Affluent Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders See Passing on Wealth as Key Financial Goal

A father, a mother and a child, with two laptops.

What You Need to Know

The Asian American and Pacific Islander community accounts for 7% of the U.S. population but represents 10% of its affluent population.
A Merrill Lynch study finds that 48% of AAPI respondents prefer to make their own financial decisions.
About a third of affluent Asian American and Pacific Islanders said a strong record of investment performance is key when choosing an advisor.

Asian American and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing minority community in the U.S. today, according to an August 2021 Census Bureau study. The AAPI community accounts for 7% of the country’s population but represents 10% of its affluent population, or those with a household income of at least $100,000.

In a new report, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management lays out research on the motivations, experiences and goals of the AAPI community, conducted to better understand its members and their financial needs.

The analysis focused specifically on affluent Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino and Indian American communities, and considered region (e.g., Southeast Asia or East Asia), gender, time spent living in the U.S. and other relevant factors.

The report acknowledges that the AAPI community is more heterogeneous than any other minority group in the country, and trying to capture all the cultural nuances, mindsets and identities was beyond the project’s scope.

Family Affair

Some 80% of AAPI research participants said family is one of the most important aspects of their life, well ahead of hard work and self.

Members of the AAPI community are twice as likely as the general affluent population to feel financially responsible to assist aging parents. This responsibility is also a top-of-mind source of financial stress for many, according to the report.

See also  How to Make Holiday Gatherings Safer During the Covid Pandemic

That may have to do with feeling obliged to support family members in another country, something they are three times likelier to do than other Americans.

AAPI respondents were 50% more likely than the general affluent population to prioritize paying for their children’s education.

The AAPI community is also 25% more likely than the general affluent population to consider inheritance and passing down wealth as part of a financial plan.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Twenty-seven percent of AAPI community members reported that they have started a business, and another 27% said they expect to do so in the future, compared with 13% and 33% of other affluent Americans.

AAPI individuals who have lived in the U.S. for five or fewer years are twice as likely as those born in the country to open a shop for themselves.