Feb 24 2016

Financial Preferences and Attributes of Middle-Income Investors

The American middle class has a profound market influence and encompasses a diverse spectrum of indi­viduals across a wide household income range. Members of these households generally range from “getting by” to living comfortably. More importantly, they are characterized by their aspirational lifestyles and seek home ownership, family stability, and often retirement security. 

As service and “security” leaders focused on the wealth-management needs of middle-income Americans, credit unions are positioned to gain the confidence and patronage of more members. Filene conducted this wealth management study to better understand the preferences and attributes of middle-income investors. Drawing on more than 1,000 respondents, the multi-part research sketches the boundaries around middle-income investors, the drivers behind their wealth management decisions, and what types of finan­cial advisors appeal to them.

Who Are Middle-Income Investors?

Middle Income Investors from Filene Research on Vimeo.

This first summary deck outlines factors including income, gender, age, education level, asset ownership, and satisfaction with current financial services. Middle-income consumers are making a fairwage and overwhelmingly use some type of financial service (checking, savings, or loans), yet they often also have family or personal needs that keep them focused on the short term; only a third have started to invest for the future.

View Summary Deck #1 -
Middle Income Investors

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What Drives Middle-Income Investors' Wealth Management Decisions?

Choosing an Advisor: How, when, and why? from Filene Research on Vimeo.

How do middle-income Americans make their wealth management decisions? How do they choose an advisor? Family, personal circumstances, and the availability of current market options all play a role. This report explores what drives a middle-income investor to select a wealth management service, be it a full-service firm or a software service. Most of those who currently receive wealth management services initially became interested because they “just felt it was time.”



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What Drives Investment Decisions?

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What Type of Financial Advisor Appeals to the Middle-Income Investor?  

Investors Have Choices from Filene Research on Vimeo.

Our research shows that middle-income investors want a financial advisor who is local and trustworthy. And at the heart of any client-advisor relationship is quality service. This report highlights the importance of keeping things simple. Middle-income investors want to do what’s best for their future investments and may feel that local, independent advisors are the perfect fit. As income increases, so does the complexity of advisors consumers seek.

View Summary Deck #3 -
What Type of Advisor Do They Choose?

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Filene thanks its generous supporters for making this important research possible: 

Report Number 399