Are Texans' perceptions of personal wealth and
readiness for retirement holding or folding? Residents from Texas' three largest
cities believe they have accrued more wealth than their parents did when they
were their age. However, many are not confident they will have enough money for
retirement and plan to work until they are no longer able, according to a new
survey by Wealth Enhancement Group, which now offers Accession, a wealth
management service for affluent individuals and families in Texas.
The study surveyed 515 residents, ages 26-75, from Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio on their perceived financial security*. Of respondents still working, nearly half said they plan on working until they are no longer able. About 16 percent of the participants surveyed, meanwhile, said they were "very" confident they will have enough money for retirement. Recent findings conclude that while Texans are more confident about their retirement than the national average (13 percent**), they are still concerned about their financial security.
"I think what this survey captures is that generations currently in their wealth-building years are facing a new reality: retirement is no longer guaranteed," says Bruce Helmer, co-founder of Wealth Enhancement Group, a financial advisor and author of the book Real Wealth. "For many years now, members of the baby boomer generation and Generation X learned that they may not receive Social Security benefits. Combine that with the greatest recession since the Great Depression, credit card debt and employers having to tighten on benefits, no wonder so many Texans feel uncertain about their retirement."
And if survey participants inherited $10,000, would they pay down debt or invest it toward their retirement? Among the four choices provided, nearly half said they would invest it (49 percent), before paying it toward their debt (43 percent), splurging on an extravagant purchase (6 percent) or donating it (2 percent). Of those surveyed, Dallas respondents said they were more likely to splurge on an extravagant purchase (8 percent) than those in Houston (6 percent) or San Antonio (5 percent).
Helmer says, "Of those surveyed, a combined 92 percent said they would either invest or pay down debt with an inheritance of $10,000. This finding points to Texans' financial prowess. Although retirement confidence is not where we want it to be, with those statistics, it's not surprising that retirement confidence is higher in Texas than the national average."
More than one-in-three Texans (34 percent) no longer believe the American dream is defined as owning a home. Indicating a generational gap, the majority of Texans surveyed over the age of 55 still believe home ownership is the American dream (55 percent of 55- to 75-year-olds).
Leaving a Financial Legacy
Survey respondents were asked if they had only one month to live, where would they want to leave their money. Among the four choices provided, participants were least likely to leave their money to an institution (1 percent), such as a medical center or university. Their priorities instead were friends or family (89 percent), followed by charities (7 percent) and faith-based organizations (3 percent). Residents in Dallas were the least likely to choose a faith-based organization (2 percent) than those residing in San Antonio or Houston (4
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