How America's Wealthy Live - Some Surprises

Physician's Money Digest, July31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 14

When F. Scott Fitzgerald remarkedto Ernest Hemingway that therich were different from them, Hemingwayresponded, "Yes, they have money."This famous exchange may hold water,according to a recent survey from theAmerican Affluence Research Center( The spring2004 survey shows that the amount ofmoney the well-to-do have may actuallybe the main difference between affluentAmericans and their fellow citizens.

Among those with a net worth over$3 million and more than $360,000 inannual income, the favorite leisure-timeactivity is not spending time on expensivehobbies, but being with family andfriends, and instead of shopping at high-endboutiques, the three stores wherewell-to-do men spend the most time areHome Depot, Costco, and Target. Affluentwomen name the same topthree, but put Target at the top of thelist, followed by Home Depot.

Growth Looking Good

A change in the direction of theeconomy has those at the top of themoney heap looking for growth in theirinvestments once again. A year ago,the survey showed that the investmentsof the wealthy were split equallybetween growth and preservation ofcapital; the current survey shows thatmore than twice as many are nowinvesting for growth as those investingfor capital preservation.

But while the wealthy like the lookof the economy, they are less optimisticabout the state of the stock market inthe coming year. And perhaps in reactionto the recent run-up in stocks, thenumber of wealthy Americans whoconsider themselves better off financiallythan they were 2 years ago is twoand a half times the number of thosewho consider themselves worse off.

Spending the Wealth

The survey indicates that charitablecontributions and domestic travel spendingwill probably increase over the nextyear, while spending on some luxuryitems will probably fall off significantly.Among the items that the affluent saythey are planning to spend less on arephotographic equipment, jewelry, collectibles,and fashion apparel. Theamount the wealthy spend on homeconstruction, whether for a primary residenceor a vacation home, also figures todecline over the next 12 months.

Travel &Leisure, Architectural Digest, Forbes,


House Beautiful


Travel & Leisure

For help in deciding what to spendtheir money on, affluent Americansdepend on word of mouth, printedarticles, or the Internet when they'relooking for a resort or other vacationdestination. When they're looking fornew products, conventional advertisingseems to provide them with the facts.The survey specifically asked whichnon-news magazines they're most likelyto read. Among the men, and lead the list. Women name and in additionto .