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WAM Insights: Economic Optimism Levels Off Slightly in November 2020

December 7, 2020

Economic Outlook

The Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor Economic Optimism trend line shifts from 48% to 47% in November among HNW investors, following six straight months of growth. Among the Mass Affluent investor audience this month, Economic Optimism falls from 51% in October to 42% in November, which breaks a trend of three months of growth, but is still well above ratings from the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Investing Outlook

The Wealth & Affluent Monitor Investment Outlook – the percentage of affluent investors that plan to increase their level of investments in the next three months – saw mixed results this wave between audiences. 38% of Mass Affluent investors indicate that they are likely to increase their investments, which is a 3% improvement versus October. The 38% Investment Outlook rating from Mass Affluent investors is the highest level seen since February 2020. Conversely, a notably lower frequency of High Net Worth respondents indicate increased investment activity when compared to last wave. Only 29% of HNW investors report a high Investment Outlook this month, the lowest point for this audience since mid-2019.

Perspective

The November 2020 Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor results break a several months-long trend of growth in both Economic Optimism and Investment Outlook, but do not necessarily indicate the start of another major negative shift in the market. How affluent investors feel about the US economic outlook was likely heavily impacted by major events such as the 2020 elections, news of potential COVID-19 vaccines, and more. Furthermore, with the approaching end of the calendar year, investor sentiment may also be once again impacted by considerations for taxes and other year-end financial decisions or deadlines. Given that Economic Optimism only erodes very slightly among HNW, and Investment Outlook still increases among the Mass Affluent group this month, this appears to simply be only the inevitable end to any long-running streak of growth, and not automatically indicative of any serious concerns for either investors, financial companies or professionals.

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