Millionaires? More like $700,000-aires

U.S. households worth more than $1 million have lost nearly a third of their assets in the financial crisis, a report says.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)
By Julianne Pepitone, contributing writer

How will the Obama stimulus proposal affect the economy?
  • It will end the recession quickly
  • It won't end the recession, but will soften its impact
  • It will make the recession worse
  • No impact

NEW YORK ( -- While it may be hard to feel sympathy for America's millionaires, they're feeling the economic crunch, too - nearly a third of their assets have disappeared in the downturn, according to a consulting firm's report released Tuesday.

Spectrem Group said U.S. households worth $1 million or more - excluding their primary residence - have seen their assets decline by 30% during the financial crisis.

Almost one-fifth of the asset declines were greater than 40%, the report said.

"There's a huge amount of anger," said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group.

Nearly all the millionaires surveyed - 90% - said they "fear a prolonged economic downturn," the report said. On average, they believe it will last for another 22 months.

Maintaining their current lifestyles is also of concern, as 55% of respondents said they are worried they will not have sufficient assets to do so.

"They may not be representative of most people, but this is a population that creates jobs in the country through small businesses and has spending power," Walper said.

Weakness across the board

Millionaires' net worth has been slammed by economic weakness across the board.

Stocks plummeted in 2008, one of Wall Street's worst years on record. By the end of the year, the Dow was down by more than a third, the S&P 500 was down almost 40%, and the Nasdaq was down 41.5%.

The yearly losses are larger than any seen since the 1930s. Stocks would need to rise 65% in 2009 just to get back to end-of-2007 levels.

"The stock market has made them afraid to look at their statements, but they see it every day in the newspapers," Walper said. "It has a huge psychological impact."

The other major factor in the asset decline is real estate, Walper said. Home prices posted an 18% annual drop in October, and the 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller index has posted losses for 27 months in a row.

"If you single handedly own an apartment building, you're probably not looking at it every day and getting emotional," Walper said,

Walper said Spectrem plans a follow-up study in June or July. He said he is curious to see the impact of the Madoff investment scandal and the Obama administration.

"People might say, 'Oh, too bad for the millionaires,' but this is the group that needs to get on board to help the economy," Walper said.

The Spectrem Group report polled 750 households with over $1 million in net worth, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.