Report: Record Number of US Millionaires Seek 'Escape Plan'

But US remains a top destination for wealthy migrants
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2024 1:00 PM CDT
Report: US Millionaires Are Working on Exit Plans
Top destinations for millionaires leaving America include Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.   (Getty Images/anyaberkut)

Henley & Partners is a company that specializes in helping wealthy people move to different countries—and business is booming. A company report says 120,000 high-net-worth individuals changed countries in 2023, up from 51,000 a decade earlier, Quartz reports. The company, which defines a high-net-worth person as somebody with at least $1 million in "liquid investable assets," says not all of these American millionaires are departing the US, but many of them are making backup plans. It says the number of inquiries from American clients about obtaining residency in other countries hit a record last year, up more than 500% from 2019.

Immigration and tax adviser David Lesperance tells Fortune that his wealthy clients are worried about such issues as the political climate, school shootings, and potential tax hikes. "It doesn't mean you use it," he says of getting a second passport or residency rights in another country. "But you've got the insurance and an escape plan." In a blog post, Mehdi Kadiri, Henley & Partners' North America managing partner, says that the US remains attractive to millionaires. The company notes that 2,100 of them moved to the US last year, though greater numbers relocated to Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.

"What we observe today is more of a 'millionaire remix' within America," Kadiri writes. "Cities such as Austin, Miami, and Scottsdale are gaining residents, while traditional hubs such as Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago experience modest declines." He says America still attracts wealthy people, including tech entrepreneurs, "chasing the enduring American dream." But he warns: "Civil unrest and brazen political attacks on democracy and the rule of law coupled with eroding social cohesion raise tough questions about America's future stability and ability to attract global talent over the longer term." (More millionaires stories.)

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