CNBC News Releases


Amy Zelvin

Poll offers insights about what U.S., Australian and UK residents think about their prospects for prosperity, ability to retire comfortably and how they feel about investing now

Englewood Cliffs, NJ, September 19, 2011 – With continued global economic uncertainty, a new AP-CNBC poll finds that for most Americans, Australians and residents of the United Kingdom, becoming a millionaire remains purely an aspirational goal. More than seven in 10 in each nation say it is fairly or very unlikely that they will become a millionaire in the next 10 years, peaking at 91 percent in the UK.

Australians are the most optimistic about their chances of eventually becoming a millionaire. Twenty-nine percent say it’s likely they’ll become a millionaire in the next decade, compared with 21 percent in the U.S. and a scant 8 percent in the UK.

Key findings include:

Six in 10 residents of the U.S. (62%) say their confidence in investing has been shaken by recent volatility in the stock market. This sentiment has increased over the past 12 months. Today, 65 percent of those who own stocks, bonds and mutual funds are less confident about investing compared with 61 percent last year.

Australians have not been shaken as much by recent market conditions. Nearly half (47%) say it has not impacted their confidence in the market and 6 percent say their confidence went up. Forty-four percent say they have lost confidence.

In the UK respondents are conflicted. Forty-five percent are less confident, while forty-six percent say that volatility has had no impact.

The minimum amount one would need to retire comfortably varies greatly by country. In the U.S., 44 percent of Americans believe they would need a minimum savings of $250,000 or less and 22 percent believe the minimum is $1 million or more to retire comfortably.

Australians (29%) are the most apt to see a million dollars as the minimum amount a person would need to have saved. The average amount cited is AU$650,000 (approx. US$674,000).

Some 44 percent of UK residents say they’d need £50,000 or less (approx. US$79,000) to live comfortably throughout their retirement. This is the same share of Americans who peg the minimum savings at US$250,000 or less. By contrast, among Australians, just 25 percent say the minimum required savings falls below AU$250,000 (or US$259,000).

The survey asked people what they would do with a million dollars/pounds in their local currency and found, for residents of all three countries, saving or investing was the top priority. On average, Americans would put 31 percent toward saving or investing; 17 percent on giving to family; 14 percent on spending; 13 percent on paying down debt; 12 percent on buying real estate and 11 percent on charitable donations.

In the UK, sharing with family (25 percent) nearly matches the average amount devoted to saving or investing (26 percent). Lower-income residents of the UK would share more than their higher-income peers with their family, 29 percent on average compared with less than a quarter among medium (21 percent) and high-income (19 percent) UK residents.

Australians would devote more than either of the other two nations surveyed to saving or investing (29 percent) and buying real estate (22 percent) combined. On average, they’d give 19 percent of the money to family, devote 12 percent to paying down debt, 11 percent on general spending and 8 percent given away to charity.

Announcement of the poll results coincide with the launch of trading in CNBC's "Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge,” a ten-week, fantasy stock and currency trading competition with the grand prize of $1 million. The contest has gone international for the first time and is open to permanent residents of the U.S., UK and Australia. Complete rules can be found at

Poll methodology:

U.S.: The Associated Press-CNBC Poll was conducted August 18-22, 2011 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

UK: The Associated Press-CNBC Poll of the UK was conducted August 26-28, 2011 and September 9-11, 2011 via GfK NOP Consumer’s weekly omnibus survey. The August interviews involved landline interviews with 1,000 adults age 16 and over nationwide and the September interviews included 1,006 adults age 16 and over. For both samples, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Australia: The Associated Press-CNBC Poll of Australia was conducted August 26-28, 2011 via an Australian national telephone omnibus survey overseen by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline interviews with 1,000 adults age 18 and over in both capital and non-capital city areas. Additional interviews were conducted Sept. 13-15 with 699 people who participated in the original sample. The full sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.


Jack Stokes

AP Corporate Communications


Amy Zelvin



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