With the economy on the mend, many Americans are looking at the future with more optimism than they did prior to the recession. According to Mintel’s recently published Wealth Management—January 2011 report, more than eight in 10 high net worth households (defined as households with at least $500K in investable assets excluding real estate) say they are optimistic about their own financial situation over the next five years. Almost as many (76%) say they are optimistic for a shorter 12 month term, but a significant number remain pessimistic about 2011 (42%).

Women respondents are much more pessimistic than men, with more than half of women (51%) saying they are pessimistic vs. 36% of males in high net worth households. About half of respondents say that they have cut back or deferred spending because of the recession, and women report that they are doing this in greater numbers than men.

“Clearly, wealthy households are feeling much less of a pinch than other households,” states Susan Menke, vice president and behavioral economist at Mintel Comperemedia. “But a number of developments have given them cause for concern.”

One such development is that more than half (54%) say that their household has been directly impacted by declining real estate valuations. Another could be that there is substantial concern about a potential job loss in their household—about one in three state they are worried that they or someone else may lose their job. And about half say they are trying to make up for what they’ve lost in their retirement savings accounts.

“Retirement advice and planning is a big focus right now for high net worth individuals, even more so than what we saw in 2008,” states Susan Menke. “Advisors might also want to focus on the women in this group, since this is much more important to the women in our survey than for men. The time is right to focus on adjustments to retirement portfolios for high net worth individuals, and women across all age groups would be an opportune place to start.”

[Source:  “Wealth Management – January 2011.”  Mintel.  1 Feb. 2011.  Web.  23 Feb. 2011.]