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World’s Ultra-Wealthy Population, in One Chart

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The World's Ultra-Wealthy Population, in One Chart

The World’s Ultra-Wealthy Population, in One Chart

Reaching the status of “millionaire” used to be a big deal.

But with rising inflation, a higher cost of living in cities, and changing perceptions around wealth, the six zero milestone doesn’t mean as much anymore.

Heck, there are over 16 million millionaires globally, and 4.3 million in the United States alone. Therefore, to really get a sense of the makeup of the world’s ultra-wealthy population, we need a more exclusive and finely-tuned indicator.

The $50 million Benchmark

Today’s infographic comes to us from the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2018, which you should absolutely check out if global wealth is a topic of interest to you.

The visualization breaks down the world’s 129,730 people that have fortunes of US$50 million and above. It’s a much narrower measure, representing just the upper echelon (top 1%) of the world’s millionaire population.

The graphic sorts these ultra-wealthy people by country and region, but also breaks down the change in population between 2016 (Q4) and 2017 (Q4).

The Ultra-Wealthy by Region

Here’s the $50 million and above population sorted by region:

RankRegionUltra-wealthy pop (>$50mm)1-yr growth rate
Total129,730
#1North America44,000+5%
#2Asia35,880+15%
#3Europe35,180+10%
#4Middle East4,740+3%
#5Latin America4,220+20%
#6Russia & CIS2,870+26%
#7Australasia1,650+9%
#8Africa1,190+7%

North America still reigns supreme, but Asia is fast catching up and has already surpassed Europe in this measure of wealth. It’s worth noting that in the one-year span between 2016 (Q4) and 2017 (Q4), the ultra-wealthy population for Asia grew a solid 15%.

It’s also surprising to see that Latin America and Russia & CIS are experiencing such high rates of growth in their >$50 million populations, as well.

Top 10 Ultra-Wealthy Countries

By absolute population, here are the top 10 countries for the ultra-wealthy, based on the above data:

RankCountryUltra-wealthy pop (>$50mm)% of global total
#1United States38,50029.7%
#2Japan9,9607.7%
#3Mainland China8,8006.8%
#4Germany8,0706.2%
#5Canada5,5004.2%
#6France5,2404.0%
#7Hong Kong, China5,1404.0%
#8United Kingdom4,5803.5%
#9Switzerland3,7102.9%
#10Italy3,1502.4%

The U.S. holds about 30% of the world’s ultra-wealthy population, while China adds up to nearly 11% when including both Mainland China and Hong Kong in the calculations.

Switzerland (8.4 million people) punches above its weight class, hitting the #9 spot globally, while Canada takes the #5 spot despite having fewer people (36 million) than the majority of the countries on the list.

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Gold

Animation: How Billionaires are Preparing for the Next Bear Market

No one likes to lose money, even if you have billions to spare. See how the world’s most elite investors – like Ray Dalio – are protecting themselves.

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How Billionaires are Preparing for the Next Bear Market

No one likes to lose money, even if you have billions to spare.

It’s why the prospect of a bear market – a prolonged downturn which sees stock prices fall by at least 20% over two months or more – is something that keeps even the world’s most elite investors awake at night.

To hedge against this concern, the world’s billionaires use a variety of strategies and tactics to protect their wealth, including setting up their portfolios with specific asset allocations that can help soften any blow caused by an extended market downturn.

Protecting Wealth

Today’s animation comes to us from Sprott Physical Bullion Trusts and it highlights a strategy being used by billionaires ranging from Ray Dalio to John Tudor Jones II.

Because market sentiment can change so quickly in the market, these elite investors protect themselves by having diverse portfolios that include uncorrelated assets.

Correlated vs. Uncorrelated

While this sounds complicated, uncorrelated assets are simply investments that don’t move up or down in the same direction as the other asset classes in the portfolio. A small allocation to these uncorrelated items can help protect the value of a portfolio when market sentiment changes.

The King of Uncorrelated Assets

What kind of asset classes can be used for this kind of purpose?

While options like real estate, commodities, and cash can contribute to a more diversified portfolio beyond traditional stocks and bonds, many experts say that gold is the undisputed king of uncorrelated assets.

The price of gold doesn’t usually doesn’t move with the wider stock market – and often, because of its history, the yellow metal can even increase in price during the course of a bear market.

Here are some of the reasons billionaires turn towards an allocation in gold:

  • Gold has acted as a store of value for thousands of years
  • Gold can lower the volatility of a portfolio
  • Gold can act as a hedge against inflation in some scenarios
  • Gold is a traditional safe haven asset that investors flock to when the market goes astray

Billionaire Actions

To kick off 2019, a new billionaire jumped onto the gold bandwagon – along with previous advocates such as Ray Dalio, David Einhorn, John Paulson, and John Tudor Jones II.

The newest entry to the club is Sam Zell, the pioneer behind real estate investment trusts (REITs). He bought gold for the first time in January, citing that it is “a good hedge” and that “supply is shrinking” as new mine discoveries dries up.

With market volatility back in the fray, it’ll be interesting to see how many more of the world’s elite investors also jump on the bandwagon.

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Investor Education

How Equities Can Reduce Longevity Risk

With life expectancies increasing, will you outlive your savings? Learn how allocating more of your portfolio to equities may reduce longevity risk.

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Will You Outlive Your Savings?

The desire to live longer — and outrun death — is ingrained in the human spirit. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, may have even drank mercury in his quest for immortality.

Over time, advice for living longer has become more practical: eat well, get regular exercise, seek medical advice. However, as life expectancies increase, many individuals will struggle to save enough for their lengthy retirement years.

Today’s infographic comes from New York Life Investments, and it uncovers how holding a stronger equity weighting in your portfolio may help you save enough funds for your lifespan.

Longer Life Expectancies

Around the world, more people are living longer.

YearLife Expectancy at Birth, World
196052.6 years
198062.9 years
200067.7 years
201672.1 years

Despite this, many people underestimate how long they’ll live. Why?

  • They compare to older relatives.
    Approximately 25% of variation in lifespan is a product of ancestry, but it’s not the only factor that matters. Gender, lifestyle, exercise, diet, and even socioeconomic status also have a large impact. Even more importantly, breakthroughs in healthcare and technology have contributed to longer life expectancies over the last century.
  • They refer to life expectancy at birth.
    This is the most commonly quoted statistic. However, life expectancies rise as individuals age. This is because they have survived many potential causes of untimely death — including higher mortality risks often associated with childhood.

Longevity Risk

Amid the longer lifespans and inaccurate predictions, a problem is brewing.

Currently, 35% of U.S. households do not participate in any retirement savings plan. Among those who do, the median household only has $1,100 in its retirement account.

Enter longevity risk: many investors are facing the possibility that they will outlive their retirement savings.

So, what’s the solution? One strategy lies in the composition of an investor’s portfolio.

The Case for a Stronger Equity Weighting

One of the most important decisions an investor will make is their asset allocation.

As a guide, many individuals have referred to the “100-age” rule. For example, a 40-year-old would hold 60% in stocks while an 80-year-old would hold 20% in stocks.

As life expectancies rise and time horizons lengthen, a more aggressive portfolio has become increasingly important. Today, professionals suggest a rule closer to 110-age or 120-age.

There are many reasons why investors should consider holding a strong equity weighting.

  1. Equities Have Strong Long-Term Performance

    Equities deliver much higher returns than other asset classes over time. Not only do they outpace inflation by a wide margin, many also pay dividends that boost performance when reinvested.

  2. Small Yearly Withdrawals Limit Risk

    Upon retirement, an investor usually withdraws only a small percentage of their portfolio each year. This limits the downside risk of equities, even in bear markets.

  3. Earning Potential Can Balance Portfolio Risk

    Some healthy seniors are choosing to work in retirement to stay active. This means they have more earning potential, and are better equipped to recoup any losses their portfolio may experience.

  4. Time Horizons Extend Beyond Lifespan

    Many individuals, particularly affluent investors, want to pass on their wealth to their loved ones upon their death. Given the longer time horizon, the portfolio is better equipped to ride out risk and maximize returns through equities.

Higher Risk, Higher Potential Reward

Holding equities can be an exercise in psychological discipline. An investor must be able to ride out the ups and downs in the stock market.

If they can, there’s a good chance they will be rewarded. By allocating more of their portfolio to equities, investors greatly increase the odds of retiring whenever they want — with funds that will last their entire lifetime.

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