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February 15, 2022

The US has the oldest millionaires as biggest ever wealth transfer looms

By Patrick Brusnahan

The US has the highest number of millionaires aged over 70, the oldest millionaires in the world, with just over 1.3 million such high net worth individuals (HNWIs).

GlobalData wealth data for the oldest millionaires in the world reveals the US is followed by Japan with 268,857 over-70s millionaires and China with 148,786.

These numbers come as according to Cerulii Associates estimates $68trn of private wealth is set to transfer in the next 25 years. The transfer between baby boomers and millennials is set to be the largest ever transfer between generations.

The US holds 7,472,364 millionaires as of 2021, according to GlobalData. As a result, around 17%, or just under a fifth, of the US’ millionaires are over 70 and will be looking for a change or transfer. This is a large number of people and a huge volume of assets to be transferred.

Hong Kong has most older millionaires per capita

However, the distribution of HNWIs tells a different story. In terms of HNWIs over 70 per 100,000 people, Hong Kong is top with 449 and the US is second with 420.5. Switzerland is third with 319.9 and Japan fourth with 213.7. The UK is tenth with 103.8.

Looking at the proportion of over 70 HNWIs in the entire HNW population, some surprising countries come top.

The Philippines is first with 36%, followed by Italy and New Zealand with 34.1% and 34% respectively. The US, China and Hong Kong do not even feature in the top 10.

The impending wealth transfer with the oldest millionaires in the world

What this shows us is that while the obvious wealthy countries, such as the US, contain opportunity for wealth transfer, others may as well. Countries such as the Philippines may be overlooked for more traditional wealth hubs, despite the fact that the HNW population is more densely populated with those over 70 years of age and looking for a wealth transfer strategy in the near future.

However, some classic wealth hubs are still in dire need of attention when it comes to wealth transfer. The US has an astounding number of older millionaires who will be looking to make the awkward conversations of wealth transfer easier for them. Similarly, Hong Kong is densely populated with over-70s millionaires looking for a way to easily transfer money to the causes they want.

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