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BMO Private Bank Changing Face of Wealth Study: Two-Thirds of Nation's Wealthy Are Self Made Millionaires

- Only three percent attribute their wealth to an inheritance

- More than one-third of high-net worth Americans are women

- One-third of the nation's wealthy were either born outside of the U.S. or are first generation Americans

- One-quarter are under the age of 40 and more than half have a graduate or professional degree

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - BMO Private Bank today released the first in a series of studies which examines trends among high-net worth Americans (those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The inaugural report reveals that the country's affluent are predominately self-made individuals and more than one-third of wealthy Americans are women.

The study found that 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.

Additionally, 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.

"Our study has confirmed that the American Dream is alive and well," said Terry Jenkins, President & CEO, BMO Private Bank. "The hard work and drive of entrepreneurs across the country continues to animate the spirit of America. It shows that prosperity and achievement are within the reach of all Americans who have the determination to succeed."

Women and Wealth

The study also found that women make up more than one-third of the nation's wealthy. Of this group, almost half reported that they generated their own wealth versus only 29 percent who said that their wealth comes primarily as a result of their spouse.

"The face of wealth is evolving in America and this provides BMO Private Bank with the opportunity to work with a myriad of clients with unique needs," said Jenkins. "As an industry, we need to learn to cater to an increasingly diverse client base and provide them with the products and services they require and to strive to have an employee base that reflects the communities in which we do business."

Other Key Findings:

  • 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.

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.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Nini Krishnappa, BMO

Nicholas Gaffney, Infinite PR