Half of Singapore is in the world’s richest 10% – and 226,000 people are among the elite 1%

Maybe Crazy Rich Asians was onto something.
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  • Singaporeans are the world’s 6th richest people, according to a new Credit Suisse report.

  • There are 207,000 millionaires here, and almost half the adult population is among the world’s richest 10%.

  • Despite this, inequality is “not extreme” compared to other countries, it said.

  • In 2019, the average Singaporean had US$300,000 to their name – triple the average in year 2000, thanks to high savings, increased asset prices, and a better exchange rate.

  • The report noted that despite poor job prospects and high house prices, millennials were accumulating wealth thanks to financial aid from their parents.

It appears Singaporeans are a wealthy lot, coming in sixth in a world ranking of household wealth per adult.

The ranking, published in Credit Suisse Research Institute’s annual Global Wealth Report on Monday (Oct 21), compared the household wealth of 5.1 billion people worldwide, with Switzerland, Hong Kong and the US identified as the world’s three richest nationalities.

Read also:  The 18 countries with the most millionaires, ranked

The report – which took its numbers from “reliable” household sector balance sheet data – said there were 207,000 millionaires living in Singapore.

Five per cent of Singaporeans – or 226,000 individuals – belonged to the world’s richest 1 per cent of people, which was defined as those with over US$936,400 to their name.

The number of millionaires in Singapore shot up sixfold from 35,000 in 2010 to 207,000 in 2019.
Credit Suisse Research Institute Global Wealth Report 2019

In addition, a whopping 2.18 million Singaporeans were among the world’s richest 10 per cent, with wealth over US$109,400.

This is almost half the 5 million adults living here, according to the report.

Read also: 9 things to do in your 20s to become a millionaire by 30

“In Singapore, wealth per adult measured in US dollars grew strongly during 2000 to 2012. After that it fell, mostly due to currency depreciation, but has been growing again since 2015,” the report said.

The average person’s wealth tripled from around US$115,000 in 2000 to about US$300,000 in 2019 – making Singaporeans the second richest people in Asia.

The global average in 2019 was US$70,850 – a record high.

At 5.3 per cent annual growth, Singapore’s wealth has been growing at double the Asia-Pacific average, and faster than the world rate.
Credit Suisse Research Institute Global Wealth Report 2019

This US$300,000 net worth typically came from US$200,000 in financial assets (such as stocks) and US$150,000 in real assets (such as property).

The average debt was US$50,000, which the report called “moderate for a high-wealth country”.

The median net worth per Singaporean was about US$100,000.
Credit Suisse Research Institute Global Wealth Report 2019

“Financial assets make up 57 per cent of gross household wealth in Singapore, which is a ratio similar to that of Switzerland,” the report said.

It added that the rise was “mostly caused by high savings, asset price increases, and an increase in the exchange rate from 2000 to 2019.”

Singaporeans’ relatively high net worth was attributed to the high savings rate of about 45 per cent – second only to China.
Credit Suisse Research Institute Global Wealth Report 2019

Singapore’s wealth inequality “not extreme”: Credit Suisse

Despite the proportion of ultra-wealthy people, inequality here was “not extreme compared with other countries”, the report said.

According to its figures, the number of Singaporeans with wealth under US$10,000 was 14 per cent in 2019 – far lower than the global average of 57 per cent.

Meanwhile, those with wealth between US$10,000 and US$1 million formed the majority (82 per cent) of Singapore’s population.

This burgeoning middle class reflects a global rise in middle-class individuals, which tripled from 514 million in 2000 to 1.7 billion in 2019.

Credit Suisse Research Institute Global Wealth Report 2019

Last, the report noted that while millennials were challenged to accumulate wealth due to poor job prospects, high house prices and low incomes globally, their parents were helping them financially through means such as giving inheritances.

The expected surge in inherited wealth… is expected to have significant wealth distribution consequences in the future, probably adding to inequality pressures,” it added.

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