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Marion Syversen Marion Syversen
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Two kinds of millionaires

November 7, 2013
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How much do you have? How much do you have?

I love studies. Studies reveal the numbers, the data, behind behavior. And people are fascinating. 

Here are the results of a recent Fidelity study, Gen X/Y Millionaires Not Sitting Idle, that compared millionaires in two generations, Generation X/Y (average age 37, hereafter termed Gen Xers) and Baby Boomers (average age 65, hereafter termed Boomers), contrasting what each group does with their wealth and how they feel about money. 

Feel wealthy? It takes less money for Gen Xers to feel wealthy - about 19 percent less. They both still have in excess of $1 million, but Boomers need $1.61 million and Gen Xers 'only' need $1.31 million to feel wealthy. And Gen Xers will acknowledge their wealth at a higher rate than their older peers.

What does money mean to you? More than half of Boomers see money as security, and though security is important to Gen Xers, it is not nearly as important as it is to Boomers. Gen Xers feel that money means opportunity and success at almost the same level as they view money as security. Boomers see money as also providing comfort.

Use the cash. Gen Xers use their money for living. Both Gen Xers and Boomers take foreign annual vacations, but Gen Xers spend their money enjoying their lives. Gen Xers fly first class, own vacation homes (at three times the rate as do Boomers), and more than four times as many Gen Xers have country club memberships compared to Boomers. 

Gen Xers are not spending to liquidate their money. As the appreciative beneficiaries of inheritances, Gen Xers want to leave as much money as possible to their eventual heirs. They recognize and acknowledge how important was the gift of wealth they received and how significant was its role in the increase their personal fortunes.

Charity. You may be getting the impression that, for the Gen Xers more than the Boomers perhaps, the money is about THEM - but that would be an incorrect assumption. Based on the average amount given in donations to charities, the younger millionaires give 4.5 times as much money to charity as Boomers. That is a significant distinction in the millionaire groups. 

And Gen Xers' generosity doesn't end there. When it comes to giving of their time, once again Gen Xers serve on non-profit boards almost twice as much as older millionaires.

Want an advisor? Both groups love their advisors and depend upon them as a source of investment advice and professional money management.

Gen Xers feel much more knowledgeable about investing and thus more confident in their investing decisions whether working with an advisor or not. 

I share these studies because I think they are a fascinating look into how folks think about money. But these numbers are not indicative of how you live. We are each unique little beings free to live in our unique way. 

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