Most American millionaires cite smart saving over investment choices as the key ingredient to their financial success and very few have benefited from inheritance or a rich spouse, according to the PNC Wealth and Values Survey.
Saving early and regularly is named most often (56 percent) as the personal decision that most influenced their financial success, according to the survey by PNC Wealth Management, a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). Controlling spending (38 percent) and making good investment decisions (38 percent) were next, while “earning a lot of money” is fourth on the list, mentioned by 26 percent. Even fewer cite an inheritance (12 percent) or marrying someone with money (3 percent) as significant.
Asked to rank the greatest influences, two-thirds (65 percent) said “hard work” followed by good decisions (16 percent), discipline (8 percent) and luck (7 percent).
“For individuals who aspire to be millionaires, the survey results are positive. The most likely path to building wealth is not through inheritance, marriage or luck,” said Joseph Jennings, director of investments for PNC Wealth Management. “Most of the millionaires surveyed have controlled their own destiny by working hard and saving early and regularly. These are personal choices over which we all have control. This indicates that the ‘American dream’ is still very much alive.”
The seeds of success were planted early for most American millionaires, but they have yielded an outcome that goes beyond what they expected. Three out of four (76 percent) expected as they were growing up that they would be successful financially but most (81 percent) express pleasant surprise at the scale of their success.
Slightly more than one third (36 percent) have accumulated at least $1 million within the last decade, with the same number (36 percent) having done so within the past 10-20 years. Fewer than one in three (28 percent) have had at least this much money for more than 20 years.
Most millionaires (53 percent) say that whatever financial acumen they have is largely self-taught, but the vast majority (77 percent) now work with a financial professional to help manage their wealth. For most, the relationship is very much a collaboration; fewer either delegate most decisions to their advisors or rely solely on their own judgment.
American millionaires report that now they are more at peace and enjoying life more, whereas 10 years ago they were much more likely to be pushing to achieve more.
Most have been able to move beyond a concern about saving enough for retirement (a key priority now for just 8 percent) or paying down debt (a priority for just 2 percent). Now they are most concentrated on having enough money to live comfortably in retirement (the top concern for 57 percent).
Preservation of capital continues to be the main focus for this group, cited more than twice as often (51 percent) as accumulation (23 percent) as a major concern.
An online media kit containing survey highlights and background information are available on PNC’s website athttp://www.pnc.com/pncpresskits.
The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (www.pnc.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. Follow @PNCNews on Twitter for breaking news, updates and announcements from PNC.