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California millionaires are younger than national average, study finds

June 13, 2013|By Shan Li
  • More than a quarter of wealthy Californians are younger than 40, while nearly 40% are under 50, according to a study.
More than a quarter of wealthy Californians are younger than 40, while nearly… (Scott Eells / Bloomberg )

Well-heeled Californians – those with assets of $1 million or more – skew younger than the national average, as befitting a state where vast riches have been created in the technology sector, a new study finds.

More than a quarter of wealthy Californians are younger than 40, while nearly 40% are under 50, according to a BMO Private Bank study released Thursday.

Compare that to the national average, where 24% of millionaires are under 40, and 32% are below age 50.

That can in large part be explained by the Silicon Valley technology hub, which draws the young, smart, ambitious and tech-savvy, the report said. Just think of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook or the scads of young entrepreneurs launching start-ups every week.

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Higher education is also a key ingredient in the Californian dream, the study found. More than 90% of high-net-worth individuals in the state hold a college degree, and 54% have earned a graduate or professional degree.

But there are actually fewer self-made millionaires in California than in the U.S. as a whole, with 59% in the Golden State minting their own fortunes compared with the national average of 67%.

The study found that American millionaires in general are a diverse lot.

More than one-third are women. And 1 in 3 were born outside the U.S. or have at least one parent born elsewhere – what the study dubbed “new Americans.” Among this global group, 80% dubbed themselves self-made.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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