The Rich are Happy but Not Unscathed

The Super Rich The majority of the rich are optimistic about their future prospects, even though they admit to taking hits during the recession. According to Mintel's recently published Wealth Management-January 2011 report, more than eight in 10 high-net-worth households (defined as households with at least $500K in investable assets excluding real estate) say they are optimistic about their own financial situation over the next five years.

But there is also a substantial concern about a potential job loss in their households -- about one in three say they are worried that they or someone in their family may lose their job. And about half say they are trying to make up for what they've lost in their retirement savings accounts. Also, more than half (54 percent) say that their household has been directly impacted by declining real estate valuations.

And a significant number, (42 percent) remain pessimistic about the coming year.

It's interesting to note that women respondents are much more pessimistic than men, with more than half of women (51 percent) saying they are pessimistic vs. 36 percent of males in high-net-worth households. About half of respondents say that they have cut back or deferred spending because of the recession, and women report that they are doing this in greater numbers than men.

"Clearly, wealthy households are feeling much less of a pinch than other households," states Susan Menke, vice president and behavioral economist at Mintel Comperemedia. "But a number of developments have given them cause for concern."

"Cause for concern" is a long way from the panic, dread and depression that many of us have felt over the past three years -- but since the rich are the ones who are most likely to create jobs for the rest of us, it's nice to know they're optimistic.

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