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June 13, 2013 07:00 ET

BMO Private Bank Changing Face of Wealth Study: Diversity Reigns Among Wealthy in Illinois

- Seventy percent of high-net worth Illinois residents are self-made

- More than one-third are women; almost 20 percent are under the age of 40

- Twenty-eight percent were either born outside of the U.S. or are first generation Americans

- Education matters: Almost 85 percent hold at least a college degree; only eight percent state high school is the highest level of education they have completed

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - According to a study released today by BMO Private Bank, the wealthy of Illinois (defined as those with investible assets of $1 million or more) are a diverse bunch that tends to be self-made and highly educated. The study is the first in a series being released by BMO Private Bank over the next year that examines trends among the wealthy in Illinois.

The inaugural study found that:

  • Seventy percent of high-net worth Illinois residents are self-made millionaires, earning their wealth mostly on their own. Only eight percent attribute their wealth to receiving an inheritance.
  • More than one-third of the wealthy in Illinois are women.
  • Twenty-eight percent were either born outside of the U.S. or are first generation Americans (with at least one parent born outside the country).
  • Eighty-three percent hold an undergraduate university degree and half report earning a graduate/professional degree. Just eight percent only hold a high school diploma.

"Our study clearly indicates that the state's affluent are a diverse group of individuals and that wealth can be acquired in various ways, regardless of gender or birthplace," said Zach Lazar, President, Illinois & Florida, BMO Private Bank. "Today's high-net worth Illinois residents prove that hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit can result in prosperity and success."

Lazar also noted the challenges that the state's private banking industry faces with having an increasingly diverse clientele, "From a private banking perspective, we need to understand that there's no longer any such thing as one stereotypical type of high-net worth client and we need to do a better job of anticipating the unique needs of the individuals and families with whom we work."

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found the following:

  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of high-net worth Americans are self-made millionaires, earning their wealth mostly on their own. Only three percent attributed their wealth to receiving an inheritance.
  • Women make up more than one-third of the nation's wealthy.
  • One-quarter of all high-net worth Americans are under the age of 40.
  • Education is a big indicator of wealth with 54 percent of high-net worth Americans possessing a graduate or professional degree; just eight percent only hold a high school degree.
  • One-third of affluent Americans were either born outside of the United States or are first generation Americans, with at least one parent born elsewhere. Within this group of "new Americans", an overwhelming 80 percent reported that their wealth was self-made.

About BMO Private Bank, a Part of BMO Financial Group

BMO Private Bank offers a comprehensive range of wealth management services that include investment advisory, trust, banking and financial planning to meet the financial needs of high net worth clients. Through integrated teams of experienced financial professionals, BMO Private Bank helps its clients realize their financial and lifestyle goals with solutions that are custom tailored and delivered with the highest level of personalized service.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 482 American adults who have $1M+ in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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