1 in 3 U.S Millionaires Foreign-Born or First-Gen Americans

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Advisors might want to consider brushing up on their foreign language skills if they want to pursue the highly prized millionaire market. One out of three wealthy Americans were either born outside of the United States or are first-generation Americans with at least one parent born elsewhere, according to a new report from BMO Private Bank.                              

The overwhelming majority of the wealthy “new Americans” (80%) are self-made millionaires, earning their wealth mostly on their own. Among longer-established Americans of means, only 67% report being self-made.

Washington and Florida were among the states with a strong concentration of “new American” millionaires. In Washington, almost a quarter of the state’s wealthy either immigrated to the United States or had at least one parent born outside of the country. In Florida, 20% were born outside of the United States. 

Apart from working hard, the survey found that Americans with more than $1 million in investable assets were highly educated, with 54% possessing a graduate or professional degree. A small minority (8%) held only a high school diploma or less. 

More than one in three American millionaires were women. One in four were under the age of 40, according to the report. 

The report looked at individual states and compared them to the national average. Here is a sampling of some of the more noteworthy findings: 

  • Arizona: Arizona millionaires tend to be older than most American millionaires, with 75% older than 65.  Only 9% are younger than 50, compared with 32% nationally.
  • California:California millionaires skew younger than the national average. More than one in four (27%) are under 40 and almost 40% are under 50. Nationally, 24% are under 40 and 32% are under 50.
  • Florida: Florida’s millionaires are more educated than typical millionaires. More than nine in 10 (93%) hold at least a university degree and two-thirds report earning a graduate or professional degree. Nationally, only 54% of millionaires possess a graduate or professional degree.
  • Indiana: Indiana has a higher percentage of millionaires who earned their wealth mostly on their own. Seven in 10 are self-made, slightly above the national average of 67%.
  • Washington:Washington millionaires skew older than the national average. More than nine in 10 (94%) are over 50 with less than 1% under 40. Nationally, 68% are over 50 and 25% are under 40.

The report is based on an online survey that polled 482 American adults with $1 million or more in investable assets. The survey was conducted from March 28, 2013 to April 11, 2013.

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