Bank of America today announced local findings from the latest Merrill Edge® Report which reveal that 89 percent of Atlantans are highly optimistic about the local economy over the next five years, and many plan to retire in the greater metro area.
This biannual study of more than 1,000 mass affluent respondents explores Americans’ evolving financial concerns and priorities. Based on an oversample of 300 Atlanta residents1, the latest report finds 71 percent of area respondents have started planning for retirement, and 46 percent intend to live out their golden years in Atlanta:
“It’s great to see Atlanta residents of all ages planning for retirement, and great for the city that many intend to stay here,” said Aron Levine, head of Consumer Banking and Investments for Bank of America, who is based in Atlanta. “While area residents are confident about the growth of their city, many fear for their own financial security. Establishing a financial plan and tracking progress toward near and longer-term goals can be key to living comfortably today and in the future.”
Merrill is committed to empowering clients and helping them plan for the future at every age and in every stage of their financial lives through a combination of tools, people and know-how across Merrill Edge Self-Directed, Merrill Guided Investing, and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
Eighty-four percent of Atlantans believe how they manage their finances today would make their parents proud. This may be due in part to savvier spending habits and the fact that 84 percent of Atlanta residents improved their financial lives in meaningful ways in the last year, including raising their credit score (52 percent), paying off some or all of their credit card debt (51 percent) and establishing an emergency fund by setting enough aside to live on for three months without an income (33 percent).
Atlantans are also more optimistic they will reach certain financial milestones within their lifetime than their national counterparts, including:
While Atlantans are becoming more conscientious about money and mindful of their spending, many admit that their financial life weighs heavily on their personal well-being, affecting both their mental health (59 percent) and physical health (52 percent).
One source of concern is debt. Excluding their mortgages, 78 percent of residents are carrying around some form of debt.
Atlantans are also putting their money where their mouth is. Two in five are willing to spend more at a retailer whose values align with their own, while 51 percent would stop buying products from companies whose values fundamentally conflict with their own (compared to 40 percent nationally).
With one of the largest generational wealth transfers on the horizon, 94 percent of Atlantans want to leave money and other assets behind, mainly to their children (63 percent), spouse/partner (55 percent), siblings (16 percent) and nonprofit organizations (15 percent). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a plan in place to do so.
1 Merrill Edge Survey Methodology
Concentrix (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative, panel-sample online survey on behalf of Merrill Edge April 17-May 9, 2019. The survey consisted of 1,000 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S. Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 23 (Gen Z) with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to 23 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000; or aged 24-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 such as a 401(k), 403(B), and Roth IRA, but excluding primary home and other real estate investments. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass affluents in Atlanta. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent for the national sample and about +/- 5.6 percent for the oversample market, reported at a 95 percent confidence level.
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Matthew Daily, Bank of America