Making money, not inheriting it, creates more financial security
Most wealthy people earn their money, and because they earned it they feel more secure about keeping it. That's what a new survey reveals about wealth and values.
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PNC Wealth Management conducted the survey of people with more than $500,000 of investable assets. The Wealth and Values Survey showed that 69% of "wealthy" Americans accumulated most of their money through work, business ownership or investments; 6% percent received money through inheritance; and 25% gained wealth through a combination of inheritance and earnings.
"An overwhelming number of affluent Americans earned their wealth and are more likely to feel secure during challenging economic times compared to peers who inherited their money," according to PNC.
These findings mirror most other studies of the wealthy and how they got rich. Indeed, take a look at the Forbes list of the world's richest people and you won't find many at the top spots who inherited their riches. This value set speaks volumes about making money, as well as about the prospects of losing it.
A couple of things separate the earners from the inheritors: First, earners were in control of making their money, and therefore feel more confident about preserving it or making even more. Second, earners likely took large risks to achieve wealth. As we all know, as risk increases, so does return. Accordingly, earners are likely more comfortable with the concept of risk.
Keep What You Make
Earners are more likely to be concerned about an economic recession, and more confident they can manage through a downturn. When asked about a recession, 36% of earners said it was a concern, yet 77% agreed with the statement "I feel I have a lot of control over my financial future."
Meanwhile, 27% of heirs expressed concern about recession, but 67% expressed confidence about control of their financial futures, PNC found.
Driving the point of risk tolerance home, the report says earners also have a higher risk tolerance than heirs: 39% of earners rate themselves as moderate to risky investors compared with 21% of heirs.
"There is a strong correlation between those who earned their wealth, their willingness to take risks and confidence that they can recover from a major negative financial event," says Thomas Melcher, executive vice president and managing director of Hawthorn, PNC Wealth Management's division that services ultra-wealthy clients.
"Those who inherited their wealth often view themselves as stewards for future generations," he adds. "As a result, they tend to be more conservative in their approach to investing."
Other Survey Findings Include:
Happiness is relative: Three-quarters of earners agree with the statement: "My financial success lets me feel less stress and worry," versus 50% of heirs. Meanwhile, 51% of earners agree with the statement: "As I have accumulated more money in my life I have become happier," compared to 33% of heirs.
More is not necessarily merrier: Heirs are more than twice as likely to say "Having a lot of money brings about more problems than it solves."
As luck would have it: More people who have earned their wealth (37%) agree with the statement: "The money I have made so far has come from being in the right place at the right time" compared with 25% of heirs.
Passing it on: Far more of earners agree with the statement: "Every generation should be responsible for creating its own wealth." And more earners believe that "It is more important for children to learn the value of money through hard work."
Which also seems to be a good lesson for adults.