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  1. Wealth
December 12, 2012

Wealthy Are More Interested in Quality of Life than Business Prospects When Choosing Where to Live

By Spear's

The quest for a better quality of life, rather than improved business prospects, is driving wealthy individuals abroad, a new report finds.

The quest for a better quality of life, rather than improved business prospects, is driving high net worth individuals abroad, says a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

‘Wealth Through the Prism of Culture and Mobility’, commissioned by RBC, surveyed 300 internationally-mobile wealthy individuals (IMWIs) who live, work or spend more than half their time outside their home country and have investable assets of at least $1 million.

Of those, 88 per cent said considerations about quality of life drove them abroad. Business interests came fifth (67 per cent) with family (79 per cent), political stability (73 per cent) and infrastructure (72 per cent) coming second, third and fourth respectively.

There are some interesting regional differences in how far afield and how often IMWIs travel. Whereas IMWIs in Western Europe are a restless bunch, with 68 per cent born there having lived in three or more countries for at least six months, 81 per cent of respondents whose principal residence is in the Asia-Pacific region were born there. 

The rich are more interested in quality of life and family than business prospects when deciding whether or not to move abroad

Business opportunities in the rapidly expanding economies of the Asia Pacific region are a draw for these IMWIs, but those seeking a better quality of life are undoubtedly aware that both Hong Kong and Singapore are ranked in the top five global cities on the EIU’s City Competiveness Index.

On top of this, almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region fall into the 40-or-under age bracket, so high saving and investment rates, crucial to young entrepreneurs, are also key.

The nomadic nature of European IMWIs is explained by the major source of their wealth being professional or executive positions, often requiring them to relocate on a regular basis.

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The report also revealed some interesting — and not enormously encouraging — statistics about philanthropic giving.

The majority (68 per cent) of IMWIs give 5 per cent or less of their gross income to charity, 26 per cent give between 6 per cent and 10 per cent, and only 6 per cent donate more than that.

The disparity between Europe and North America’s IMIWs giving habits was again highlighted: three quarters of European residents said they donated between 0 and 5 per cent, with those living in the US more likely to donate larger amounts – i.e. above 10 per cent of their gross income.
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