Moneyed People in Boston Are Optimistic About the Economy

A new Morgan Stanley Research poll of individuals with high net worth contains good tidings.

If people with money are to be trusted, especially those in Boston, you should be feeling mildly optimistic about the economy in the coming year.

That’s according to Morgan Stanley Research, which released the results of its poll of high net worth individuals both nationwide and in Boston. As in past years, the poll sought out those with $100,000 or more in investable assets, who comprise about one fifth of American households. The report contains some obvious insights, like the fact that “millionaires (31 percent) are less concerned about having enough money to cover unexpected events than all investors (51 percent).” Well, duh.

But the reason we all care what this group thinks about the economy and investments is that they “account for 94 percent of total investable assets by value.” Their opinions on the strength of various investments and the economy as a whole matters because their behavior seriously affects it.

And among Americans with money to invest, those in Boston were feeling particularly optimistic this year. “Most Boston-area HNW investors (77 percent) feel that the economy will be the same or better by the end of 2013.” Nationally, just 62 percent of the those polt felt the same. Boston respondents were also slightly more optimistic about their personal finances. “Even more (87 percent) expect their own household’s investment portfolios to be the same or better. A similarly high proportion of investors (85 percent) are confident of achieving their long-term financial and retirement goals.”

That said, it’s not all roses and sunshine in High Net Worth Investor land. Ninety-one percent of those interviewed were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about America’s budget deficit. “Most are also worried about the nation’s economic prospects (87 percent) and the trade deficit (76 percent), as well as increased foreign conflicts (80 percent). ” Nationally, people are also concerned with the effects of terrorism.

Morgan Stanley sought insight not just into rich people’s opinions but their habits, too. One of the more interesting is what they plan to do with their money. The short answer is that they’re giving it to their kids. “Children are cited as recipients far and away most often (by 81 percent),” the report reads. “Then come a spouse (36 percent), grandchildren (29 percent), one or more charities (21 percent), another family member other than a parent or in-law (9 percent), a school or university (8 percent), someone else (5 percent) and a parent or in-law (1 percent).”

At any rate, the poll contains interesting insights into the national mood among high net worth investors and even the regional differences among them. If their optimism bears out, it’s not bad news for the rest of us, either.