10/03/2013 01:43 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Rich Canadians more secure than before economic downturn

A new BMO survey of high-net-worth Canadians finds a majority feel more financially secure now than before the 2008 financial downturn, a sign that the economic turmoil of the past five years seems to have bypassed the wealthy. 

While 45 per cent of Canadians have no emergency savings and 36 per cent of older Canadians say they’ll postpone retirement to pay for a child’s education, the survey for BMO Harris Private Banking found 77 per cent of respondents with investable assets of over $1 million say they are the same or better off than before the 2008 financial crisis.

- Parents working longer to pay for kids' education, poll suggests

- Canadians carrying debt into retirement

- 45% of Canadians have no emergency savings

The findings released Thursday were based on a survey of 459 Canadians who had $1 million in assets and who make financial decisions, and was conducted between March 28 and April 11, 2013. A sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About 29 per cent of those interviewed were not born in Canada, a reflection of the opportunities discovered by many people who are new to Canada.

“These findings speak to the Canadian spirit of multiculturalism and how this country fosters an environment that helps individuals to succeed and thrive,” said Andrew Auerback, head of BMO Harris Private Banking.

Despite coming from many different backgrounds, the majority of those surveyed invested the bulk of their money in Canada. They also had investments in the U.S. (69 per cent), Europe (35 per cent) and increasingly Asia (28 per cent).

The respondents were also 79 per cent male and 59 per cent were over age 60, indicating older Canadians were more likely to have money.

They also like how things are going today, including their investments. About 86 per cent of the rich Canadians polled were very happy with their current financial plans and 92 per cent said they have taken advantage of savings vehicles such as RRSPs, which have special tax advantages, and tax-free savings accounts.

About the only thing that high-net=worth individuals were unhappy about was taxation, with 48 per cent saying they were treated unfairly and 66 per cent saying they would like to see lower capital gains taxes.