Montana Transfer of Wealth Study

Stack of Money

By Mary Rutherford, President & CEO, Montana Community Foundation

Did you know the Drumlummon Mine, near Marysville, mined $9.2 million between 1884–1891? That’s more than $300 million in today’s dollars. Between 1862–1866, Montana’s placer mines produced more than $90 million in gold. That’s $1.1 billion in today’s dollars. Then there is Butte, where $48 billion of wealth has been unearthed. Imagine if only a fraction of those dollars remained here in Montana, for the benefit of Montana. If 5% of Butte’s mine wealth was left for Montana, that would be $2.4 billion to help the people and communities of our state thrive.

Today, money continues to leave Montana through generational wealth. It’s in the form of land, stocks and other assets. To understand how wealth is passed from one generation to another, MCF completed a refresh of the Transfer of Wealth (TOW) Study, originally conducted in 2020. A Transfer of Wealth study provides an estimate of the total household wealth that will transfer from one generation to the next over a 10-year period. Today, we estimate $37 billion will transfer from one generation to the next between 2020 and 2030. The study also revealed that Montana’s total wealth is $290 billion. That’s an impressive figure that can compete with 1800s gold rush numbers. If we break down these numbers, if 5% of the $37 billion was endowed, $1.85 billion would forever benefit Montana’s charitable organizations, schools, and communities.

Furthermore, $1.85 billion in endowments would generate $83 million annually, forever, to provide reliable support. Through charitable giving, you can create lasting economic vitality and community prosperity by creating an endowment for the people and causes you care about.

When should you start planning your transfer of wealth? Now is the best time. When starting this journey, two key points are to first dream big in how you want to make an impact. Secondly, make a plan to create a legacy. Resources to work with are an attorney, financial planner, as well as one of our expert team members at the Montana Community Foundation. Visit us at or call us at (406) 443-8313 to see how we can be of assistance. MSN

To read more about the study’s results here, please visit:

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