Are you part of the 1%?

According to the 2018 Global Wealth Report from the Credit Suisse Research Institute, you need a net worth of US$871,320 to be in the top 1% in the world. Credit Suisse defines net worth, or “wealth,” as “the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by households, minus their debts.”

More than 19 million Americans are in the 1 percent worldwide, far more than from any other country. China is now in second place in the world wealth hierarchy, with 4.2 million citizens (scary, eh?)

The fact is that to be among the top 10 percent worldwide, you don’t even need six figures – a net worth of $93,170 will do it. And even if you have just $4,210 to your name, you’re still richer than half of the world’s residents.

These numbers reflect the extreme level of persistent wealth inequality. As Credit Suisse reports: “While the bottom half of adults collectively owns less than 1 percent of total wealth, the richest 10 percent of adults owns 85 percent of global wealth, and the top percentile alone accounts for 47 percent of all household wealth .

The good news is that share of financial assets among many of the richest people and richest countries peaked in 2015 and has been declining since then. The share of the top decile and the top 5 percent remains at the same level as in 2016, while the share of the top 1 percent has edged down a bit from 47.5 percent to 47.2 percent, according to our best estimate.

It’s too early to conclude that wealth inequality is on a downward trend, Credit Suisse reports, but “the prevailing evidence suggests wealth inequality may well have leveled out, albeit at a very high level”.

The ridiculous thing is that, if you had bought, say, an apartment in Central London for £300.000 in, say, 1990, all you had to do is to live in it till now and you would be part of the current worldwide 1%, without having to lift a finger (I realise you would have had to have taken out a huge mortgage, and just to have qualified and repaid one would have meant you were well off. But to those who have shall be given!)

Actually, an Epicurean wouldn’t care a toss whether he was part of the 1% anyway. Do you feel more happy, proud or secure to know you are a member? Doubt it.

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