| NEW YORK, March 13
NEW YORK, March 13 The richest Americans are
increasing their ranks and putting the recession of 2008 and
2009 behind them, according to an annual study by the
Chicago-based Spectrem Group.
Total millionaire households in the United States jumped to
more than 9.6 million according to Spectrem, an increase of more
than 600,000 over the previous year. That is the highest level
since the research group started measuring in 2004.
Those who have more than $5 million grew to 1.24 million.
The 2014 Affluent Market Insights Report aggregates monthly
surveys by Spectrem that reach more than 12,000 investors in
The richest of these rich, or ultra-rich, who have more than
$25 million in investable assets (not including a primary
residence), increased by 57 percent through the end of 2013, and
now number 132,000, up from 84,000 in 2008.
These people tend to be senior corporate executives,
doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs, said George Walper,
president of Spectrem Group, adding that they are often
significant job creators. The Boston Consulting Group previously
calculated this segment (net worth from $20 million to $100
million) as controlling about $7.5 trillion in assets.
The ever-expanding critical mass of America's rich is
significant when you "consider the amount of wealth they
influence in the country," Walper said.
Assets that are invested in equities are making more
Americans rich. In 2013, mass affluent clients, who have from
$100,000 to $1 million, had 20 percent of their portfolios in
low-yielding bank deposit products, while the ultra high net
worth segment had only 11 percent in cash.
Of those surveyed, 60 percent of rich households planned to
invest more in equities during the next 12 months, compared with
only 31 percent among the mass affluent.
That supports data from the 2013 Fidelity Millionaire
Outlook, published by Fidelity Investments. Fidelity found that
high net worth individuals prefer to keep their holdings in the
market, rather than in cash. Among those with more than $5
million, 10 percent planned to decrease their cash holdings,
according to the Fidelity report.
The ultra-rich took advantage of not having to cash out of
their investments during the recession. In fact, they invested
during dips in the market and rode it up during in the last two
years, said Spectrem's Walper.
The mass affluent, on the other hand, pulled back.
While the mass affluent typically consist of dual-income,
professional families, they have hefty financial obligations
like college tuition and housing expenses. "They were stressed
the most, and have not recovered as quickly as the higher end,"