Women rise among ranks of Wisconsin’s wealthy

Women now make up almost 40 percent of Wisconsin’s high net worth residents, according to the first in a series of studies about wealthy residents in the state by BMO Private Bank.


The company defined the wealthy as people with investible assets of $1 million or more.

“It’s encouraging to see that women make up such a large portion of Wisconsin’s affluent residents,” said Jason Stamm, regional president of northern states at BMO Private Bank. “However, this isn’t surprising, given that studies indicate that women’s wealth is increasing approximately 8 percent a year and they’re taking a leading role in household financial decisions.”

Stamm added, “If the financial services industry is going to be effective in addressing the needs of women, we need to understand that women are looking for clear, honest and relevant communication, as well as solutions that are specific to their life circumstances.”
The inaugural study also revealed that half of Wisconsin’s affluent are self-made, having made the majority of their wealth on their own.

Other key findings from the study included:

* Education matters – almost three quarters of Wisconsin’s wealthy have a college degree.
* Eighteen percent of high-net worth residents are “new Americans,” having either immigrated to the U.S. themselves or having at least one parent born outside of the country, well below the national average of 32 percent.
The Wisconsin results were part of a national study. Some of the key national findings of the report included:

* Only 3 percent of Americans 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.
BMO Private Bank is part of Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank N.A.

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