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BMO: Affluent Canadians Plan to Leave Almost One-Third of Their Wealth to Their Children

- Almost 80 per cent feel their children are prepared to handle their inheritance

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/08/14 -- BMO Harris Private Banking today released a study on high-net worth Canadians (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) and the inter-generational transfer of wealth. The study is the fifth in a series by BMO Harris Private Banking examining trends among the affluent in Canada.

The study found that affluent Canadians plan on leaving, on average, almost one-third (30 per cent) of their wealth to their children. They plan to divide the rest of their estates as follows:

--  Spouse or partner (60 per cent)
--  Other family members (four per cent)
--  Charities (three per cent)
--  A board or company (three per cent)

Additionally, almost 80 per cent of high-net worth Canadians feel that their children are ready to manage their inherited wealth. This sentiment could perhaps be attributed to educational efforts; two-thirds (65 per cent) reported that they spend time educating their kids about money matters.

"Affluent Canadians value leaving a legacy and will be passing on a significant portion of their wealth to their offspring," said Yannick Archambault, Vice President and COO, BMO Harris Private Banking. "However, with wealth comes complexity. It's reassuring to see that so many are taking the time to help their children become more savvy about finances."

Mr. Archambault noted that in 2008, BMO Harris Private Banking launched Financial Fluency, a program which caters to the children of their clients who are looking to gain basic financial knowledge and learn about investment principles in order to develop their personal finances and family wealth. Participants get insight into how to manage debt and leverage credit, the basics of wealth planning, investing and the use of different asset classes, investment risk and opportunities, and the psychology of investing.

Wealth and Generation Next - Better or Worse Off?

According to the study, just a quarter (26 per cent) of high-net worth Canadians feel that their children will be better off financially than them. Forty-one per cent think that their children will be worse off than them, with 60 per cent believing that this will be because of the state of the economy.

Interestingly, affluent Americans are more optimistic about what the future holds for their children compared to their northern neighbours; 43 per cent in the U.S. say they believe their children will be better off financially and 35 per cent believe they will be worse off.

"Many are still feeling the effects of the 2008 recession, so it's not too surprising that people may not be feeling upbeat about what the future has in store for their children," stated Mr. Archambault. "While we don't have the ability to guarantee bull markets and a strong overall economy for our children, there are things we can do to ensure they're well positioned to weather any financial storms. Teaching our kids about personal finance issues is a good start but it's also important to be transparent about family finances. The earlier a family is committed to educating the next generation, the better off they will be when the transfer of wealth occurs."

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 305 Canadians with at least $1 million in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 5.6%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Harris Private Banking

Backed by the stability and resources of BMO Financial Group, professionals at BMO Harris Private Banking are responsible for the successful management of wealth by providing expert advice and highly personalized services in banking, investment management, wealth planning, estate, trust, succession planning, business transition and philanthropic services - all in a coordinated approach

For more information on BMO Harris Private Banking, please visit

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

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