How do people define financial success? The answer is surprisingly consistent across all wealth segments, according to a poll by SEI.

Six in 10 penta-millionaires—those in households with more than $5 million in investable assets—chose absolute returns and total assets to gauge their success, nearly identical to people in the lower-tier mass affluent segment. SEI defines the wealth market as households with more than $1 million in investable assets and the mass affluent market as households with between $250,000 and $1 million in investable assets.

Risk and security ranked second as a measure of success, with about one in four in each of the three markets choosing them as success factors. Heirs and legacy was chosen as the measure of success by 13% of penta-millionaires, 13% of the wealth market, and 11% of the mass market, according to the survey.

The groups, however, differed in their investment decision-making, with the wealthier segments reporting being much more democratic following the financial crisis. Nearly half of the penta-millionaires polled (48%) said that their family makes investment and wealth management decisions more democratically after the crisis. By contrast, only 25% of the mass affluent said the same.

The survey polled more than 800 individuals representing households with an average of $1.2 million in investable assets. It was conducted by independent research firm Phoenix Market International early June.

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