Attitudes towards financial organizations, wealth management and financial futures are evolving for Affluents, according to The Martini Report, Volume 3: An In-Depth Perspective on Affluents and Finance. The report was released today by Martini Media, the leader in engaging affluent audiences online, which was recently acquired by Evolve Media, LLC. Third in a series of studies, it features unexpected insights on affluent consumers’ financial goals and digital behaviors. The proprietary study was conducted in collaboration with Ipsos MediaCT, a firm recognized for its expertise in research on affluent consumers and luxury markets.
The Martini Report (Vol. 3: Finance) details the online behavior of three key segments of the Affluent Market: the Hyper Affluent, 3% of Americans with at least $250,000 in annual household income; the Mass Affluent, one quarter of the U.S. population who fall in the $100,000-$249,000 income range; and the Emerging Affluent, aged 18-39, with household income in the $75,000-$249,000 range.
“For Affluents, managing and growing their wealth has always been a high priority, but the most surprising finding of our third Martini Report was how differently each key segment approaches financial decisions,” said Karen Ring, Director, Market Research & Insights at Martini Media, an Evolve Media company. “While millennials are just starting to formulate their investment strategy and prefer to make financial decisions independently through the use of digital resources, their older counterparts place their trust in established financial institutions and are most concerned about estate planning, and saving enough for retirement and their children’s education.”
Key findings include:
- Retirement is a big concern: Affluents fear outliving their retirement savings more than any other financial scenario. As a result, 63% of Affluents wished they had started saving earlier for retirement.
- Affluents worry they are underfunded: A large portion of the Affluent population (70%) cannot accurately estimate how much money they will need for future life events, and only 39% are confident that they have enough money saved for their children’s college education.
- Millennials want to work with innovative financial companies: While 80% of Hyper Affluents prefer to engage with companies they have worked with in the past, only 69% of their younger counterparts share that same level of loyalty. Millennials are more open to working with new companies than Mass and Hyper Affluents. In addition, many large wealth management companies are raising their minimum investment requirements for new clients thereby shutting out younger investors. As a result, millennials are using disruptive technologies to manage their finances.
- Financial product purchases are heavily researched: Affluents spend at least 6 hours in an average month researching financial products across all forms of digital means. Nearly half of Emerging Affluents do their research on tablets and smartphones. Overall, 30% of Affluents spend more than two months researching before completing a transaction.
- Emerging Affluents take a do-it-yourself approach to finance: Affluent millennials are at the forefront of a growing trend of self-directed financial and wealth management. They prefer to manage their money independently, without the use of financial professionals. While 6 out of 10 Hyper Affluents have a high level of trust in financial advisors, only 33% of Emerging Affluents have that same level of trust. They don’t want information pushed to them – they want to seek it themselves and make their own decisions.
- Digital is a top influencer: Digital media are cited more widely as influencing financial decisions than traditional ones. Emerging Affluents are more receptive to third-party content, like user reviews and website articles, while Hyper Affluents prefer to use the brand’s website as a digital resource.
Approaches towards wealth management vary for Affluents, and marketers need to provide targeted guidance for achieving goals like funding life cycle events, address concerns about trust in financial professionals and recognize that millennials will rely on different tools than other Affluents.
“Affluents are worried about their financial futures like everyone else,” said Geoff Schiller, Chief Revenue Officer at Evolve Media, parent company of TotallyHer, CraveOnline, and Martini Media. “It is clear that just because they are affluent, doesn’t mean that they aren’t looking for help. It’s important for financial advertisers to use digital media to help address those concerns and foster and facilitate trust between Affluents and financial institutions.”