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Will it be a green holiday?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Posted: 2 pm ET

Retailers are nervously gauging the spending mood of the wealthy as we head into the holiday season. The stock market has been rising pre-holiday, but that doesn't mean the greenbacks will be flowing at shopping sites this year. Many of the wealthy still feel chastened by the shaky economy, and are reining in the holiday spending and planning more time with family and friends.

According to the 2010 Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America by Harrison Group and American Express Publishing, gift-giving among those surveyed is expected to be flat.  The average affluent family’s budget for gifts is $2,093, less than 1 percent below the 2009 number. Instead, 30 percent will spend more time with family, while 18 percent expect to celebrate with friends. There's also some bad news for charity: A quarter of the respondents say they will donate less this year.

The survey, conducted during September, included 805 individuals with a household discretionary income of $100,000 and above.  

Although spending is down, families indicate that they are less likely to feel deprived than they did before the recession, and they are happier and more successful in life and career. Further, 82 percent report that the recession has made them more resourceful, 88 percent have become more responsible in spending and 81 percent are more self-sufficient with their finances. 

How are you feeling as we move into the holiday season? Will you spend more or less money this year than you did last year?

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