SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Mar 18, 2013) - Almost half of all middle-class households (45%) spend equal to or greater than their monthly earnings, and the majority of these households are not prepared for potential setbacks with a sufficient emergency fund -- according to a new survey released today by NestWise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LPL Holdings Inc. designed to provide personal and affordable financial advice to Americans in the middle class. Additionally, survey results found that 65% of middle-class households wish they had someone they could trust to help them with their finance and investment decisions.

"No generation of Americans has ever had so much personal financial responsibility, with so much riding on the financial choices they make every day," said Esther Stearns, CEO of NestWise. "It's encouraging that so many households recognize they could use help, and that's why it's so important that all Americans to have access to high quality, personal financial advice. NestWise is filling that gap."

While the middle class faces daily financial challenges, survey results found that households are continuing to make important gains. Over half (51%) of all middle-class households are better off now than they were five years ago, and the vast majority (72%) are confident in their ability to achieve long-term financial goals. Despite this optimism, many middle-class Americans are not exhibiting the financial behaviors that would set them up to achieve and maintain their financial goals, including spending less than they earn and building an emergency fund. Factors beyond their control -- such as the uncertainty of the economy and the way the government has handled the fiscal cliff -- are adding an extra layer of anxiety.

According to the survey:

  • 54% of middle-class households have anxiety about the uncertainty of the American economy.
  • 43% of middle-class households are worried about increased taxes.
  • 47% of all middle-class households are concerned about their retirement savings.
    • For many, 401ks are the primary form of investable assets, but 57% are uncomfortable making investment decisions about their company's retirement plan.
  • 34% of middle-class households are concerned about losing their job and not being able to find another one.
  • 33% of middle-class households have expressed anxiety about the value of their home.
  • 61% of middle-class households wish they had a better approach to financial planning.

Recognizing these challenges, 65% of middle-class households reported that they wish they had professional financial advice and 61% wish they had a better approach to financial planning, but didn't believe that was available to them. Of those not currently working with a financial professional, the top two reasons given as to why are -- 31% believe they cannot afford one, and 35% do not believe they have enough money to invest.

*For a copy of the full survey, please contact Lana Gersten at or 312-846-1655.

About the survey
Study on Financial Attitudes of the Middle Class by Northstar Research Partners for NestWise, December 2012. This online survey consisted of 1053 individuals ages 27-55 with incomes $50k-150k who are the sole or joint decision maker for household investment decisions. The findings presented here are for the 385 respondents representing a National sample.

About NestWise
NestWise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LPL Holdings Inc. serves a broad set of financial needs for middle-class families and individuals through independent fee-based financial advisors. The company was launched in 2012 to address the compelling need for access to high-quality, affordable personal financial advice among many middle-class families and individuals. 

NestWise advisors leverage a financial planning platform and managed investment portfolios to provide a range of customized strategies to their clients. 

NestWise, a Registered Investment Advisor.

Contact Information:

Lana Gersten