May 9, 2019. The survey consisted of 1,000 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S. Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 23 (Gen Z) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 23 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 24-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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