Skip to Content

2017 Insights On Wealth And Worth

Generations collide and unite in this year's study

Multigenerational family sitting outside

In the 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey, we asked over 800 high-net-worth individuals their thoughts on investing, the workplace, family relationships, philanthropy and more.

A generational shift is now more apparent than ever. Today, differing beliefs and behaviors between younger and older generations can cause conflict, but that disagreement can also provide opportunities for innovation and redefining impact.

JUMP TO HIGHLIGHTS

View highlights from the 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey.

[Music starts and continues to the end of the video]

Generations, they’re unique and diverse. They inspire the ones that follow. And acknowledge the ones that came before. Today, as longevity increases and family dynamics change, generations are becoming more and more intertwined. And while diversity, and varied perspectives, from different age groups are valued, tensions sometimes arise.

The 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth survey asked high-net-worth individuals across all generations, their thoughts on wealth, work, investing, family values, and philanthropic endeavors. The results reveal a generational collide, highlighting both differences and commonalities.

When it comes to the creation and transfer of wealth, family matters. Making wealth last over multiple generations is an important goal. And while most respondents are confident in their own capacity to manage money wisely, they are less confident in their family members.

In terms of investing, younger generations are keeping more cash on hand for opportunistic reasons, whereas their older counterparts are more reliant on traditional stocks and bonds.

The Boomer and Silent generations' desire to take on more risk is surprising, given they show a broad interest in asset protection. Millennials are also redefining conventional notions of wealth. They are using alternative investment strategies more frequently. And the majority of them believe that investing in companies based on social, environmental, and governance factors is a more responsible way to transfer moneymaking principles onto younger generations.

While generations demonstrate strong differences in investing practices, family giving is something that unites them. Finding commonalities, like values, goals, and philanthropic traditions, is an important way for families to be enriched and to build an even stronger legacy for generations to come.

For more information about this year's survey, please visit our detailed findings report at USTrust.com/survey.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION 

Opinions and findings expressed herein reflect those of the 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey, and may differ from those of U.S. Trust and Bank of America Corporation and its affiliates. The information presented in this video is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to serve as a recommendation or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any type of security. This video does not constitute investment advice and is issued without regard to specific investment objectives or the financial situation of any particular recipient.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY

The 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey is based on a nationwide survey of 808 high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth adults with at least $3 million in investable assets, not including the value of their primary residence. Respondents were divided among those who have between $3 million and $5 million, $5 million and $10 million, and $10 million or more in investable assets. The survey was conducted online by the independent research firm Phoenix Marketing International in January and February of 2017. Asset information was self-reported by the respondent.

Verification for respondent qualification occurred at the panel company, using algorithms in place to ensure consistency of information provided, and was confirmed with questions from the survey itself. All data have been tested for statistical significance at the 95% confidence level.

U.S. Trust operates through Bank of America, N.A., and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC.    

 

Survey Highlights

Investing

High-net-worth investors continue to rely on traditional asset classes, but younger investors are increasingly drawn to alternative investments, as well as investing for social impact.

Legend depicting certain colors to signify different generations

 

Where do the wealthy put their investments?

Graph detailing where generations invest

On average, wealthy Millennials are far less reliant on the stock market. They hold a hefty cash position, perhaps for opportunistic purchases or investments.

 

Which generations are assessing their portfolio for impact?

Graph detailing how generation invest

Wealthy individuals across generations are interested in investing for environmental or social impact, but Millennials are by far the most active in evaluating these strategies.

 

Family

Family roles have shifted significantly over the years, but some dynamics hold. With the great wealth transfer at hand, younger and older family members lack confidence in each other when it comes to responsibly managing family money.

Legend depicting certain colors to signify different generations

 

Do family members have confidence in each other's capacity to manage money?

Graph measuring family confidence of money management

Over 50% of parents are not very confident in their children's capacity to manage family money. Likewise, the majority of children in every generation question their parents' capacity.

 

Who in the household makes investment decisions? (%)

Graph depicting who makes investment decisions

Though men are still the dominant decision makers, younger women are inching upward in taking the leading role.

 

How have childcare responsibilities changed over time?

Graph depicting childcare responsibilities over time

Women have been and are still the primary caregivers of children, but roles are being redefined today. More dads are primary caregivers than ever before, and responsibility is often shared, perhaps to help Mom focus on work.

 

Art Collecting

Art is a treasured asset for many high-net-worth families, primarily for its aesthetic value. But some families also see it as part of their wealth-building strategy.

Legend depicting certain colors to signify different generations

 

What drives collectors to buy art?

Graph depicting art buying motivation

Younger generations are more attuned to the financial implications of art collecting.

 

What do collectors plan to do with their art?

Graph depicting art collectors plans

Are families talking about giſting and inheriting art? Just over half (54%) of art collectors have had discussions with family members about their interest in or passion for art.

 

Giving

Giving back is important to all. But how do they give back? The ways in which the wealthy give back differ significantly across generations.

Legend depicting certain colors to signify different generations

 

Is the definition of philanthropy changing?

Graph depicting art collectors plans

Older generations prefer traditional giving, and volunteering transcends age. But younger generations see both work and investments as tools for impact.

 

How does giving affect family values?

Graph depicting family values

Giving is a powerful way to unite families, with Millennials most strongly agreeing.

Contact a U.S. Trust advisor to discuss how these findings may have an impact on your own wealth planning.

Survey methodology: The 2017 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey is based on a nationwide survey of 808 high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth adults with at least $3 million in investable assets, not including the value of their primary residence. Respondents who have between $3 million and $5 million, $5 million and $10 million, and $10 million or more in investable assets. The survey was conducted online by the independent research firm Phoenix Marketing International in January and February of 2017. Asset information was self-reported by the respondent. Verification for respondent qualification occurred at the panel company, using algorithms in place to ensure consistency of information provided, and was confirmed with questions from the survey itself. All data have been tested for statistical significance at the 95% confidence level.

Related Insights

Back to Top