Eleven percent of wealthy individuals surveyed by Phoenix Cos. have stopped contributing to their 401(k) plans, and 8% said their spouses or partners have done the same.
Nearly one-third of high-net-worth individuals — defined by Phoenix in the Phoenix Wealth Survey as having more than $1 million in assets, minus their primary residences — reported making changes to their 401(k) plans, the survey found. Five percent said they have reduced their contributions, and 5% said their spouses or partners had cut their contribution levels.
“The current crisis has rocked this segment of the market like it never has,” Walter Zultowski, senior vice president, research and concept development at Phoenix, said in an interview. “In the past, high-net-worth individuals have been very resilient. It's different this time.”
Respondents' No. 1 worry, the survey found, is that poor investment performance will diminish their assets, with 51% reporting such a concern, compared with 33% in 2007. The biggest concern in the 2007 survey was unforeseen health-care expenses wiping out assets, with 43%, roughly the same percentage as in the current survey.
Forty-one percent said their most important goal was assuring a certain level of lifestyle in retirement, down from 43% in 2007. Meanwhile, 25% said their most important financial goal was to not run out of money in retirement.
The survey, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 20, was based on 1,700 responses, which included Phoenix clients and non-clients. — Jeff Nash