The rich are bullish on the economy just like the investing middle class. The difference I’ve noticed from surveys and speaking to people of both classes is that the rich hold much more cash (risk free assets) as part of their net worth as compared to the average person. Citi Private Bank came out with a survey of 50 representatives who manage high net-worth families that nearly two-thirds of their clients think it’s more likely the stock market will go up at least 10% in the coming year than lose value. I can get behind this bet.
Yet these same wealthy investors have, on average, almost 40% of their portfolio in cash with stocks averaging only 25% of their portfolios! The rest are in bonds, commodities, and real estate. 40% is a shockingly high number that completely goes against the wealthy class’s beliefs about the future. I get prodded by young investors who’ve never seen a bear market all the time on why I have 25% of my net worth in 3.5-4.2% yielding CDs. Usually I just smile and move on because there’s no use arguing when times are good because everybody thinks they’re a genius.
This post attempts to understand why those with financial means stay conservative even in a raging bull market. I’ve spoken to dozens of multi-millionaires about their net worth asset allocation and have found similar, but not as extreme high cash allocations. These findings run very counter to the young bucks I encounter with $150,000 stock portfolios that make up 90%+ of their net worths.