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Thread: Wealth per adult and percentage of millionaires by country

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    Post Wealth per adult and percentage of millionaires by country



    I found an interesting list of countries ranked by median wealth by adult. It is based on a 2016 study by Credit Suisse. It's surprising to see that Americans, Germans and Swedes are poorer in average than Spaniards, Taiwanese or South Koreans. I didn't expect Belgians to rank so high. Median wealth favours countries with low income inequality and is therefore also an indicator of how wealthy a population is in average.

    Country Total Wealth
    (in billions USD)
    Wealth per adult
    (USD)
    Median wealth per adult
    (USD)
    Switzerland 3,478 561,854 244,002
    Australia 6,428 375,573 162,815
    Belgium 2,293 270,613 154,815
    Japan 24,070 230,946 120,493
    United Kingdom 14,150 288,808 107,865
    Italy 9,973 202,288 104,105
    France 11,891 244,365 99,923
    Canada 7,564 270,179 96,664
    Netherlands 2,412 184,378 81,118
    South Korea 6,278 159,914 64,636
    Taiwan 3,199 172,847 63,134
    Spain 4,396 116,320 56,500
    United States 84,784 344,692 44,977
    Germany 12,419 185,175 42,833
    Sweden 1,683 227,295 39,692
    Mexico 1,621 21,125 6,066
    China 23,393 22,864 4,885
    Brazil 2,537 18,059 3,811
    World 255,708 52,819 2,222
    Indonesia 1,769 10,772 1,966
    India 3,099 3,835 608

    The same study also list the number of millionaires in USD by country in 2016 (page 42). I have calculated the percentages for each country.


    1. Switzerland : 8.5%
    2. Australia : 4.4%
    3. Denmark : 4.2%
    4. United States : 4.19%
    5. Norway : 3.7%
    6. United Kingdom : 3.3%
    7. Canada : 3.0%
    8. Sweden : 2.9%
    9. Belgium : 2.7%
    10. Singapore : 2.6%
    11. Austria : 2.5%
    12. Japan : 2.2%
    13. Germany : 1.9%
    14. Italy : 1,85%
    15. Netherlands 1.7%
    16. Taiwan : 1.5%
    17. South Korea : 1.3%
    18. Spain : 0.8%
    19. China : 0.1%
    20. South Africa : 0.1%


    Many countries are missing from the statistics including Iceland, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Gulf states.
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    So this is about the assets one has? Cars, houses, etc.? I can imagine additional differences in for example taxing leads to different purchasing power rates.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    How many tax dodging millionaires live in Switzerland? I would guess a huge portion of Italy's rich, for example, have assets there. That's going to skew the statistics.

    Also, maybe 12% or more of the citizens of the U.S. are in the underclass and make and own absolutely nothing. Maybe another 8% or so are barely above that and are categorized as the "working poor". Just about 50% of our population pays absolutely no income tax, for example, and we have no VAT. That's why statistics like these can be misleading.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sennevini View Post
    So this is about the assets one has? Cars, houses, etc.? I can imagine additional differences in for example taxing leads to different purchasing power rates.
    I would guess assets like real estate/houses and land, make huge difference in these statistics, in relation to average wealth of rich countries and amount of millionaires.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    How many tax dodging millionaires live in Switzerland? I would guess a huge portion of Italy's rich, for example, have assets there. That's going to skew the statistics.
    Of course, but that's inevitable. There are also plenty of Asian billionaires living in London, Paris or in the USA. Switzerland is definitely special due to its large number of (often retired) millionaires escaping taxes in their country. But that's not the only reason. The Swiss economy is one of the most efficient and best organised in the world, and it's no wonder that the Swiss GDP per capita (money actually produced per year, as opposed to accumulated, inherited, imported or even illicit wealth) is also one of the highest in the world. Luxembourg and Iceland also have high GDP per capita. They are not listed in this ranking, but a similar survey conducted in 2014 ranked them just after Australia and Belgium. Obviously Luxembourg's GDP per capita is not wholly produced by Luxembourg nationals, but also by the 175.000 Belgians, French and Germans commuting every day to work in Luxembourg, a country with a working population of about 250,000. So almost half of the GDP is taken away to neighbouring countries, and proportionally has the biggest impact in Belgium. That foreign income partly explains why Belgians are wealthier than Luxembourgers.

    In the 2014 survey, Norway ranked between Finland and New Zealand, two countries with much lower GDP per capita (about $70,000 for Norway against $42,000 and $37,000 for the other two). I have no explanation as to why Norwegians should be so "poor" in terms of accumulated net wealth if their GDP per capita is so high. Denmark and Sweden rank even lower, around the level of Greece. That may be due to high taxes in Scandinavia, but then why should Belgians be about twice wealthier, considering that Belgium has the highest income taxes in the world and a VAT nearly as high as in Scandinavia?

    Also, maybe 12% or more of the citizens of the U.S. are in the underclass and make and own absolutely nothing. Maybe another 8% or so are barely above that and are categorized as the "working poor". Just about 50% of our population pays absolutely no income tax, for example, and we have no VAT. That's why statistics like these can be misleading.
    Taxes and incomes are not taken into account for the net wealth. The ranking is based on the total of what individuals own (houses, cars, stocks, savings, etc.) minus their debts. It doesn't matter if the wealth has been earned through work or if it was inherited. Belgium has one of the lowest percentage of people in employment in the developed world (61%, against 67% for the US, 71% for the UK or Japan, or 80% for Switzerland), so comparatively few people also pay taxes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Of course, but that's inevitable. There are also plenty of Asian billionaires living in London, Paris or in the USA. Switzerland is definitely special due to its large number of (often retired) millionaires escaping taxes in their country. But that's not the only reason. The Swiss economy is one of the most efficient and best organised in the world, and it's no wonder that the Swiss GDP per capita (money actually produced per year, as opposed to accumulated, inherited, imported or even illicit wealth) is also one of the highest in the world. Luxembourg and Iceland also have high GDP per capita. They are not listed in this ranking, but a similar survey conducted in 2014 ranked them just after Australia and Belgium. Obviously Luxembourg's GDP per capita is not wholly produced by Luxembourg nationals, but also by the 175.000 Belgians, French and Germans commuting every day to work in Luxembourg, a country with a working population of about 250,000. So almost half of the GDP is taken away to neighbouring countries, and proportionally has the biggest impact in Belgium. That foreign income partly explains why Belgians are wealthier than Luxembourgers.

    In the 2014 survey, Norway ranked between Finland and New Zealand, two countries with much lower GDP per capita (about $70,000 for Norway against $42,000 and $37,000 for the other two). I have no explanation as to why Norwegians should be so "poor" in terms of accumulated net wealth if their GDP per capita is so high. Denmark and Sweden rank even lower, around the level of Greece. That may be due to high taxes in Scandinavia, but then why should Belgians be about twice wealthier, considering that Belgium has the highest income taxes in the world and a VAT nearly as high as in Scandinavia?



    Taxes and incomes are not taken into account for the net wealth. The ranking is based on the total of what individuals own (houses, cars, stocks, savings, etc.) minus their debts. It doesn't matter if the wealth has been earned through work or if it was inherited. Belgium has one of the lowest percentage of people in employment in the developed world (61%, against 67% for the US, 71% for the UK or Japan, or 80% for Switzerland), so comparatively few people also pay taxes.
    Maciamo, you can't compare Belgium or Switzerland or the Scandinavian countries to the U.S. My point was that if 20% of your population owned nothing and had never owned anything, inherited nothing, and was on public assistance for multi-generations, it would change your stats.

    No European country is yet, to my knowledge, in that situation, although they may be in the future.

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    About half of Americas population has nothing saved

    "Most people in the U.S. are living in financially precarious circumstances. Half of all Americans have nothing put away for retirement and the vast majority of them have under $1,000 saved, total.According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts and 34 percent have zero. Only 15 percent have over $10,000 stashed away."

    Americans aren't saving enough for retirement and are living longer at the same time.

    Property taxes for upper middle class areas in the North east can hit numbers inbetween 15,00 to 20,000 dollars a year. Even after people pay off their mortgages they will have to pay these amounts in their retirement. Many times it is a number even greater than the max amount they can put away in their 401k each year while working(around 18,000 dollars).

    This leads to retired people selling their property and moving south where life is cheaper, places like Florida, North Carolina. Very little wealth and property is being passed through the generations.

    Meanwhile in countries like Italy people are saving their wealth and holding on to their property. It is not uncommon for Italian men to live with their mothers into their 30's while in the US it is odd to do so even in your mid twenties.

    I wonder what "non financial assets" actually includes here though.

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    What I hate is how freakishly expensive college is. Paying back student loans is a killer, and imo acceptance into a university program should be based more on ones ability to graduate.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Promenade View Post
    About half of Americas population has nothing saved

    "Most people in the U.S. are living in financially precarious circumstances. Half of all Americans have nothing put away for retirement and the vast majority of them have under $1,000 saved, total.According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts and 34 percent have zero. Only 15 percent have over $10,000 stashed away."

    Americans aren't saving enough for retirement and are living longer at the same time.

    Property taxes for upper middle class areas in the North east can hit numbers inbetween 15,00 to 20,000 dollars a year. Even after people pay off their mortgages they will have to pay these amounts in their retirement. Many times it is a number even greater than the max amount they can put away in their 401k each year while working(around 18,000 dollars).

    This leads to retired people selling their property and moving south where life is cheaper, places like Florida, North Carolina. Very little wealth and property is being passed through the generations.

    Meanwhile in countries like Italy people are saving their wealth and holding on to their property. It is not uncommon for Italian men to live with their mothers into their 30's while in the US it is odd to do so even in your mid twenties.

    I wonder what "non financial assets" actually includes here though.
    The fertility rate in Italy also impacts these "wealth" indices. I think it's the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest in the world.

    In my generation most families had only one child. My mother was severely criticized for having my brother. That means that two sets of grandparents can pass down their houses/apartments/savings etc. Then add in the odd aunts/uncles or great-aunts/uncles. I know people who have inherited 3 houses, living in 1 and renting out two. They also tend to not necessarily sell the "extra" houses either because they're ancestral homes, or "what if my kids need it" etc. The same goes for other forms of inherited wealth, and Italians save a lot of their income. It's just a different attitude. One reason that people marry so late is that they don't marry or get their own apartments until they have secure job contracts, and they or their parents have saved enough to buy an apartment (if they haven't inherited one) and furnish it. They're just much more averse to risk.

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    What percent of Begians have IQ under 90?

    Why is Germany so low on the list?
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    Quote Originally Posted by I1a3_Young View Post
    What percent of Begians have IQ under 90?
    I don't have any statistics on this, but there is no reason it should be very different from neighbouring countries.

    Why is Germany so low on the list?
    I think that one reason is that East Germans are still considerably poorer. I couldn't find detailed stats about net wealth for German Länder, but the GDP per capita in the former GDR is still nearly half of West German states. This site says that the average household net assets in the five eastern German states plus Berlin was 96,100€ in 2014, while in the West it stood at 246,000€. The median net wealth in the East is 24,800€ against 80,000€ in West Germany.

    I got this map showing the regional wealth disparities from another site.



    Even within the south large disparities exist. Southeast Bavaria is considerably richer than northern Bavaria. Munich is the richest city in Germany by far, closer to Switzerland in GDP per capita.

    Another German site shows the net wealth for European countries, including Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus, which were not in the Credit Suisse study and all come n top of the list. The data is fro the European Central Bank. Despite the financial crisis and the real estate bubble burst in Cyprus, Cypriots are ranked as the second wealthiest Europeans after Luxembourgers both for average/mean and median wealth. In terms of median net wealth, the Greeks are richer than the Germans. In fact only the Slovaks are poorer than the Germans among the 16 Eurozone country listed.




    By comparing the two graphs, both using data from 2010, you can see that South Germany ranks between Luxembourg and Cyprus both for average and median net wealth. East Germany ranks around Slovenia for average net wealth and Slovakia for median net wealth.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 12-09-17 at 11:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post


    This is actually interesting. Germany goes against "models" predicting rich north and poorer south economic outcomes of Europe. South Germany with more farmer's gene is twice richer than north.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    This is actually interesting. Germany goes against "models" predicting rich north and poorer south economic outcomes of Europe. South Germany with more farmer's gene is twice richer than north.
    That didn't occur to me, but I know that I've seen statistics to the effect that if provinces in Northern Italy like the Veneto, Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna were ranked in terms of wealth they'd be right near the top, and they have even more so called "farmer" genes, at least 69-70%.

    This is a different sort of measure. It's called quality of life statistics, which include not only wealth, disposable income, but services etc. Southern Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Northern Italy, the Low Countries and Scandinavia, along with southern Ireland for some reason. It's 2015 so I'm a bit surprised because we've taken a big hit. Our savings rate used to be one of the highest in Europe, for example, but it's dipped down below Germany's in recent years.


    Maybe this is still all a holdover from the Middle Ages as far as Northern Italy, the Low Countries, maybe even Austria and Switzerland, i.e. established monetary systems, trade connections, transportation, entrepreneurship?

    As I suspected, the fertility rate is a big factor. We're still at 1.49. Average age of marriage is also still high. Divorce and/even separation rate is also still low so fewer divorce poor people. One thing that would eat up resources though is that the predicted age at death is an astounding 84 years old and predicted to go up to 91! That 's actually not news to me. I have/had five great aunts who made it up into their 90s.

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    Very interesting stuff. Belgium doesn't seem like it would have a lot of natural resources. The wealth must come from capital gains and resource refinement. For example, import materials and build something then export a final product.

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    For Belgium - and many other countries, maybe they should deduct the government debt from the wealth per adult.

    The difference between the US and many European countries is the US citizens spend more than they earn - they live on credit, while many Europeans till some 20 years ago still saved some money. But European gouvernments made much more debts than the US federal government - alltough the last one is catching up now.

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    I think there are many people that hide their wealth in the U.S. As a person in the business of real estate, I do encourage investor clients to put their properties into land trusts, to keep their names off of their properties and protect them from discovery by attorneys in the event of legal issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    The fertility rate in Italy also impacts these "wealth" indices. I think it's the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest in the world.

    In my generation most families had only one child. My mother was severely criticized for having my brother. That means that two sets of grandparents can pass down their houses/apartments/savings etc. Then add in the odd aunts/uncles or great-aunts/uncles. I know people who have inherited 3 houses, living in 1 and renting out two. They also tend to not necessarily sell the "extra" houses either because they're ancestral homes, or "what if my kids need it" etc. The same goes for other forms of inherited wealth, and Italians save a lot of their income. It's just a different attitude. One reason that people marry so late is that they don't marry or get their own apartments until they have secure job contracts, and they or their parents have saved enough to buy an apartment (if they haven't inherited one) and furnish it. They're just much more averse to risk.
    what if the lower fertility rate is not really the cause of poor economy but poor economy is the cause of low fertility rate? they can't afford to have children. italy also has the oldest population in europe, maybe even in the whole world, because the youth is emigrating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailchu View Post
    what if the lower fertility rate is not really the cause of poor economy but poor economy is the cause of low fertility rate? they can't afford to have children. italy also has the oldest population in europe, maybe even in the whole world, because the youth is emigrating.
    Did I say the low fertility rate is the cause of the poor economy? I mean it does in some ways, because there are fewer people working to pay the taxes which pay the pensions, but this is a different topic.

    I was explaining how the low fertility rate impacts the amount of wealth accumulation per person, sometimes increasing it because if you have one child that child inherits not only all the parental assets, but sometimes assets from unmarried or childless relatives.

    There are a number of reasons why the birth rate declined so much. If we're talking about the last decade or two, it's partly that a poor economy would make any rational person choose to have fewer children.

    However, this was the case in my area starting even in the 30s, and certainly very prevalent by the fifties. I think it's because it's a choice also dependent on how risk averse people are and how much they want to give to their children. Italians by and large are pretty risk averse. That's one of the reasons why they save so much of their income, and tend to favor such conservative investments. The other factor is that they want to give their children not only good food and clothing and education, but a house or apartment, all the furnishings etc. when they marry. There's none of that "well, they'll figure it out", now they're educated they're on their own mentality that I see here. You just can't afford to do it for six children, or even four.

    Frankly, I think it also comes down to temperament. Four children under eight or ten running around the house is more than my nerves could ever have taken. The mess alone would have driven me to distraction, as I like an extremely clean, orderly, and calm house. I think it needs a more phlegmatic temperament.

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