Atlanta: Where Success Is Defined by Making a Difference for Others

December 6, 2017 at 9:30 AM Eastern

To many Atlanta residents, providing for family (76 percent), having a family (53 percent) and making a difference in the lives of those in need (43 percent) are much more essential to their success than tallying personal and career-related achievements.

In fact, only 10 percent of Atlanta residents believe having an impressive resume or having a million dollars in the bank are key factors to success.

These sentiments are in line with all Americans, who also believe providing for family (73 percent) and having a family (52 percent) are most essential to success.

These findings are according to the latest Merrill Edge Report, a biannual survey of 1,000 mass affluent Americans that oversampled 306 Atlanta residents between September 6 and September 24, 2017. The report reveals significant similarities in how Atlanta residents and Americans as a whole define success and save for the future.

“This fall’s Merrill Edge Report shows Atlanta respondents – and Americans across the country – are putting family first when it comes to saving,” said Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge, who is based in Atlanta. “We’re seeing an emphasis on family in nearly every aspect of Atlanta residents’ finances. Although every family is different, one thing is constant: the importance of establishing long- and short-term financial goals and creating a tailored saving and investing plan to best pursue these goals – whether it’s something you do independently or with an advisor.”

Financial sacrifices

The desire to provide for family may be the reason why Atlanta respondents are willing to make financial sacrifices today to save more money in the long run. The sacrifices they’re willing to make include cutting back on going out (38 percent), skipping vacation for a year (30 percent) and getting a side job (24 percent).

This family-first mentality could also be why Atlanta respondents and Americans in general appear to be risk averse.

Fifty-eight percent of Atlanta respondents view quitting their job without another one lined up as risky, compared to 54 percent of all respondents. Atlanta respondents also view taking a job without benefits (44 percent versus 39 percent nationally) and not investing in a 401(k) (39 percent versus 35 percent nationally) as riskier than many Americans do.

Recession predictions

Sixty-five percent of Atlanta residents predict there will be another recession in their lifetime, and 76 percent predict one will happen in their children’s lifetime.

Perhaps these sentiments are driving respondents to be more hands-on with their investments, as 40 percent of Atlanta respondents consult a financial advisor a couple of times a year to check on their day-to-day finances. Forty-eight percent of Atlanta residents check their day-to-day finances online every day or several times a week.


Merrill Edge Survey Methodology

Convergys (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative, panel-sample online survey on behalf of Merrill Edge Sept. 6-24, 2017. The survey consisted of 1,010 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S. Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 34 (millennials) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 34 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 35-plus with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000. For this purpose, investable assets consist of the value of all cash, savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, stocks, bonds and all other types of investments excluding primary home and other real estate investments. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass affluents in the following markets: Southern California, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Atlanta, and Phoenix. An additional group of 205 Generation Z respondents was surveyed. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent for the national sample, about +/- 5.6 percent for the oversample markets, and +/- 6.8 percent for the Gen Z group, all reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is a streamlined investment service that provides access to the investment insights of Merrill Lynch and the convenience of Bank of America banking. With Merrill Edge, clients can view their Merrill Edge investment and Bank of America bank accounts on one page online. They also have access to easy-to-use tools, actionable insights, one-on-one guidance and competitive pricing for online trades.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,500 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 34 million active users, including 24 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom. Register for news email alerts.

Neither Merrill Lynch nor any of its affiliates or financial advisors provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.

Merrill Edge® is available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S), and consists of the Merrill Edge Advisory Center (investment guidance) and self-directed online investing.

MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.

Investment products:

Are Not FDIC Insured     Are Not Bank Guaranteed    May Lose Value

© 2017 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.


Reporters May Contact:
Susan Atran, Bank of America
Phone: 1.646.743.0791