The last couple of years have been full of surprises, highly anticipated moments, a bull market interrupted by some significant pullbacks to only repeatedly be topped by new historic or annual highs across the major indices such as the Dow Jones or FTSE 100. Interest rates, on the other hand, have never been as low, property prices never that high, alternative investments rare and gaining in exoticism from antique cars and art to LEGO playing sets. The US economy has managed to climb its way back from one of the worst recessions in recent history, whilst their European counterparts are lagging behind. Asian wealth is steadfast multiplying with an increasing amount of millionaires and billionaires.
Almost two years after we first looked at the average net wealthof individuals in countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, and France, let's take another look at the median net wealth per adult across the globe. The list is slightly longer this time, as I will include the individual net wealth for Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and China.
Wealth is subjective
You might remember from the first blog post on average wealth that some stated that they needed at least $ 5 million before they considered themselves wealthy, whilst people in France were a bit more modest saying that someone earning more than € 6,500 per month after tax could be seen as rich. In case you are wondering, the number of those with a net worth of more than one million US dollars has increased by 155% since the year 2000 according to Credit Suisse. This increase is largely due to financial assets such as shares.
So where are we standing almost two years later? Below the average net wealth per adult per country (median net wealth) in US dollars and in Euros at today's exchange rate.
Net wealth per country
Net wealth per adult in $
Net wealth per adult in €
Homeownership in %***
Data based on Credit Suisse Wealth Report* and ECB data**
What makes some richer than others?
Similar to the first global net wealth article, the countries with the highest net wealth are countries with high homeownership. For instance, countries with the highest median net wealth (with the exception of Switzerland) – Australia, Belgium, and Luxembourg – report homeownership rates of 67%, 71%, and 73%, respectively. Of course, there are a number of exception, and it underlines that property in itself does not explain high individual net wealth, but it contributes. When looking at China, Thailand, and Vietnam, given their currently very low median net wealth compared to their high home ownership rates, the figures are somewhat misleading. All of these nations are currently booming and in the process of becoming big power houses. Their net wealth is thus not in line with the home ownership rates. However, for most other countries on our list, this is certainly the case.
Other reasons are taxation, as can be seen in the example of Switzerland with the highest individual net wealth of all countries. It permits a very effective reinvestment dividends, income, and other returns from financial assets leaving the individual with most of his or her income at their own free disposition.
In general, those with higher net wealth are frequently more invested in financial assets such as the stock market, property, or some other form of investment rather than keeping their money purely in savings.
Determine your own wealth
If you want to determine your own net wealth, the calculation is simply subtracting all your liabilities from all your assets. For instance:
Assets (e.g., House value + Share value + Bonds + Savings) – Debt (e.g., outstanding mortgage)