Defining a Life Well-Lived

Life Well Lived

While the vast majority of the 640 respondents to U.S. Trust Study of High Net-Worth Investors feel they are on the right path, eight in 10 identified at least one area of their lives, such as giving back and pursuing passions, that needs greater attention to make their life more fulfilling.

Respondents (who have at least $3 million in investable assets) almost unanimously agree (98 percent) that the most valuable asset they have is their health and investing in health is as important as investing to build wealth. Nine in 10 respondents are willing to spend more money on their health, and, not surprisingly given the high value placed on it, 31 percent of those over age 70 say they would spend any amount if they could have good health. Yet, despite this willingness to spend substantially on maintaining or restoring health, half have not planned financially for an unexpected or degenerative health issue.

While they view money as empowering, 75 percent say their purpose in life would not change even if they lost their wealth. Eighty-six percent say that giving back to society is an essential or important part of their lives, with women and millennials driving interest in giving and investing for social impact.

And while younger respondents focus primarily on work and financial security (83 percent of millennials say they struggle to balance competing priorities across their work, family, social and financial lives), health and family become more valuable later in life.

Other interesting findings include:

  • In these high net-worth HNW households, half of women contribute an equal share of household income or more income than their partners.
  • Nearly one in three (28 percent) overall and 53 percent of millennials say that their wealth comes at the expense of their health.
  • Although 54 percent of the wealthy believe their family would benefit from developing a formal set of principles to guide the purpose and meaning of their wealth, only one in 10 has done so.

Finally, only about one third of the wealthy are talking with an advisor about strategies around the goals they consider to be fundamentally more important, including identifying family needs and goals (36 percent) and planning for increased longevity (34 percent).

As Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust commented in the study’s press release, “A life well-lived shouldn’t be viewed through a rearview mirror with the final assessment of accomplishment or regret at the end of the journey. It can and should be carefully plotted and planned for.”

I couldn’t agree more. And a trusted advisor can help you plan for a “life well-lived.”

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