America: Land of the free and home of the poor little rich boys

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A couple of days ago, Fidelity Investments released its second annual "Fidelity Millionaire Outlook" analysis. This report is, basically, a survey of 1000 people who have at least $1 million in assets to invest. The respondents were asked to plot their view of the U.S. economy on a scale ranging from +100 (very strong) to -100 (very weak). Last year, the average was +41, which translates to "strong." This year, the average was -50, which translates to "very weak."

Essentially, this means that even the wealthiest people in America don't really have a lot of faith in the economy. On average, the respondents were optimistic about the economy's potential for improvement in 2009, giving it a +18 score. In the meantime, however, the economy's downturn is making these investors feel exposed and endangered. In fact, almost 20% don't feel wealthy, in spite of the fact that they have a mean income of $270,000 and, on average, have at least $3 million to invest.

Fidelity's analyists have put a happy face on this data, stating that the millionaires' optimistic vision of 2009 suggests that they see "today's problem as tomorrow's opportunity." However, it's hard to get really chipper about an economy that's making the "Daddy Warbucks" segment of the population feel like they're hard up!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He found ten bucks in the street a couple of weeks ago and still feels like Diamond Jim Brady.
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