Survey: Pity the poor millionaire

Everyone knows having a lot of money is nice.

Or is it?

A new Investor Watch survey of millionaires by UBS Wealth Management Americas reveals “that while millionaires recognize their good fortune, they feel compelled to strive for more, spurred on by their own ambition, their desire to protect their families’ lifestyle, and an ever-present fear of losing it all.”

We can already hear the violins playing.

If you’re already a millionaire, you’ll probably relate to the findings.

If you’re not yet a millionaire, you’re probably groaning right now, muttering obscenities under your breath.

Especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the more millionaire-heavy regions on the face of the planet. Last year, a study by Spear magazine and WealthInsight reported that San Francisco had “the third highest millionaire density of cities in the United States at 2.07%.”

That ranks it just behind Houston, and you can thank the proximity to Silicon Valley and the technology boom for this success. On the global list of the top 20 cities, San Francisco finished in 19th place. And to think that technology helped trump the entertainment capital of the world of film and movie stars of Los Angeles.

Pretty crazy, when you think, at least statistically, that two of every 100 people you pass on the street around here is worth a million bucks.

Here are some highlights of the UBS survey of 2,215 U.S. investors with more than $1 million in net worth:

• More than three-quarters of millionaires (77%) grew up middle class or below.

• Working their way up the socioeconomic ranks was a conscious aim, as 61% aspired to become millionaires and 65% felt it was an important milestone to reach the $1 million mark.

• Nearly three-quarters of millionaires (74%) surveyed feel like they have “made it.”

• The vast majority (85%) attribute their success to hard work, with 44 percent saying hard work was the single most important factor in becoming a millionaire.

•  73% of those with $1 million to $2 million reported being “highly satisfied” with their life compared to 78% of those with $2 million to $5 million and 85% of those with $5+ million.

However, with increased wealth come increased expectations. Investor Watch found that the wealthier people become, the more likely they are to have increased expectations for their standard of living. Fifty-eight percent of millionaires report feeling increased expectations for their standard of living over the last 10 years. As a result, millionaires keep striving for more.

Higher expectations cause stress for millionaires about their ability to maintain the life they’ve built. Among working millionaires with children at home, 52% feel like they are stuck on a treadmill, unable to get off without sacrificing their family’s lifestyle.

Investor Watch revealed that no matter how much wealth is accumulated, millionaires still fear they could lose it all with one wrong move. Half (50%) of those with $1 – $5 million are afraid that one major setback (e.g., job loss, market crash) would have a significant impact on their lifestyle, vs. 34% of those with $5+ million. For millionaire parents working full-time, the anxiety is even greater–63% feel that one major setback would have a significant impact on their lifestyle.

The sad tale goes on:

Reaching the millionaire milestone does come at a cost, as 64% of millionaires report that they have had to give up precious family time to achieve their dreams. Most millionaires (68%) admit to having regrets, most commonly around making mistakes in a relationship with their spouse or family and not spending more time with family. Millionaire parents with children at home struggle to provide the best for their children without spoiling them. They worry that their children will grow up without the right values – two in three (67%) already feel that their children take things for granted and more than half (53%) are at least somewhat worried that their children act entitled. Millionaire parents expressed concern that their children do not understand the value of money (65%), lack motivation (54%), harbor unrealistic expectations (54%) and fear that they will embark on an unstable career path (50%).

And if you haven’t heard enough already, you can view the full survey at:  www.ubs.com/investorwatch

Read it ….

And weep.

Illustration from MCT archives

 

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