A new study gives some insight into how billionaires live. And yeah, it's about as cringey as you would expect.
Let’s face it, America has a complex relationship with the very rich.
On one hand, there’s a deep American tradition of respecting and even revering financial success, not least because of the moxy, gumption, elbow grease, and/or bootstrapping it often takes to achieve it.
On the other hand, there’s a growing belief that the playing field is unfairly tilted in favor of the rich — a belief driven by the fact that wage growth in the U.S. has stagnated for the past decade-plus and the top 10% of American earners control almost 75% of the country’s wealth.
So there’s definitely some don’t-call-it-class tension in this country, not to mention the world at large — and a recent “Billionaires Census” published by UBS and Wealth-X will do little to assuage it.
The report doesn’t quite live up to its promise of delivering “groundbreaking research on the world’s ultra high net worth (UHNW) population.” (Shocker: Rich people like rich people things.) But it does succeed at reminding everyone that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote long ago, the rich “are different from you and me.” (In case you didn’t know that already.)
- There are 2,325 billionaires in the world who collectively control $7.3 trillion dollars in total wealth. For perspective, that means a group of people about the size of a typical suburban high school student population could fund the entire United States defense budget for 14 years and still have enough left over to buy a spaceship (or three).
- If you saw that last statistic and though, “Wow, I just wish there could be even more ultra-rich people” you’re in luck! The number of billionaires is expected to increase by more than 1,000 over the next six years.
- The “typical billionaire” has $3.1 billion in assets and grew his wealth by 4.4% last year. That doesn’t sound like much, but here’s the thing about having lots of money: A median American household would make $13,244 if their net worth increased by 4.4%. The average billionaire pulling the same returns adds $136 million to his fortune.
- Roughly half of all billionares are women. Just kidding: They’re almost all men. Only 286, or slightly more than one in ten ultra-rich people, are female. And no, that doesn’t mean the business word has at least allowed that many women to share in the spoils. Most female billionaires (65%) inherited their wealth, compared to 13% of male billionaires.
- About 35% of billionaires don’t a have a college degree, which is probably something Peter Thiel repeats a lot at dinner parties.
- According to the report, which includes a 2015 “Billionaire Social Calendar,” events like “Antigua Sailing Week” and the “Singapore Yacht Show” are a “‘must go’ for many billionaires and their social circles.”
- “21% of Dubai’s billionaires have specific interest in private jets.”
The report can be enjoyed in full here.