When 8 = 3.5 Billion
Did you know that the eight richest people in the world hold as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people living on this planet?
Now, this is not a treatise about income inequality or the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, although both exist.
What fascinates me is how this is possible. You may have heard the quip that if all of the money in the world were redistributed equally among every human on earth, within a generation, all of the money would be proportionally back in the hands of the original owners (or their designates). Stories of lottery winners seem to bear this out. Few seem to hold on to the wealth they have received by chance without having to become the people it takes to earn this wealth.
Another school of thought is that once you provide capital, economic opportunity and a fair shot, lots of the people receiving this new slice of the wealth redistribution would turn it into outputs that would result in lasting wealth for them and their heirs.
We’ll never know.
One thing we do know is that the income level of the top 1% of people in the world is $32,400. Yes, $32,400. That means you. Check out Investopedia for more factoids like this. If you live in the U.S., it’s a different story: the top 1% earn $730,000.
Like everything, wealth, standard of living, and income are relative. But the fact remains that YOU are a one-percenter by the world’s standard.
The insight I’d like you to consider is this: we are all doing the best we can for ourselves and our families, and, when we can, we help others with our time, compassion, and money. But when we realize we are, by the world’s standard, richer than 99% of the people walking this earth, what can each of us do to use this economic power to greater advantage? I’m not talking about redistribution, just considering what a one-percenter mindset might do to shift our thinking. Sure, you can say you’re not part of the 1% in the U.S., but you may be in the top 25% at $89,000, or the top 50% at $50,000.
So what, you ask? Wealth and financial security are as much a state of mind as a reality. And our ability to sleep well at night and help our fellow man is a function of how financially secure we feel. Most of us are rich by any standard, especially relative to the rest of the world. Sometimes we just need a reminder.