North American Millionaires Most Likely to Leave Assets to Charity, Report Finds

Among wealthy individuals who are internationally mobile, North Americans are more likely to leave assets to charity than those from other regions, a report from RBC Wealth Management and the Economist Intelligence Unit finds.

The report, Wealth Through the Prism of Culture and Mobility (12 pages, PDF), surveyed millionaires who live, work, or spend more than half their time outside their country of birth about their investments, wealth transfer plans, and charitable giving and found that 29 percent of North Americans plan to make significant bequests to charity, compared with 11 percent from the Asia-Pacific region, Eastern and Western Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America. According to the report, the most common approach to wealth transfer among the nomadic wealthy is to leave enough to family members so that they are comfortable but still have to work for a living (33 percent).

While a majority (68 percent) of respondents said they currently give 5 percent or less of their gross income to charity, those who live in North America are more likely to donate 10 percent or more, followed by those in Asia-Pacific (6-10 percent) and Europe (less than 5 percent). North Americans also tend to give where they live, with 76 percent saying they give to local causes, while residents of the Asia-Pacific region are more focused on giving in their birth countries (48 percent) than to causes in countries where they reside (38 percent) or causes in other countries (13 percent).

"Mobile Millionaires Place Family and Quality of Life Above Business Interests." RBC Wealth Management Press Release 12/10/2012.