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Millionaires feeling richer

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, March 11, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Nostalgia is good for millionaires these days. In a survey by Northern Trust, 75 percent say the bull stock market has given them reason to feel they are at least as well off, or better off, than they were at the height of the market in 2007.

Since reaching a low point in March 2009, both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index have surpassed or come within spitting distance of record highs. Even though those record highs don't factor in a rise in inflation of approximately 10 percent over the past five years, the market's performance has given a boost to consumer confidence. Experts hope that will translate into more spending.

There are a few reasons to explain why confidence is higher now than it was in 2007. Back then, the economy was beginning to slide and consumers were carrying more debt. Today, the economy is experiencing an upswing, although a modest one. Stocks are cheaper now, partly because of the Federal Reserve's commitment to lower interest rates, leading many experts to believe there is still room for the market to grow.

But the survey results are not all rosy. Millionaires say that despite the stock market's performance, they're not as confident in the broader economy and the employment numbers.

Still there's room for optimism: Even though they believe that the overall economy is worse off than it was in 2007, 80 percent of the millionaires who own businesses plan to maintain their current staff levels or hire more employees in the next two years.

Is the stock market's performance making you feel richer and more optimistic about the economy?

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