Wednesday, June 25, 2008

USD Millionaires, Where Are They?

NST: The country's poverty rate will increase from 3.7 per cent to 24.3 per cent if the poverty line is raised from the current RM800 to RM1,500 per household.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz said the definition of the poverty line was a household income sufficient for basic necessities. It does not include luxury items. The basics are food, clothes and other expenses like rental, utilities, transport and communication, health, education and recreation.

On such an optimistic note, let's all have a look at the number of millionaire households globally. The definition of a millionaire household is homes with more than US$1m in net assets.

The absolute figures, number of millionaire households:

1) USA 4,585,000

2) Japan 830,000
3) UK 610,000
4) Germany 350,000

5) China 310,000
6) Italy 270,000

7) France 265,000
8) Taiwan 220,000
9) Switzerland 205,000
10) Brazil 190,000
11) Netherlands 145,000
12) Belgium 135,000
13) Australia 135,000
14) Spain 125,000
15) Canada 110,000

Naturally the absolute figures would be skewed favouring those with large population. Although, Australia, Belgium and Netherlands are notable exceptions.

A more revealing figure would be as a percentage of all households in that country:

1) UAE 6.1%
2) Switzerland 6.1%
3) Qatar 5.2%
4) Kuwait 4.8%
5) USA 4.1%

6) Singapore 3.8%
7) Taiwan 3.0%
8) Belgium 3.0%

9) Israel 2.7%
10) UK 2.4%
11) Ireland 2.4%
12) Bahrain 2.2%
13) HK 2.1%
14) Saudi Arabia 2.0%
15) Netherlands 2.0%

We can understand those OPEC nations with their millionaires. USA, UK and Singapore are up there mainly because of the strong property markets over the last 10 years (even taking into account the property correction in the US over the last year and a half). If there are more foreclosures and a further 25% correction in property prices in the US and UK, coupled with another 10% weakness in USD, well you can see USA and UK slipping quickly down the rankings. Switzerland is there with its banking facilities, or rather the millionaires move there. Ireland is a real success story, from the pits the country have risen through smart investment incentives.

It will always be pretty hard for normal public working in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines or Indonesia to hold net assets of more than US$1m. The average salaries would put all these countries on a backfoot. We tend to subsidise a lot of necessities and in particular fuel and diesel. The subsidies and a deliberate weak currency policy helps to ensure competitiveness. However, if these countries do not reinvest properly into education and high value add industries, we will forever have to contend with sluggish salaries. In a way, that translates into the property values.

While I am loathed to put Singapore in a shining light, they have reinvested very well. In 5 years time, if you have finished paying off your HDB flats, you can retire as an easy RM millionaire in Malaysia. If you have an executive HDB flat and paid that off, well, you should be very very close to being a USD millionaire - we are not even talking private property here. These are government housing.

For Malaysian graduates, work hard for the first few years then plan your career well. You may want to move to "internationally competitive" arenas, prove yourself and really earn good money, or get reposted back to Malaysia. You stay local, you will be paid local. Unless you try and establish your own business, which is no guarantee. Or pick industries which pay industry competitive rates - technology, investment banking, oil & gas, advertising, private banking, etc.

p/s photo: Sarunat Visutthitlada Lider


ONI said...

We'll be fooling ourselves if we think that we can reach Developed State in 12 years time.

While others raced to move ahead we were busy running around in circle. :)

HollyS said...

The main reason we have so many able and qualified professionals living this country to search for better opportunity else where especially in Spore and the Middle East is because of the remuneration ratio differential. For a senior manager position, say in a ICT industry, the total package is between RM 150k to RM 200k here. But if you cross the bridge down south, the total package is about S$200k. That is 480k in Ringgit. And even better if you go to Middle East, the pay RM 500k tax free. Even after you have deduct all the expenses, you are still better off staying and working in those countries. I'm not suprise at all to see the top percentage households millionaires are in the middle east countries or Spore.

Aus2070 said...

The number of Aussie millionaire are more.

According to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, in 2007, the number of Australians with financial assets of at least $US1 million ($A1.05 million), excluding their home, rose 7.1 per cent to 172,000.

Tian Leong said...

May I know how many people in Malaysia are millioanire?

Can I know more details on this.

Salvatore_Dali said...


the data is from Financial Times n thats all they wrote... if u ask yr private banker, i am pretty sure they can give u a very good guesstimate

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