Eager to Remain Independent in Retirement, South Floridians Look to Overcome Financial Obstacles in 2016

Merrill Edge® Report Finds Many Dealing With
Economic Pressures and Debt on the Road to a Better Retirement

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The majority of South Floridians believe they will be saving more (78
percent), spending less (60 percent) and investing more (59 percent) in
2016, according to a new survey released today by Bank of America and
Merrill Edge.

The latest Merrill
Edge® Report
reveals these forward-looking financial
behaviors may be in anticipation of a desired lifestyle upgrade during
their retirement years. The national survey found the majority of
respondents plan to improve their standard of living in retirement,
versus using their budget only for the necessities. South Florida area
residents appear to share the same sentiments:

  • Today, nearly half (44 percent) say they would not be willing to move
    in with friends or family during retirement to minimize expenses.
  • One-quarter (25 percent) of South Florida respondents are not willing
    to set a budget in their retirement years.
  • More than one in five (23 percent) would not be willing to move to a
    smaller home in retirement.

“With the majority of South Floridians planning to invest more in 2016,
we’re seeing a willingness and eagerness to begin having serious,
significant discussions about pursuing their ideal retirement,
ultimately helping our clients and customers get to and more importantly
through retirement,” said Andrew Wilson, regional sales executive at
Merrill Edge.

The biannual survey of 1,000 Americans with investable assets of $50,000
to $250,000 found that despite an optimistic outlook for 2016 and their
retirement years, many are still impacted by external economic pressures
and justifiable debt today, potentially keeping them from achieving
their financial goals.

Many (41 percent) respondents view the current economy as the factor
most likely to impact their spending habits, compared to their saving or
investment behaviors. And despite planning to spend less in the upcoming
year, South Florida residents still think some specific expenses are
worth taking on debt:

  • Nearly half have gone into debt for a home (46 percent) or for a car
    (45 percent).
  • One-third (33 percent) of area respondents report they have gone into
    debt for home improvements or renovations.
  • Compared to the national level, more South Florida residents have
    invested in education and taken on student debt for themselves (22
    percent compared to 16 percent nationally).

In looking back on their splurges, most South Florida residents remain
confident in the majority of their debt-inducing expenses. Out of the 46
percent of the South Florida locals who went into debt for a house, 81
percent affirm that it was worth going into debt, perhaps viewing their
debt as a long-term investment. Additionally, of the 45 percent who went
into debt for a car, 68 percent still believed it was “worth it.”

For more in-depth information about the financial behaviors and
priorities of mass affluent Americans, read the entire Merrill Edge
Report Fall 2015 or take our poll here.
A complementing infographic is available here.

Merrill Edge Survey Methodology
Braun Research, Inc. conducted a
nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Merrill Edge.
The survey was conducted from September 8 through September 20, 2015,
and consisted of 1,001 mass affluent respondents throughout the U.S.,
defined as individuals with investable assets (value of all cash,
savings, mutual funds, CDs, IRAs, stock, bonds and all other types of
investments excluding primary home and other real estate investments).
Respondents in the study were defined as aged 18 to 34 (millennials)
with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those aged 18 to
34 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual
income of at least $50,000; or aged 35-plus with investable assets
between $50,000 and $250,000. We conducted an oversampling of 300 mass
affluents in the following markets: San Francisco; Los Angeles; Orange
County, California; Dallas; New Jersey; South Florida; Chicago; and
Phoenix. The markets of Chicago and Phoenix were newly surveyed this
wave. The margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent for the national sample and
about +/- 5.7 percent for the oversample markets, all reported at a 95
percent confidence level.

Merrill Edge
Merrill Edge is a streamlined investment service that
provides access to the investment insights of Merrill Lynch and the
convenience of Bank of America banking. With Merrill Edge, clients can
view their Merrill Edge investment and Bank of America bank accounts on
one page online. They also have access to easy-to-use tools, actionable
insights, one-on-one guidance and competitive pricing for online trades.
If clients prefer to receive advice and guidance to pursue and track
financial goals, Merrill Edge Roadmap® allows them to work one-on-one
with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor to develop a
personalized action plan and receive specific investment recommendations
tailored to them and their personal goals.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading
financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and
middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of
banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk
management products and services. The company provides unmatched
convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million
consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,700
retail financial centers, approximately 16,100 ATMs, and award-winning
online banking with 32 million active users and more than 18 million
mobile users. Bank of America is among the world’s leading wealth
management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment
banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving
corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the
world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately
3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative,
easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients
through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S.
Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America
Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Kristen Georgian, Bank of America,