SOURCE: Spectrem Group

March 20, 2013 13:11 ET

With Wealthy Investors, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

How Investors Describe Themselves Is Often at Odds With Actual Investments

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Mar 20, 2013) - Wealthy investors are nearly three times more likely to describe their risk tolerance as moderate than conservative or aggressive -- 57% versus 20% for each of the other categories, according to Spectrem Group's new ezine High Net Worth Investors: Risk Tolerance in a Volatile Market. In the survey of 1,800 investors with a net worth between $100,000 and $25 million, just 2% say they are very aggressive.

But these characterizations often don't hold up when investors describe their investment holdings, decision making and philosophies: Many self-described moderate investors are actually conservative in their investment decisions and portfolios. And many self-described aggressive investors follow a mixed approach to capital preservation and growth that puts them in the moderate camp, Spectrem found.

"There is a limited correlation between how investors describe their risk tolerance and how they actually make investment decisions," says George H. Walper Jr., President of Spectrem Group. "A much more accurate gauge of risk tolerance is an investor's primary goal of growing assets or protecting them, followed by the investor's time horizon, with shorter timetables leading to more conservative investments."

This dichotomy between what investors say their risk tolerance is and what they do cuts across the three wealth segments -- Mass Affluent, Millionaire and Ultra High Net Worth -- as well as professions and age groups. Investors' actual risk tolerance affects their willingness to change advisors, move assets after the loss in a single year or multiple years and even how they evaluate investments, with conservative investors more focused on the potential downside and aggressive investors more focused on the potential gains.

Additional insights about wealthy investors' risk tolerance can be found at Spectrem's Millionaire Corner, including:

About Spectrem Group
Spectrem Group strategically analyzes its ongoing primary research with investors to assist financial providers and advisors in understanding the Voice of the Investor.

About Spectrem's Millionaire Corner
Millionaire Corner is an independent online resource for investors and about investors. With its Find an Advisor service, investors are able to search for financial and investment advisors to assist in growing their wealth.