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June 13, 2013 10:59 ET

BMO Private Bank Changing Face of Wealth Study: Young and Educated Prominent Among California's Wealthy

- Ninety-one percent have a bachelors or graduate/professional degree

- Twenty-seven percent of affluent Californians are under 40

- Thirty-seven percent are women

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - Today BMO Private Bank released the first in a series of studies examining the wealthy in California (defined as those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The inaugural report shows higher education is a prime indicator of wealth among Californians. Ninety-one percent of high-net worth individuals in California have a college degree, with 54 percent holding a graduate or professional degree.

"Young and wealthy Californians are well educated, exceptionally bright and focused on making a difference" said Ron Gong, Managing Director, Harris myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Group. "Wealth at any age brings great complexity, so it's important to start a dialog early and build a comprehensive financial plan".

Other key findings from the study included:

  • Californian high-net worth individuals skew younger than the national average, according to the survey. Twenty-seven percent are under 40 and almost 40 percent are under 50. Nationally, 24 percent are under 40 and 32 percent are under 50.
  • Women make up 37 percent of the state's high-net worth, which is the same as the national average.
  • Fifty-nine percent of California millionaires are self-made, earning their wealth primarily on their own. This is below the national average of 67 percent. Less than 1 percent of high net worth individuals in California inherited their wealth, compared to 3 percent nationally.

"You can't discuss young and wealthy in California without linkage to our robust technology sector," said Gong, referring to Silicon Valley, where significant wealth is created. "This generation of wealth takes a long term view and prioritizes financial conservatism, philanthropy and asset diversification".

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 diploma or less.
  • 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.

About Harris myCFO

Harris myCFO serves ultra-affluent individuals and families, providing integrated private capital management, including independent investment consulting and the comprehensive capabilities of a multi-family office.

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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