Even though people hear about and frequently experience an economy on shaky ground, 2012 was an excellent year for those among us who are already extraordinarily wealthy. Below are the top five countries that boast the most billionaires as citizens.
The United States
The United States has the most billionaires in the world, despite the economic difficulties that have plagued the country for the last several years. There are 480 billionaires in the United States with a combined wealth of 2.05 trillion dollars. Each billionaire, on average, is worth a little more than 4 billion dollars each.
In 2012, not only did the wealth of U.S. billionaires grow, but 25 new billionaires joined their ranks. Interestingly, although U.S. billionaires make up only 1% of the top 1% of wealth owners in the United States, they control about a quarter of the money held by the top 1%. If you want to rub elbows with the super-rich, head to California where most of them live. You can also find them in New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida.
China has the second highest number of billionaires in the world, but it comes in a distant second to the United States with only 147 billionaires compared to the 480 who can be found in the United States. The total amount of wealth controlled by China’s billionaires is $380 billion. Although China is in the second spot in the world for number of billionaires, it ranks further down the list in terms of how much money is controlled by the country’s billionaire population.
2012 was not as good of a year for Chinese billionaires as it was for American billionaires. Unfortunately, Chinese billionaires experienced an overall decrease in their wealth.
The number of billionaires in the United Kingdom is similar to the number of billionaires in China — 140 live in the U.K. — however, they hold a greater amount of total wealth. The 140 U.K. billionaires hold $430 billion dollars. No other European country has as many billionaires as the U.K. does, but German billionaires hold more total wealth than the billionaires in the U.K. The U.K. has been viewed as a safe place for money to be during the worldwide economic crisis. As a result, not only did the number of U.K. billionaires grow, but so did the amount of wealth that they hold.
Germany has fewer billionaires than both China and the U.K., but the country’s billionaires hold more wealth than either country. Germany has 137 billionaires in its population, and those people are worth about $550 billion. German billionaires control about a quarter of the wealth held by the top 1% of the population. This year also had mixed results for German billionaires. Although the total amount of wealth among German billionaires increased, the overall number of billionaires in the country decreased. German billionaires tend to congregate in Hamburg, Munich, and Dusseldorf.
India’s emerging economy has created quite a few billionaires. At the end of 2012, India boasted 109 billionaires among its citizens who are worth a total of about $190 billion. Each billionaire in India is said to be worth about $1.7 billion dollars each. 2012 was a difficult year for Indian billionaires. The volatility of the country’s stock market combined with the depreciation of the rupee caused a great deal of wealth loss in the country. Not only did the number of billionaires in India decline in 2012, but their total amount of wealth decreased as well. Of the top 1% of wealth owners in India, 485 people left the ranks of those top earners this year.
Those who wish to get ahead in the financial race should consider carefully how they manage their funds. Earning money is only half the battle; successfully managing your money is what separates the real winners from the rest. Many of the billionaires mentioned have some kind of wealth management in place, to make sure they are getting the most out of every dollar they make. Australians can be part of such management by partnering with such firms as wealth management firms and/or private banking companies. Using such a management firm will help increase your overall funds, and keep everything in check.
So, where are you on the road to being a billionaire?