The Number of Global Millionaires Keeps Growing, but Millennials May Be Left Behind

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Maybe there is never a bad time to be a millionaire. And there are now more millionaires than ever, according to the Credit Suisse 2017 Global Wealth Report. In the 10 years since the peak of the financial crisis, it turns out that global wealth has grown by 27%. That same growth rose at a faster pace in 2017 than in recent years, and the mean wealth per adult has reached a new record high.

There have been some serious divergences here among Millennials and millionaires. The Millennial group as a whole may face some ongoing challenges that prior generations have not faced.

While the 2017 growth through the middle of the year was up $16.7 trillion (up 6.4%), this was the fastest pace since 2012, and the new wealth figure is 280 trillion in dollar terms. Driving the increases are widespread gains in equity markets, as well as gains in nonfinancial assets. And the wealth outpaced population growth to a record high of $56,540 per adult.

According to the Credit Suisse report on Millennials, they have found a “Millennial disadvantage.” The firm feels that a difficult start and adverse market conditions in their early adult years most likely will limit their wealth acquiring prospects in future years. Millennials are also expected to continue facing greater wealth inequality than previous generations. Issues hurting Millennials were tighter mortgage rules, growing house prices, increased income inequality and lower income mobility, all adding up to holding back wealth accumulation by young workers and savers in many countries. High student debt in some countries was also referenced.

And when it comes to millionaires, Credit Suisse showed that millionaires (dollar-based) were up by 2.3 million through the middle of 2017, and nearly half of them live in the United States. The firm now counts more than 15 million millionaires in the United States, and that is 1.1 million higher than in 2016.

The report showed that there are now more than 36 million global millionaires in dollar terms. Unfortunately, there were also more than 3.5 billion people around the planet, about 70% of the adult population, who could count assets of $10,000. Credit Suisse went on to show that the wealthiest 10% own 88% of the world’s wealth. That is broken down by the top 1% accounting for half of all global assets and the entire bottom half of the world owning less than 1% of the global wealth.

The number of millionaires has increased by 170% globally since the year 2000. At the same time, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals has risen five-fold.

Credit Suisse is even forecasting that the number of ultra-high net worth individuals will likely increase by 45,000 to a level of 193,000 individuals by 2022. Emerging economies are expected to generate wealth at a faster pace than their developed peers and are likely to achieve a 22% share in global wealth at the end of the five-year period.

This report was the eighth such annual report out of Credit Suisse, and the firm measures roughly 4.8 billion adults over approximately 200 countries for its data.