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Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a millionaire. My introduction to millionaires began when I watched Robin Leach on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. When I thought about millionaires, I thought of an exclusive club. They traveled via private jet around the world, went on lavish vacations, and had incredible adventures. In essence, they led a lifestyle that so many only can dream about.
This inflated image was quickly popped when I read the Millionaire Next Door. That book demystified the illustrious millionaire. In reality, the jet setting lifestyle is not indicative of wealth necessarily. Many rich folks utilize stealth wealth, so you’d never actually assume that they had a lot of money.
Credit Suisse recently published their annual Global Wealth Report, showing that nearly 1.1 million Americans became millionaires in 2017. Astoundingly, that brings the total number of millionaires in the US to over 15 million, or nearly 1 out of every 20 people in the US. That means that 5% of the population in the US is a millionaire.
Based on the numbers above, there are many more millionaires among us than I actually realized. Many must be displaying stealth wealth at its finest.
What has driven the increase of millionaires in the US today?
Rise of the Stock Market
One of the biggest reasons, according to the Credit Suisse report, is the rise of the stock market.
“An important driver for a number of years was the Fed’s quantitative easing, yielding low interest rates that raised bond prices and contributed to economic recovery and higher stock prices,” determined Credit Suisse.
This is now the ninth consecutive year that the report attributes the rise in wealth directly to the stock market. Credit Suisse shared that the proposals by President Donald Trump of lower taxes, deregulation, and fiscal stimulus, has led to business and market conditions strengthening this year. In turn, the stock market has risen, which as of writing this, is up over 16% for the S&P 500 this year and up nearly 25% since President Trump took office.
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“Wealth per adult has now fully recovered [from the financial crisis lows of 2009], and is 30% above the 2006 level,” Credit Suisse reported. “There is some uncertainty about future interest rates and stock market prospects, but otherwise the signs are mostly positive for household wealth.”
Speaking of positive signs…
Recently, the consumer confidence level rose to 125.9 in October 2017. That is the highest that it has been in 17 years, since December 2000 when it reached 128.6. Clearly, consumers like the economic trajectory of our country at this time.
Another interesting stat from the report was that Americans now account for 43% of the world’s millionaires, despite representing just a little over 4% of the world’s population.
However, the median wealth in the US is $55,876. That puts us at 21st place in the world, alongside economic powerhouses [sarcasm], Austria and Greece.
Countries with the Highest Median Wealth
- Switzerland: $229,000
- Australia: $195,400
- Belgium: $161,000
- New Zealand: $147,600
- Japan: $123,700
- France: $119,700
- Singapore: $108,900
- United Kingdom: $102,600
- Canada: $91,058
- Taiwan: $87,257
While Americans may not make the most money, we definitely know how to become wealthy once we start making it.
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