Within a generation, US$4 trillion is expected to be passed down to inheritors in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. In the UK, our average respondent has assets of £5.1 million, but may not be ready to transfer it. We found that there is a general lack of preparedness and wealth rarely endures long enough to leave a lasting legacy.

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At what age do you think people should start learning about wealth and money?

27 is the average age to start

But respondents who began before 18 are more confident in their knowledge of wealth and money.

How do people learn about wealth and money? You may be surprised. We surveyed more than 800 people in the UK with about £5 million in assets. Our research reveals that nearly 2 out of 3 people ‘go it alone’ when building their financial knowledge.

Key findings:

  • Financial guidance begins quite late, at 27
  • 64% of respondents conduct their own research to improve their financial literacy
  • Financial education is guided by family, but it’s not the most effective method
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“It’s important to get comfortable with the idea of inheriting and to understand where the inheritance comes from. In my situation, it was handed down through the sale of a family business. I’m a steward of that wealth, rather than the owner.”

- Ian, a fifth-generation heir

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“We found that there is a remarkable gap between our intentions and our actions.”

- Julian Washington, Head of Client Insight & Intermediary Relationships, RBC Wealth Management UK

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Most people want to preserve and grow their wealth so that future generations can build lasting legacies. Our research explores their intentions and actions when it comes to transferring wealth.

We surveyed 3,105 people in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States with an average net worth of US$4.5 million, and supplemented the data with one-on-one interviews. These individuals included men and women, professionals and entrepreneurs, business owners and retirees, givers and inheritors.

We discovered that people are concerned that their heirs will not have the financial acumen to preserve and grow family wealth. Our research underscores the critical importance of advance preparation and effective knowledge transfer in preserving family wealth.

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