High-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) see inflation, rising interest rates and cybercrime as the most significant risks to their personal finances, according to the second edition of the Saltus Wealth Index.
The Saltus Wealth Index surveyed attitudes of over 1,000 people in the UK with investable assets of over £250,000 about how they felt about the UK economy, their own wealth and lifestyles. Working with Dr Mike Peacey, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol, the responses have been aggregated into a single index to track how these feelings change over time.
Currently the Saltus Wealth Index stands at 68 out of 100, suggesting there are a number of issues causing concern.
Inflation is the biggest concern
While younger respondents remain fairly confident in the future of the UK economy and their own wealth, older HNWIs express significant concerns. Just a third (34%) of 55-64s and less than a quarter (23%) of over 65s say they feel confident – half the number than felt confident six months ago.
Furthermore, while generally respondents feel confident about their own finances over the next six months (85% ), amongst older people this drops to just half. And when asked what they see as the biggest threat to their finances, inflation was the top response (33%), followed by COVID-19 (30%), exchange rates (25%), cyber security (25%), and geopolitical risks (22%).
This marks a shift from last year, when COVID-19 was the top threat, followed by inflation, return on investments, Brexit, and climate change. The latter two are not even in the top five this time, while anxiety about cybersecurity has increased, moving from 6th to 4th.
When broken down by age, those aged 55 and over overwhelmingly see inflation as the top risk. When asked which they are more concerned about, inflation or rising interest rates, 22% said inflation, 17% interest rates and 24% both equally; just 16% were not concerned about either.
Amongst over 65s that concern rose further, with 75% saying they were more worried about inflation than interest rates, 20% were concerned about both equally, while just 3% were not concerned about either.
Are you more concerned about the impact of rising inflation or rising interest rates on the UK economy?
|Rising interest rates||17%||27%||25%||15%||15%||9%||0%|
When measured by the wealth of respondents, those with assets up to £3m see inflation as the biggest threat, though for those with £3m+ it is climate change.
Anxiety about personal wealth remains, rising amongst older people
The research also revealed that well over half (58%) of respondents feel anxious about their money, with younger people much more likely to feel anxious than older generations. However, twice as many older people feel anxious than they did six months ago – 18% agree with the statement ‘my money makes me feel anxious’ compared to just 9% previously.
Michael Stimpson, Partner at Saltus, said, “This is the group of people whose intelligence and enterprise the UK will need as the country addresses the challenges of Levelling Up and Climate Change, quite apart from paying down the country’s debt and financing its deficit. This research has revealed that most HNWIs have concerns about their money right now, with a majority saying their money makes them feel anxious.
“There are a number of factors causing these feelings of unease, with the impact of rising inflation the key concern, especially among older people whose fears about how it will affect their retirement plans highlights more than ever the importance of having a robust financial plan in place.”
Dr Mike Peacey, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Bristol who developed the methodology driving the Saltus Wealth Index, added, “The index currently stands at 68 out of 100, suggesting that whilst there is no absolute crisis of confidence among HNWIs yet, it is nowhere near as high as it could be. Over half of respondents stated that their money made them anxious, and over half were unsurprisingly concerned with either the economy or stock market going down. In addition, a sizable proportion of respondents were also concerned about the risks associated with inflation and interest rates.
“The unfortunate combination of recent events has caused challenges to the UK economy and placed extraordinary pressure on both public and private finances. This makes it a valuable time to track confidence, and the Saltus Wealth Index is a valuable diagnostic tool in understanding attitudes and behaviours and allows us to get under the bonnet of part of the UK economy in a way that has not previously been possible. Over time its value should only increase.”