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June 13, 2013 07:00 ET

BMO Private Bank Changing Face of Wealth Study: Most Arizona Millionaires are Self-Made, Highly Educated

- Nearly 60 percent of high-net-worth Arizonans are self-made

- 40 percent of Arizona millionaires are women

- 75 percent are 65 years or older

- Nearly 90 percent hold a bachelor or graduate degree

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - According to a study released today by BMO Private Bank, the wealthy of Arizona (defined as those with investible assets of $1 million or more) tend to be self-made and highly educated. The study is the first in a series that BMO Private Bank is set to release over the next year examining trends among the wealthy in Arizona and the United States.

The inaugural study found that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of high-net-worth Arizonans are self-made millionaires, earning their wealth mostly on their own. Less than 1 percent of Arizona millionaires primarily gained their wealth through a divorce; less than 1 percent through an inheritance.
  • Forty percent of the wealthy in Arizona are women.
  • Most wealthy are highly educated. Fifteen percent have an undergraduate degree while 73 percent have a graduate or professional degree.
  • Seventy-five percent of Arizona's affluent are 65 years or older. About 9 percent are younger than 50, and 18 percent are aged 50 to 64.
  • Fifteen percent of wealthy Arizonans were either born outside of the U.S. or have at least one parent who was born outside of the U.S.

"The findings from this study show that the American Dream is alive and well here in Arizona with more and more people carving out their own path to success and wealth," said Matt Miller, senior managing director-Arizona and Utah for BMO Private Bank. "From a private banking perspective, we need to better anticipate the unique needs of individuals and families possessing this entrepreneurial spirit and growing their wealth in this fashion."

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found:

  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of high-net-worth Americans are self-made millionaires, earning their wealth mostly on their own. Only 3 percent attributed the major source of their wealth to an inheritance; 1 percent to a divorce.
  • 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 8 percent only hold a high school diploma or less.
  • One-third of affluent Americans were either born outside of the U.S or are first generation Americans, with at least one parent born elsewhere. Within this group of "new Americans," 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 random 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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