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October 03, 2013 09:46 ET

BMO Private Bank: Two-Thirds of Affluent Californians Say They Have Bounced Back Stronger Than Before the 2008 Recession

- Sixty-eight percent expect the U.S. economy to improve in the next year

- Real estate and stocks are considered best investment choices

- Their spending on entertainment, travel and club memberships is the same or more than before September 2008

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 3, 2013) - A study released today by BMO Private Bank has revealed that high-net worth Californians say they are no longer feeling the effects of the 2008 economic downturn and are experiencing a renewed sense of confidence in the economy. The study is the second in a series by BMO Private Bank examining trends among high-net worth individuals (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) in California and across the country.

According to the study, 66 percent of California's affluent feel they are better off now than they were before September 2008 and 68 percent expect the U.S. economy to improve over the next year.

Other highlights of the study include:

  • Eighty-five percent of high-net worth Californians believe that real estate provides a good opportunity to generate solid returns over the next five years - well above the national average of 61 percent.
  • Other top investment choices include stocks (83 percent) and cash (37 percent).
  • They are most upbeat about the technology (88 percent) and health (83 percent) sectors but less optimistic about mining (51 percent) and agriculture (44 percent).
  • They are spending the same or more than before September 2008 on entertainment and leisure activities (88 percent), travel and vacations (85 percent), club memberships (83 percent), clothing and accessories (80 percent), and collections and hobbies (76 percent).

"We are seeing increased confidence in the overall California economy, and the momentum is led by high-net worth individuals and families," said Ron Gong, Managing Director, CTC Consulting / Harris myCFO, a part of BMO Financial Group. "The affluent in our state are feeling more secure about their financial health than they were five years ago and are optimistic about the future. The tech sector is leading this recovery, but the current environment of increased investing, spending and job creation is also positive, which reinforces this outlook."

Key National Findings:

On a national level, the study found:

  • Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of high-net worth Americans say they are better off today than they were before the recession.
  • Sixty percent of the nation's wealthy are optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. economy.
  • They are most bullish about the technology (80 percent), health (78 percent) and energy (77 percent) sectors and least optimistic about the prospects for the manufacturing (50 percent), agricultural (46 percent) and mining (43 percent) sectors.
  • They are spending more money or the same amount as before September 2008 in a number of areas, including:

    • Entertainment and leisure activities (86 percent)
    • Travel and vacations (83 percent)
    • Club memberships (81 percent)
    • Collections and hobbies (80 percent)
    • Clothing and accessories (77 percent)

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 (including a sub-sample of 41 California residents). The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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