Yield of Dreams

The 1%: The Spanking Was Not So Bad


The wealthiest 1 percent took a beating last year, with the Occupy Wall Street movement pointing fingers at the segment and the impact of increased taxes. But they’ll live. In fact, I think they’ll be just fine.

“It’s like when you were a kid and you got your spanking, and it wasn’t as bad,” said Rex Macey, chief investment officer of Wilmington Trust. “The anticipation was a lot worse than the actual punishment. That’s the way the top 1 percent feels.”

Wilmington Trust threw a press briefing Tuesday in New York, to provide an outlook on wealth management and the markets in general.

When you look at where tax rates ended up and what estate planning rules are, the top 1 percent didn’t have it so bad, Macey added. “My dividend income is being taxed at 20 percent. Well that’s better than 39.6 percent.”

Thomas Rogerson, senior managing director and family wealth strategist for Wilmington Trust, believes the rich are toning down their showy displays of wealth, however. They’re trying to live more obscure lifestyles, away from the public eye. The idea is, it’s not the ‘90s anymore.

That said, I think the wealthy have been doing that for a while now. It’s been catching on since the crisis, but perhaps there’s still a way to go. We’ve come a long way since the Vanderbilt family.

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Casting a gimlet-eye on asset management issues.

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