High-net worth Canadians believe they are more financially secure today than they were before the 2008 recession, that’s according to a study released Thursday by BMO Harris Private Banking.

The study found that 54 per cent of Canadians with investible assets of $1 million surveyed 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 reporting they are better off and only seven per cent stating they are worse off.

The study also revealed that 47 per cent of high-net worth Canadians expect Canada’s economy to improve in 2013; meanwhile sixty-one per cent are optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. economy. Fifty-five per cent expect to see gains in Asia and one-in-five (19 per cent) expect the financial situation in Europe to improve.

“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, in a release.

“However, we’re also hearing from many of our clients that they remain somewhat concerned about global market fluctuations. They want to work with us to insulate their wealth — as best as possible — against a downturn.”

The study also found that 86 per cent of high-net worth Canadians say they are quite comfortable with their current savings and investment plan. Seventy per cent expect stocks to generate the most solid returns over the next five years, well ahead of real estate (39 per cent), bonds (24 per cent) and cash (19 per cent).

Canada’s affluent are most bullish about the financial (76 per cent) and energy (75 per cent) sectors but are apprehensive about the manufacturing (30 per cent) sector.

Additionally, the study shows that affluent Canadians are returning to pre-recession spending levels. They are currently spending more than, or the same as, they did prior to September 2008 in a variety of areas, including entertainment and leisure activities, travel and club memberships.

“Increased spending shows confidence in the economy and helps spur economic activity,” said Dousmanis-Curtis.”

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28 and April 11, with a sample of 305 Canadians and 482 Americans with at least $1 million in investible assets.