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A.G. Edwards Releases September Nest Egg Score.

Despite Steady "Fair" Rating, Nest Egg Score Factors Show Movement in Key Categories

ST. LOUIS -- With a national score of 631, Americans remain steadfast and continue to do a fair job of building their nest eggs of personal wealth, according to the latest quarterly A.G. Edwards (NYSE:AGE) Nest Egg Score, released today.

The Nest Egg Score, which looks at 12 factors that influence the ability of U.S. adults to build wealth, benefited from the lowest unemployment rate in five years, broader ownership of investment vehicles, growth in homeownership and a slight increase in retirement plan participation. These factors, however, were offset by the highest inflation rate in five years, a decline in the nation's home equity rate and increased tax payments.

According to government data used to calculate the A.G. Edwards Nest Egg Score, the U.S. personal savings rate remains negative, indicating that Americans may still be counting on asset growth to build wealth rather than saving more of their current income. Unfortunately, the home equity rate fell in the latest quarter, reflecting the recent cool-down in the real estate market.

"Despite some improvement in Americans' savings and investing behaviors, we are still only collectively doing a fair job of building wealth," said Robert L. Bagby, chairman and chief executive officer of A.G. Edwards. "With so many factors affecting our savings abilities that extend beyond our control, it is more important than ever to focus on the financial decisions we can control and make investment choices accordingly."

Caring for Nest Eggs Across the Country

As part of the quarterly compilation of its Nest Egg Score, A.G. Edwards examined the regional differences in the savings and investing habits of Americans using ongoing proprietary Nest Egg Score surveys completed last March, May and August. The surveys, conducted on behalf of the company by Harris Interactive([R]), revealed a number of findings, including:

* Cracking the Nest Egg Co From a national perspective Americans were most likely to cite the cost of covering day-to-day living expenses (55 percent) as the biggest obstacle to starting or building their nest eggs, followed by too little income (48 percent) and too much debt (28 percent). Northeasterners were more likely than residents in any other region to cite the cost of raising children as an obstacle to starting or building their nest eggs (34 percent versus 24 percent in the Midwest, 18 percent in the South and 21 percent in the West). [March 2006]

* Building a Nest, Versus Building a Nest Egg Co In all geographic areas (Northeast, Midwest, South and West), about half of Americans (53 percent) feel it is absolutely essential or extremely important to own a home, compared with 48 percent who feel it is absolutely essential or extremely important to build a nest egg of savings and financial investments to achieve long-term goals such as retirement. [March 2006]

* Southern Savings Statistics Co Southerners are least likely to have a traditional savings account (37 percent versus 51 percent in the Northeast, 48 percent in the Midwest and 47 percent in the West). [August 2006]

* The Willful West Co Westerners are least likely to cite day-to-day living expenses as the biggest obstacle to starting or building their nest eggs (46 percent versus 57 percent in the Northeast, 56 percent in the Midwest and 60 percent in the South). [March 2006]

"No matter what region of the country you live in, it's important to take time to evaluate your individual situation and determine what's right for you when it comes to building your nest egg," said A.G. Edwards Financial Planning Specialist Sophie Beckmann, CPA, CFP[R]. "To get started, identify your financial goals Co such as saving for retirement, buying a home or even saving for a rainy day. Then develop a plan to meet those financial goals."

Individuals interested in estimating their own Nest Egg Scores can visit for a look at how well they are building wealth. Complementing the quarterly Nest Egg Score, earlier this month A.G. Edwards released its second annual Nest Egg Index (, which ranks America's 500 top-performing communities and the 50 states based on their residents' personal savings and investing behavior. The Nest Egg Index also shows the geographic regions where people are succeeding and where they face the greatest difficulty in building and nurturing their nest eggs.

About the Nest Egg Score

The A.G. Edwards Nest Egg Score is a single, quarterly, three-digit numerical rating that represents a measure of the relative strength or weakness of Americans' wealth-building performance, similar to the scoring systems used to evaluate creditworthiness. A high Nest Egg Score indicates that households are having more success in building their nest eggs or that economic conditions are favorable for saving and investing. Conversely, a low score means that households are not taking advantage of opportunities to build their nest eggs or that economic conditions are not conducive to wealth accumulation.

To create the Nest Egg Score, A.G. Edwards takes into account 12 statistical factors gathered from federal government data and proprietary research conducted for A.G. Edwards by Harris Interactive that pertain to building wealth. Quarterly data for each factor is evaluated and scored on the following scale: 450 to 549 Co poor; 550 to 649 Co fair; 650 to 749 Co good; and 750 to 850 Co excellent. The 12 individual scores are then combined and weighted to determine the Nest Egg Score.

For further information on the A.G. Edwards Nest Egg Score, go to

Survey Methodology

The three quarterly Nest Egg Score surveys were conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of A.G. Edwards among a nationwide sample of U.S. adults aged 18 and over within the United States as follows: between Aug. 23 and Aug. 25, 2006 among 2,295 adults; between May 23 and May 25, 2006 among 2,197 adults; and between March 14 and March 16, 2006 among 2,182 adults. Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of these sizes one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the subgroups of adults living in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Harris Interactive is responsible for fielding the online surveys on behalf of A.G. Edwards. A.G. Edwards is responsible for the compilation of data from other sources and for computing the Nest Egg Score and the results reported.

About A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

Drawn to the firm's client-first philosophy, individuals and businesses have turned to A.G. Edwards for sound advice and access to a wide array of investment products and services that can help them meet their financial goals and objectives. Founded in 1887, A.G. Edwards and its affiliates employ nearly 6,700 financial consultants in more than 740 offices nationwide and two European locations in London and Geneva. More information can be found on

How A.G. Edwards Does Business

A.G. Edwards generally acts as a broker-dealer but may act as an investment advisor on designated accounts, and the firm's obligations will vary with the role it plays. When working with clients, the firm generally acts as a broker-dealer unless specifically indicated in writing. To better understand the differences between brokerage and advisory services, please consult "Important Information About Your Relationship With A.G. Edwards" on

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit

A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

Member SIPC

September 2006
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Date:Sep 26, 2006
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