Some people say that making the first million is the hardest.
Others, like oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens have quipped that the first billion is a “helluva lot harder”.
Regardless of which is true, it’s interesting to examine how long it took the world’s wealthiest to reach the million and billion dollar benchmarks, as well as how many years were in between.
Millions to Billions
Today’s infographic comes to us from Betway, and it provides a study of the 100 wealthiest billionaires that topped the 2018 edition of the Forbes Rich List.
Based on the top 100 billionaires studied from the Rich List, the average age for hitting millionaire status is 37. Meanwhile, the billion dollar mark is hit on average at the age of 51.
This puts the average time period to go from millionaire to billionaire at 14 years.
Making the Jump, by Industry
Even with this small sample size, it’s clear that how fast this jump happens depends greatly on industry.
Tech entrepreneurs were by far the fastest on the list to go from millionaire to billionaire, with an average time of only 7.3 years. That number is averaged down by entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, who has singlehandedly been able to amass an impressive empire of companies and assets in a very short period of time.
|Tech Entrepreneur||Millionaire (Age)||Billionaire (Age)||Difference|
|Jeff Bezos||33||35||2 years|
|Bill Gates||26||31||5 years|
|Mark Zuckerberg||22||23||1 year|
|Larry Ellison||42||49||7 years|
|Larry Page||25||30||5 years|
|Sergey Brin||26||31||5 years|
|Ma Huateng||33||36||3 years|
|Jack Ma||35||45||10 years|
|Steve Ballmer||30||38||8 years|
Other industries don’t have the same luxuries as tech, where products can go from Zero to One at such high speeds.
In the automotive, construction, and real estate industries, for example, there are costly physical assets to deal with, as well as fiercer competition. At the same time, innovations are often more incremental, and companies cannot be scaled as fast.
Making the Jump, by Country
Interestingly, the jump from millionaire to billionaire took the longest in the United States, with a period of 14.1 years on average for self-made billionaires.
|Country||Time to go from $1M to $1B|
|United States||14.1 years|
While this may seem counter-intuitive, there are a couple of caveats worth mentioning.
For starters, the sample size is extremely small at just the top 100 billionaires, which means that a country like Russia has only so many in the mix. This low sample size can distort figures, and not be particularly representative of a true average.
Further, economies like Russia and China have recently transitioned from more controlled economies to more market-driven ones. This has allowed oligarchs and well-connected individuals to take advantage, while amassing new wealth at astonishing rates.
Mapped: The Salary Needed to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Metro Areas
The annual salary needed to buy a home in the U.S. ranges from $38k to $255k, depending on the metropolitan area you are looking in.
The Salary Needed to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Metro Areas
Over the last year, home prices have risen in 49 of the biggest 50 metro areas in the United States.
At the same time, mortgage rates have hit seven-year highs, making things more expensive for any prospective home buyer.
With this context in mind, today’s map comes from HowMuch.net, and it shows the salary needed to buy a home in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas.
The Least and Most Expensive Metro Areas
As a reference point, the median home in the United States costs about $257,600, according to the National Association of Realtors.
|Median Home Price||Montly Payment (PITI)||Salary Needed|
With a 20% down payment and a 4.90% mortgage rate, and taking into account what’s needed to pay principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) on the home, it would mean a prospective buyer would need to have $61,453.51 in salary to afford such a purchase.
However, based on your frame of reference, this national estimate may seem extremely low or quite high. That’s because the salary required to buy in different major cities in the U.S. can fall anywhere between $37,659 to $254,835.
The 10 Cheapest Metro Areas
Here are the cheapest metro areas in the U.S., based on data and calculations from HSH.com:
|Rank||Metro Area||Median Home Price||Monthly Payment (PITI)||Salary Needed|
After the dust settles, Pittsburgh ranks as the cheapest metro area in the U.S. to buy a home. According to these calculations, buying a median home in Pittsburgh – which includes the surrounding metro area – requires an annual income of less than $40,000 to buy.
Just missing the list was Detroit, where a salary of $48,002.89 is needed.
The 10 Most Expensive Metro Areas
Now, here are the priciest markets in the country, also based on data from HSH.com:
|Rank||Metro Area||Median Home Price||Monthly Payment (PITI)||Salary Needed|
|#6||New York City||$403,900||$2,465.97||$105,684.33|
Topping the list of the most expensive metro areas are San Jose and San Francisco, which are both cities fueled by the economic boom in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, two other major metro areas in California, Los Angeles and San Diego, are not far behind.
New York City only ranks in sixth here, though it is worth noting that the NYC metro area extends well beyond the five boroughs. It includes Newark, Jersey City, and many nearby counties as well.
As a final point, it’s worth mentioning that all cities here (with the exception of Denver) are in coastal states.
Notes on Calculations
Data on median home prices comes from the National Association of Realtors and is based on 2018 Q4 information, while national mortgage rate data is derived from weekly surveys by Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America for 30-year fixed rate mortgages.
Calculations include tax and homeowners insurance costs to determine the annual salary it takes to afford the base cost of owning a home (principal, interest, property tax and homeowner’s insurance, or PITI) in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.
Standard 28% “front-end” debt ratios and a 20% down payments subtracted from the median-home-price data are used to arrive at these figures.
The Best and Worst Performing Wealth Markets in the Last 10 Years
This telling chart shows how national wealth markets have changed over the past decade, highlighting the biggest winners and losers.
The Best and Worst Performing Wealth Markets
A lot can change in a decade.
Ten years ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers sent the world’s financial markets into a tailspin, a catalyst for years of economic uncertainty.
At the same time, China’s robust GDP growth was reaching a fever pitch. The country was turning into a wealth creation machine, creating millions of newly-minted millionaires who would end up having a huge impact on wealth markets around the world.
The Ups and Downs of Wealth Markets (2008-2018)
Today’s graphic, using data from the Global Wealth Migration Review, looks at national wealth markets, and how they’ve changed since 2008.
Each wealth market is calculated from the sum of individual assets within the jurisdiction, accounting for the value of cash, property, equity, and business interests owned by people in the country. Just like other kinds of markets, wealth can grow or shrink over time.
Here are a few countries and regions that stand out in the report:
Developing Asian Economies
In terms of sheer wealth growth, nothing comes close to countries like China and India. The size of these markets, combined with rapid economic growth, have resulted in triple-digit gains over the last 10 years.
For the world’s two most populous countries, it’s a trend that is expected to continue into the next decade, despite the fact that many millionaire residents are migrating to different jurisdictions.
European nations saw very little growth over the past decade, but the Mediterranean region was particularly hard-hit. In fact, eight of the 20 worst performing wealth markets over the last decade are located along the Mediterranean coast:
|Rank (Out of 90)||Country||% Growth (2008-2018)|
European Bright Spots
There were some bright spots in Europe during this same time period. Malta, Ireland, and Monaco all achieved positive wealth growth at rates higher than 30% over the last 10 years.
While it’s expected to see rapidly-growing economies as prolific producers of wealth, it is much more surprising when mature markets perform so strongly. Singapore and New Zealand fall under that category, as does Australia, which was already a large, mature wealth market.
Australia recently surpassed both Canada and France to become the seventh largest wealth market in the world, and last year alone, over 12,000 millionaires migrated there.
The long-term economic slide of Venezuela has been well documented, and it comes as no surprise that the country saw extreme contraction of wealth over the last decade. Since war-torn countries are not included in the report, Venezuela ranked 90th, which is dead-last on a global basis.
Short Term, Long Term
In 2018, global wealth actually slumped by 5%, dropping from $215 trillion to $204 trillion.
All 90 countries tracked by the report experienced negative growth in wealth, as global stock and property markets dipped. Here’s a look at the wealth markets that were the hardest hit over the past year:
|Wealth Market||Wealth growth (2017 -2018)|
The future outlook is rosier. Global wealth is expected to rise by 43% over the next decade, reaching $291 trillion by 2028. If current trends play out as expected, Vietnam could likely top this list a decade from now with a staggering 200% growth rate.
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