Young high-net-worth Canadians confident that they’ll make a difference: RBC

Wealthy Canadians differ when it comes to their views on philanthropy, legacy, and social responsibility

Young high-net-worth Canadians confident that they’ll make a difference: RBC

A newly released study by RBC Wealth Management has found that among high-net-worth (HNW) Canadians — those with a minimum of $1.29 million in investable assets — the younger generation are increasingly prioritizing values-based use of their money.

According to the survey, 73% of HNW Canadians say they will have a bigger impact on the world compared to previous generations; that’s compared to 48% of older high-net-worth Canadians who said the same. Focusing on business owners, 70% of the younger cohort felt it was important for their businesses to have a positive impact on their community, as opposed to 58% of their older counterparts.

Concepts of wealth also differed between generations. Older HNW Canadians were more likely to define legacy with words like “family” (75%) compared to younger HNW Canadians (50%). Those in the younger group, meanwhile, more often said “wealth” is the main enabler of their legacy (74%) compared to older HNW Canadians (59%).

The desire to leave a different legacy compared to their parents didn’t differ much between younger Canadians (71%) and older ones (65%), though that desire was more pronounced among ultra-high-net-worth Canadians (79%) with at least $6.47 million in investable assets.

Social responsibility was a bigger consideration for younger Canadians than older ones (66% vs. 51%); the younger generations tended to focus on children, human rights, and science, while older respondents prioritized poverty reduction and faith-based advocacy. Older wealthy Canadians were also more inclined to make one-time charitable donations than their younger peers (36% vs. 11%), and they were less likely to assess the results of their giving efforts (43% vs. 79%).

Among all respondents, 76% agreed that they had an obligation to pass on their values to the next generation. But the obligation to transfer their wealth was much stronger in the younger group than in older Canadians (71% vs. 54%).

When it comes to family businesses, 67% of younger business-owning Canadians wanted their children to take the helm eventually, as opposed to 31% of older Canadians. But when asked about plans to take over their parents’ business, 50% of younger group said they were expected to, and a full 70% said younger Canadians generally would rather chart their own path through the corporate world or starting their own business.

Younger HNW Canadians also tended to have high hopes for the next generation, with 71% saying those next in line will go on to accumulate more wealth; older Canadians were less confident, with only 35% feeling the same way.