New Merrill Study Finds Affluent Asian American and Pacific Islanders More Likely to Financially Support Aging Parents and Their Children’s Education Than the General Affluent Population

March 28, 2023 at 9:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK, NY - Today, Merrill Wealth Management published, “Diverse Viewpoints: Exploring Wealth in the APPI Community,” a study examining affluent Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), the fastest growing minority community in the U.S.1 While the AAPI community accounts for 7% of the U.S. population, it represents 10% of the country’s affluent population. The report aims to better understand how individuals in this community achieve success and grow their wealth, along with their motivations, priorities and goals for the future. 

“The study is the latest example of our commitment to explore and better understand the diverse experiences and financial paths of the communities we serve,” said Andy Sieg, president of Merrill Wealth Management. “At Merrill, we form trusted relationships that take into account clients’ unique needs and life circumstances.”

A highly nuanced population representing 50 ethnic communities,2 the study uncovered common themes across the affluent AAPI community in the U.S. on topics including family, entrepreneurialism and managing finances.

Family at the cornerstone.

  • Nearly 80% of AAPI respondents ranked family as one of the most important aspects of their life.
  • Compared to the general affluent population, members of this community are twice as likely to feel financially responsible to assist aging parents, and three times more likely to financially support family members abroad.
  • 50% more AAPI respondents prioritized paying for their children’s education than the general affluent population.
  • This community is also 25% more likely than the general affluent population to say inheritance and passing down wealth is part of their financial plan.

Entrepreneurial generational shift.

  • Members of the AAPI community are twice as likely to have started a business than the general affluent population (27% vs. 13%).
  • Among younger generations and those born in the U.S., entrepreneurism is less common. Affluent AAPI between the ages of 20-54 are half as likely to aspire to start their own business compared to the general affluent population their same age.

Hands-on approach to finances.

  • Only 54% of affluent AAPI respondents feel prepared for unexpected expenses and emergencies, compared to 61% of the general affluent population.
  • 72% say it is important to be debt-free, compared to 65% of the general affluent population.
  • 48% make most of their own investment decisions though use an advisor for specialized needs (vs. 33% of the general affluent population).
  • 42% prefer to learn about managing finances on their own vs. 32% of the general affluent population.

Conducted by research firm Ipsos, this report is the latest edition of Merrill’s research titled

“Diverse Viewpoints: Understanding Affluence in the U.S.” Launched in 2021, previously released research examined the financial motivators of affluent Black/African American, LGBTQ+ and Hispanic/Latino communities.


Ipsos conducted multiple waves of research from 2019 to 2022, employing a variety of research methodologies, starting out by interviewing Merrill stakeholders who serve and represent the diverse communities covered within this report. In parallel, they synthesized and reviewed an array of publications and academic research on the topics of diversity, wealth and inclusion in financial services and beyond. The Quantitative research was conducted from April to May 2022 in which Ipsos spoke with n=745+ members of the AAPI community and compared them to a representative sample of the n=150 respondents from the affluent general population.

Bank of America

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Merrill or any of its affiliates are not affiliated with Ipsos.

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Reporters may contact:

Julia Ehrenfeld, Bank of America
Phone: 1.646.855.3267


MAP #5420011



1 “2020 Census Illuminates Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Country,” United States Census Bureau, August 2021.

2 “20.6 Million People in the U.S. Identify as Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander,” United States Census Bureau, May 2022.