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 80 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.

The findings released Thursday were based on a survey of 305 Canadians and 482 Americans 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.

“High-net worth Canadians clearly feel they have bounced back well from the 2008  downturn and are fairly upbeat about what the future has in store for Canada’s  economy,” said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis , Senior Vice President and Head, BMO Harris  Private Banking.

The study found that 54 per cent of affluent Canadians feel they are better off now than they were before September 2008, with only 11 per cent saying they are  worse off and 36 per cent reporting that their financial situation is unchanged.

This compares with 61 per cent of high-net worth Americans who reported they are better off and only seven per cent stating they are worse off.

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.

Among the Canadians, nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents expect the Canadian economy to improve this year, but they were more bullish on the American economy with 61 per cent saying it would get better.