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Fewer millionaires feel rich

May 18, 2009 | | Comments Comments Off

getattachmentNot even the wealthy are immune to recessionary fears. Most millionaires no longer feel rich, says an annual survey by Fidelity Investments

Forty-six percent of the 1,012 participants in the study (conducted in February) said they “do not feel wealthy and are taking action to reassess and rebuild their wealth.”

Last year only 19% said they didn’t feel rich.

Fidelity says the latest worries match a drop in the respondents’ overall wealth: an average 19% decline in household income and investments, and a 28% drop in real estate holdings.

Fidelity, a Boston-based financial services company, said the average respondent had $3.5 million in assets and $306,000 in annual household income.

The average age of a millionaire is 59, Fidelity said. That means most of them are old enough to have survived the last four recessions, beginning with the first oil crisis of the 1970s. About 77% of the millionaires said they’ve never seen it as bad as it is now.

The top three pieces of advice from these millionaires?

  • Stay the course
  • Remain calm and be optimistic
  • Cut back on spending and save more. downturns.

Here’s how these millionaires are making other adjustments?

INVESTMENTS: Since many of these millionaires have survived other rough economic times, they know they need to make some tough decisions to get their finances back on track. Some are putting more money into fixed-income securities. However, others are buying more stocks, Fidelity reports.

ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS: Millionaires rated the economy as “very weak,” but expect to see the economy improve in 2010, led by a stock market rebound.

TAXES: Most expect taxes to go up in the next five years, with 72% expecting higher capital gains taxes, 67% expecting a higher dividend tax rate, and 62% expecting a higher federal income tax rate.

PREPARING FOR HIGHER TAXES: 50% plan to sell poorly performing investments in the next 12 months to offset capital gains on other, better performing investments. They also plan to increase their pre-tax income deductions to avoid higher federal income taxes, while almost a third (29%) will invest more in tax-advantaged mutual funds to avoid higher dividend taxes.

Looking to revamp your financial life? Check out my latest columns on how to do it!

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