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REPEAT: Wealthy Floridians Are Self-Made, American by Birth, Male and Educated

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA--(Marketwired - Jun 13, 2013) - Move over, trust fund babies. According to a study released today by BMO Private Bank, the wealthy of Florida (defined as those with investible assets of $1 million or more) have the American-bred values of hard work and higher education. 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 Florida.

The inaugural study found that:

  • Sixty-eight percent of high-net worth Floridians are self-made millionaires, earning their wealth mostly on their own. Less than one percent attribute their wealth to receiving an inheritance.

  • Twenty percent were born outside of the United States.

  • More than 30 percent of the wealthy in Florida are women.

  • Ninety-three percent hold at least a university a degree and two-thirds report earning a graduate/professional degree. Just two percent report only holding a high school diploma.

  • Indicative of Florida as a retirement destination, 54 percent of the wealthiest Floridians are 65 years or older.

"Generally, our study's findings correlate with our client demographics. It's no secret that education is a key to success. It's just interesting that this survey confirmed that Florida's most wealthy residents have had the benefit of graduate and professional degrees and have had the determination and commitment to create their own successful destinies," said Michael J. Dyer, CFP* and Managing Director of BMO Private Bank in West Palm Beach.

"I would expect that we'll see more advanced degrees among Florida's most wealthy residents as more time goes by, as it is becoming a very specialized world. Today's high net worth Floridians prove that an American entrepreneurial spirit and a higher education can result in prosperity and success, which can ultimately lead to a comfortable retirement."

Given that Florida is a major retirement destination, Dyer also noted that it is not surprising that wealthy Floridians are dominated by the 65 and over age group. "The characteristics noted in the study all fit well with our team's experience and abilities with significant estate and retirement planning capabilities."

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.

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 Florida residents). The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.5%, 19 times out of 20.

*CFP: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. http://www.cfp.net/downloads/MUG.pdf.