Things that keep Middle Class Millionaires up at night!

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At ActivateLegacy our goal is to help nonprofits and charities find the “middle class millionaires” in their organizations – like Bob whom I wrote about in an earlier post.  So who are these middle-class millionaires and what puts them into this category?

We consider middle class millionaires to be individuals or families who have total assets of $10 million or less. People in this category represent roughly 94% (or 7.8 million of the 8.4 million) of the estimated Millionaires in the United States. On average, their net assets are $3.7 million with the median net assets or largest grouping to be around $1.5 million.

Most middle class millionaires do not think they are wealthy and few have done any comprehensive financial planning. As a general rule, they also receive little attention from fundraisers mostly because neither the organization nor the individual/family is aware of their capacity to give.

When middle-class millionaires are asked about what keeps them up at night, related to their long-term financial well- being, the top responses are:

  1. Running out of money – Almost 90% listed this as their top concern
  2. Rising medical costs – Retirees experience a higher rate of inflation (sometimes substantially more) due to medical costs, assisted living, nursing home care, etc.
  3. Living Longer – Average lifespan has increased 40% in just the past 15 years.

In a large scale survey conducted by Prince & Associates, the top five financial concerns for millionaires were:

  1. Enough money for their Heirs – 79%
  2. Medical Costs – 77%
  3. Retirement Income – 71%
  4. Kids & Grandkids Education – 48%
  5. Being Sued – 47%

Near the bottom of the survey responses was Giving to Charities – listed at just 27%. Clearly the findings show that middle class millionaires have bigger worries than giving to a cherished charity even though many of these causes are deeply important to them.

So what can charities do about this?  In our opinion, it starts with your organization becoming a financial education resource to your donors by truly becoming donor-centric!  So how could an organization become donor-centric?  Start by:

Organizing those loyal volunteers in your ranks who work in the financial industry (CPA’s attorneys, insurance professionals, bankers, investment professionals, etc.) into a skilled Philanthropic Advisory Council.   In doing so, this group quickly becomes your own internal Gift Planning resource. Leverage your Philanthropic Advisory Council’s expertise to address the concerns mentioned above by offering your donors info-pack articles and workshop on:

  • Estate Planning
  • Health and Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Retirement Income Planning information
  • Small Business Exit Strategy (Did you know that roughly 70% of small business owners have done little to no retirement or business transition planning?)
  • Elder Law information
  • Wills and Trusts

Offering these resources to your donors will generate appreciation and trust. They will feel valued and understood. Offering educational sessions and resources such as these also promote significant follow-up conversations between donors, members of your Council, and your development staff.  This in turn will create interest in Gift Planning and provide opportunities for donors to consider how their passions intersect with your organization’s mission – and how they might create impact through your work.

Demonstrating that you value your donors’ concerns is critical when creating a successful and sustainable gift planning culture.


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