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Old 10th January 2019, 02:30 AM   #1
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Nation with the highest median wealth

In comparing countries’ respective wealth, I believe that median wealth is the best measure as the mean is distorted by the massive wealth of a relatively few billionaires. Credit Suisse has recently released its 2018 report. 2017’s highest wealth nation by this measure was Switzerland. 2018 is, drum roll.........

Australia.

https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/...eport-2018.pdf

Quote:
The ranking by median wealth per adult favors countries with lower levels of wealth inequality and produces a slightly different table. This year, Australia (USD 191,450) edged ahead of Switzerland (USD 183,340) into first place according to our estimates. The median wealth placements of Belgium (USD 163,430), Canada (USD 106,340), New Zealand (98,610), the United Kingdom (97,170) and Singapore (USD 91,660) are similar to their mean wealth ranking, but lower inequality moves France (USD 106,830) up five places to fifth position, the Netherlands (USD 114,930) up eight places to fourth position, and Japan (USD 103,860) up ten places to seventh position. In contrast, high wealth inequality pushes Norway down seven places, and Denmark down 11 places, while median wealth of just USD 61,670 relegates the United States to 18th place, alongside Austria and Korea.
I have wondered why Australians travel so much. It’s because we are bloody rich.

30 or 40 years ago, the only time an average Australia planned to travel overseas was on a honeymoon (and then to places like Fiji or New Zealand) or possibly retirement. Now if you don’t go overseas yearly, you have somehow failed (yes, hyperbole). Housing affordability is an issue, but this will change, and is changing now. Low unemployment, good public health care and welfare safety nets. Still the Lucky Country.

Alright, enough crowing. Comments? Is the assertion that median wealth is the best measure of a country’s wealth a reasonable one?
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Old 10th January 2019, 02:34 AM   #2
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Excuse me while I turn left on my next international flight.
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Old 10th January 2019, 03:13 AM   #3
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Well done Australia, time for the rest of us to raise our game (some hope!).
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Old 10th January 2019, 03:30 AM   #4
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Actually having a sensible pensions policy probably helps.
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Old 10th January 2019, 03:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Actually having a sensible pensions policy probably helps.
Donít I know that! I havenít retired yet, but when I do it will be on $60k or so, in a combination of part government pension and superannuation.
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Old 10th January 2019, 03:42 AM   #6
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I guess it's harder to be stuck in a zero-sum mentality when your country is so vast that most people wouldn't even want a large piece of it for free.
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Old 10th January 2019, 04:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
........Alright, enough crowing. Comments?.....
Yeah. You've got a crap cricket team.

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Old 10th January 2019, 04:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Yeah. You've got a crap cricket team.

Balloon burst.

Bugger you MikeG. My median wealth has just halved.....
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Old 10th January 2019, 04:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
I guess it's harder to be stuck in a zero-sum mentality when your country is so vast that most people wouldn't even want a large piece of it for free.
Maybe. A lot of overseas corporations seem happy to buy large tracts of farming and grazing land though, and property in cities go for astronomical prices.

Am I misinterpreting you? Probably am. Iíve been on four flights in the last two days over large parts of our not so free land. Iím pretty tired.
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Old 10th January 2019, 04:38 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Maybe. A lot of overseas corporations seem happy to buy large tracts of farming and grazing land though, and property in cities go for astronomical prices.

Am I misinterpreting you? Probably am. Iíve been on four flights in the last two days over large parts of our not so free land. Iím pretty tired.
Nah, you are probably right.
Still, compared to Europe, where there is no such thing as uninhabited space and no chance to (at least in theory) move to a remote place, the Outbacks might work as a release valve for the kind of people who can't stand being near anyone else.
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Old 10th January 2019, 05:00 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Nah, you are probably right.
Still, compared to Europe, where there is no such thing as uninhabited space and no chance to (at least in theory) move to a remote place, the Outbacks might work as a release valve for the kind of people who can't stand being near anyone else.
Yes I agree with that. But the dynamic is the other way. The cities, mainly Sydney and Melbourne, are growing rapidly while regional centres are shrinking. Itís not the cost of land, itís jobs and opportunities which drive population growth here.

I met a guy today who was born and bred in Mossman in tropical North Queensland. In many ways, a tropical paradise. He couldnít wait to get out of there. No jobs apart from sugar farming. This is happening across the country.

Mining and food production will continue to be important to our economy, but our future is in knowledge, service and finance industries which reside in cities.

Despite the outback Australia mythos, cities are our future, supported by mining and food.
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Old 10th January 2019, 05:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
...... the Outbacks might work as a release valve for the kind of people who can't stand being near anyone else.
The people of Darwin, Alice Springs and Kalgoorlie are noted for being.........erm............independent. Yep, that's the word. In the way that Alaskans have a reputation for being.........erm.........independent.
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Old 10th January 2019, 05:20 AM   #13
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I should have added in the OP that education and training, the industry I’m involved with, is a huge wealth generator. If I recall correctly, education of foreign students is our second biggest export earner, after mining.

Doesn’t really matter, as long as I can turn left on planes...
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Old 10th January 2019, 06:07 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
The people of Darwin, Alice Springs and Kalgoorlie are noted for being.........erm............independent. Yep, that's the word. In the way that Alaskans have a reputation for being.........erm.........independent.
It's hard to be fiercely independent when there is no one around to be fiercely independent at.
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Old 10th January 2019, 06:28 AM   #15
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I;m surprised. I though in America we have an average negative wealth. Because so many of us run up credit debt to buy depreciating toys. My neighbor just bought a $80.000 pick up truck to tow his $25K dune buggy to the sand dunes- twice a year. His wife drives a new leased SUV, new one every time the lease runs out. He rents his house. Owes back taxes. Overall, very negative net worth. They eat out lunches and dinners EVERY DAY. But how does the USA lifestyle compare? 99.7th percentile the last study I read.

But I didn't see the 'methods' in the study. I assume it is Personal Wealth minus debt? Public assets didn't count?

eta: I found 'methods', it is personal net wealth.
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Old 10th January 2019, 07:01 AM   #16
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Sidetrack: Running the U.S. Gov on a net wealth/property tax instead of income tax would take a 5% tax rate. No phoney baloney scales, no depreciations, no B.S. 5%, send it in.
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Old 10th January 2019, 07:54 AM   #17
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If the Aussies are so wealthy, it's because they feed the poor to the dingoes.
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Old 10th January 2019, 08:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
If the Aussies are so wealthy, it's because they feed the poor to the dingoes.
So, that's the secret to the flavor of dingo piss Fosters?

More on point, I'm actually with casebro in that I'm surprised the US even has a positive number for median wealth. I wonder if that is a reflection of the real estate recovery.
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Old 10th January 2019, 08:39 AM   #19
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But are the indigenous Australians rich? Not so much...
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Old 10th January 2019, 09:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I have wondered why Australians travel so much. Itís because we are bloody rich.

I thought it was because you're treated like royalty when you go abroad!
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Old 10th January 2019, 09:34 AM   #21
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Australia, bah? The real measure of a country is how they treat their prisoners.
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Old 10th January 2019, 09:53 AM   #22
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No, I think it's more about how they treat their descendants.
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:29 AM   #23
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Doesn't Australia have a big problem with household debt that every administration since Howard has been ignoring?
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:35 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
But are the indigenous Australians rich? Not so much...
I didnít say Australia had no poverty. Very low by world standards, but not zero.
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Old 10th January 2019, 11:47 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Sidetrack: Running the U.S. Gov on a net wealth/property tax instead of income tax would take a 5% tax rate. No phoney baloney scales, no depreciations, no B.S. 5%, send it in.
5% wealth tax would force me to sell off assets to pay it, then my wealth (and consequently government revenue) would decrease as a result.

However, people might not want to buy the assets because it would just mean more taxes. Then the assets would decrease in market value resulting in even less revenue to the government.
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Old 10th January 2019, 12:22 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Spock Jenkins View Post
However, people might not want to buy the assets ...

I think it's a risk worth taking ...
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Old 10th January 2019, 02:09 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I didnít say Australia had no poverty. Very low by world standards, but not zero.

Does that include the Aboriginal peoples? How do they figure into the stats?
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Old 10th January 2019, 02:39 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Spock Jenkins View Post
5% wealth tax would force me to sell off assets to pay it, then my wealth (and consequently government revenue) would decrease as a result.

However, people might not want to buy the assets because it would just mean more taxes. Then the assets would decrease in market value resulting in even less revenue to the government.
How does 5% of your assets compare to 28% income tax PLUS 6 1/2- 14% Social security tax ? Most people would come out waaay ahead, except the 10%ers ot the 1 percenters who manage to finagle the numbers and not pay a dime.
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Old 10th January 2019, 05:22 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
In comparing countries’ respective wealth, I believe that median wealth is the best measure as the mean is distorted by the massive wealth of a relatively few billionaires. Credit Suisse has recently released its 2018 report. 2017’s highest wealth nation by this measure was Switzerland. 2018 is, drum roll.........

Australia.

https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/...eport-2018.pdf



I have wondered why Australians travel so much. It’s because we are bloody rich.

30 or 40 years ago, the only time an average Australia planned to travel overseas was on a honeymoon (and then to places like Fiji or New Zealand) or possibly retirement. Now if you don’t go overseas yearly, you have somehow failed (yes, hyperbole). Housing affordability is an issue, but this will change, and is changing now. Low unemployment, good public health care and welfare safety nets. Still the Lucky Country.

Alright, enough crowing. Comments? Is the assertion that median wealth is the best measure of a country’s wealth a reasonable one?

It is, of course, fascinating to peruse all these statistics. However, we need to be careful not to let logical fallacy creep in, along the lines "I live in a rich country, therefore I am rich."

For example, countries like Finland are wealthy by world standards BUT they pay 40% in income tax. True social facilities (education, hospitals, care of the elderly) are second to none.

Americans get just two week's holiday (in Finland it's six weeks plus) and little or no job security and healthcare sounds like a nightmare. An American friend of mine has a round trip to work every day of 200 miles and tells me that is quite normal.

Wealth, poverty, it is all relative.
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Old 10th January 2019, 05:29 PM   #30
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With the highest median wealth in the world, Australia should be able to afford an indigenous space launch capability any day now.
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Old 10th January 2019, 05:30 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
How does 5% of your assets compare to 28% income tax PLUS 6 1/2- 14% Social security tax ? Most people would come out waaay ahead, except the 10%ers ot the 1 percenters who manage to finagle the numbers and not pay a dime.
Or people that diligently save, invest wisely, spend conservatively, and stay out of debt. 5% would exceed my salary.

For from a 1% and paid my own way through college. First one in my family to graduate college.
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Old 10th January 2019, 07:12 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
With the highest median wealth in the world, Australia should be able to afford an indigenous space launch capability any day now.

Yes, I bet Vixen's American friend is extremely proud and will vote for Trump's space force next time.

Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
An American friend of mine has a round trip to work every day of 200 miles and tells me that is quite normal.

The Wall won't stop all kinds of aliens!

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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 10th January 2019, 09:14 PM   #33
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OK, I'm a bit stunned.

When I first read it, I thought:

"Holy crap I'm earning less than the median income, how did that happen?"

Then I realised it was median wealth.

And I have to say, I'm quite shocked that the figure is that low.

Shows how out of touch I am.

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Old 11th January 2019, 12:12 AM   #34
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Looked at the report and it says Australians are rich for two reasons
1. House prices are very high.
2. Australians have heaps of money tied up in superannuation. This money cannot be touched until retirement.
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Old 11th January 2019, 12:38 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Looked at the report and it says Australians are rich for two reasons
1. House prices are very high.
2. Australians have heaps of money tied up in superannuation. This money cannot be touched until retirement.
And?

Most wealth is not liquid.

The more important thing to take away is that the wealth inequality in Australia is low by international standards. And having high levels of superannuation means that Australians do not have to stash away every cent for retirement. Hence more travel and fun to be had.
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Old 11th January 2019, 03:24 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Alright, enough crowing. Comments? Is the assertion that median wealth is the best measure of a countryís wealth a reasonable one?
I think it's certainly a much better measure than mean wealth, for reasons that you point out.

There are still a few issues. One is that it may be comparing apples to oranges to some extent, given that cost of living in different places varies. If*, for instance, houses in Austrailia are very expensive but in Canada they are cheap, does that make Canadians poorer?

Casebro also mentions the issue of lifestyle. If one population is saving more but earning less than another population, they can still end up with more wealth than the other population because they tend to spend more of their income (on holidays, dining out, etc.).

To what extent those issues would change the story, I don't know, and they are just as much issues with measures of mean wealth as median wealth, so, again, you are certainly right that median wealth is a better measure than mean wealth.

*this is purely a hypothetical, I have no idea of the comparitive prices of real estate between Canada and Australia.
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Old 11th January 2019, 03:45 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
......The more important thing to take away is that the wealth inequality in Australia is low by international standards......
I've no great interest in economics, so I haven't thought about this much or looked at opinions either way............but is this necessarily a good thing? I mean, I've no doubt that Burkina Faso or Chad, for instance, would rate extremely highly on any comparison of international wealth inequality.
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Old 11th January 2019, 04:12 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
I've no great interest in economics, so I haven't thought about this much or looked at opinions either way............but is this necessarily a good thing? I mean, I've no doubt that Burkina Faso or Chad, for instance, would rate extremely highly on any comparison of international wealth inequality.
Sure. But I was thinking more of the US with itís shrinking middle class and rapidly expanding poverty and ultra rich. High mean wealth, sure, but number 18 in terms of median wealth. Given that I will never be ultra rich (unless I can win the $100m Powerball next week), I think Iím better off in Australia than the US or Chad.
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Old 11th January 2019, 05:18 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
In comparing countriesí respective wealth, I believe that median wealth is the best measure as the mean is distorted by the massive wealth of a relatively few billionaires.
Slightly off-topic, but you can use the mean if you eliminate data points beyond standard deviation.
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Old 11th January 2019, 05:19 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
If the Aussies are so wealthy, it's because they feed the poor to the dingoes.
You mean Tasmanian Tigers, right?
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