Gasp! Rich People Are Penny-Pinching!


Quick — pass your richest friend a hankie! His brow is probably moist with nervous sweat. A new study revealed the real-estate and banking crisis has caused rich people to fret about their financial security. According to the latest annual survey of Affluence & Wealth in America by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group, six out of ten American families with a median income of $325,000 said they are now worried about running out of money. They plan to mitigate this anxiety with cutbacks, particularly during the holiday shopping season.

“It would appear that we are shifting from an ‘I want’ to ‘I need’ economy in which people are looking out for the interest of the people they love more than their own interests. If there is a silver lining in the current malaise, growing thoughtfulness in gift giving and family purchasing may be it,” said [Jim Taylor, vice-chairman of the Harrison Group].

Let's define "current malaise" as it relates to this demographic: More than 70 percent "are looking more carefully at their spending on luxury categories to see where money can be saved," 83 percent won't buy until things go on sale, and 2 percent "plan to eliminate spending on big-ticket items." Basically, they're still buying luxury goods, but perhaps not as many. So in an "I need" economy, one can rationalize purchasing two Louis Vuitton suitcases, but perhaps not the duffel bags that go with them?

Affluent Shoppers Feel Affect of Economy [DNR]