We’d better hope Fitzgerald was right about the very rich being different from you and me. For one thing, his literary reputation can’t survive very many more setbacks. And for another, the very rich – as revealed in A Portrait of the Affluent in America Today, U.S. Trust’s annual survey of the richest one percent of Americans – are a bundle of obvious contradictions and icky idiosyncrasies. Among the highlights:
93% cite willingness to work hard as an extremely important source of financial success.
25% value money because it makes it possible not to work too hard.
11% believe education funding should be eliminated or cut, to reduce federal spending.
51% have set up brokerage accounts for their children to teach them the value of money.
34% have helped their children obtain a credit card, for which they pay the bills, to teach them the value of money.
43% believe graduate students should receive no weekly allowance.
57% believe the average weekly allowance for a graduate student should be $36.30.
51% require their children to do the laundry.
9% list plastic surgery as a “non-academic advantage” they have given their children.
57% believe “street smarts” are a very important attribute of an investment professional.
20% cite the frequency of visits or calls as an important influence on children’s inheritance.
12% cite “who fights with you less” as an important influence on children’s inheritance.
28% cite “plain old good luck” as a factor in their success.
1% of respondents’ assets will be left to their pets (assuming no living spouse).