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Survey Finds Charitable Giving by Wealthy Remained Constant in 2001

(Aug. 2, 2002) WASHINGTON (AFP eWire) - A newly released survey titled Wealth Management Survey of High Net Worth, has found that despite an unstable economy in 2001, wealthy Americans have remained constant in their charitable giving.

Based on a poll of 1,649 "financial decision-makers" of households with a net worth of $1 million dollars or more, researchers found that 71 percent remained constant in their charitable giving since 2001, while an additional 20 percent increased their donations since last year. However, there are some changes in the recipients of this generosity with 25 percent of respondents pouring donations into Sept. 11 relief funds as opposed to the traditional gifts to charities such as United Way, alma maters and medical research foundations.

Though giving has remained consistent, researchers found that only 69 percent of wealthy Americans felt obligated to contribute to their communities in 2002, compared with 79 percent in 2001. This change in attitude stems from a new confidence in the nation's economy but insecurity about personal finances.

The survey reports that 90 percent of the wealthy are optimistic about the economy, while only 40 percent are confident in their personal finances. In 1999, 56 percent were confident about their financial futures. Due to this lack of confidence in personal finance, the wealthy have made a greater effort to hire financial advisors, plan new retirement strategies and change their investment priorities.

Although there have been no significant changes in charitable giving thus far, the statistics show that if the wealthy continue to concentrate entirely on maintaining their personal finances, charitable giving may become less of a priority.

The Phoenix Companies of Hartford Connecticut conducted the third annual Wealth Management Survey of High Net Worth survey in March 2002.

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