The Top Half

Here’s a sobering statistic:  according to the latest Credit Suisse report on global wealth, if you have net assets of $3,650, you are in the top half of the world’s wealthiest people.

Sad, isn’t it?  Even though the amount of global wealth grew by more than $20 trillion in the past year, you can qualify for the top half of the world’s wealthiest people if you have simply accumulated what many Americans earned at a summer job as a lifeguard or a waitress during one of their high school years.  And that $3,650 figure includes the value of your home and all of your other assets.  To get into the elite Top Ten Percent of the World’s Wealthiest People category, you need only have collected $77,000 in net assets — and the people in that category, together, hold 87 percent of the world’s wealth.

Although the Credit Suisse report talks about the world’s wealth, the message it conveys is really about the world’s poverty.