December 5, 2013

Assets of Millionaires (gleaned from estate tax data)

The IRS has data on estate taxes which breaks down the nature of the assets.   Estate taxes for 2012 the latest year with data is only applicable to estates with over $5 million in value.   Therefore if we look at the estate tax data we can get a sample of the asset mix of multi-millionaires in the US.   The information is going to be skewed towards older people as these are for the estates of deceased people.

Here are the numbers for the 9,412 returns filed in 2012 :

Value % of total
Publicly traded stock 31,868,113 26%
State and local bonds 13,595,957 11%
Cash assets 11,726,706 9%
Other real estate 10,327,985 8%
Closely held stock 9,654,433 8%
Retirement assets 6,631,757 5%
Personal residence 5,908,960 5%
Real estate partnerships 4,495,892 4%
Mortgages and notes 4,298,336 3%
Other limited partnerships 4,015,354 3%
Farm assets 3,729,481 3%
Other noncorporate business assets 2,843,852 2%
Art 2,757,975 2%
Private equity and hedge funds 2,489,808 2%
Corporate and foreign bonds 2,228,937 2%
Other assets 1,931,019 2%
Insurance, face value 1,922,184 2%
Other Federal bonds 1,731,202 1%
Depletables / intangibles 832,080 1%
Unclassifiable mutual funds 814,457 1%
Bond funds 519,606 0.4%
Insurance, policy loans 66,809 0.1%
Federal savings bonds 63,407 0.1%

And here's a graph showing the larger asset groups :

(click image for full size)
Roughly speaking stocks and bonds of various types make up about half the assets.   Looks like real estate including personal homes is around 20% ballpark.   The remaining 30% is a mix of various things.



  1. Wow, retirement asset is just a small piece of the pie. I guess once you get to that level of wealth, you don't need to save as much for retirement. You can't really save much anyway unless you're a business owner.

  2. Retireby40, Yeah I imagine a lot of these people build their wealth in their businesses or real estate or other assets and so thats how they end up with large holdings. Then they have little opportunity to move it to retirement accounts.



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