A little perspective …


For a bit of fun, I typed in an annual income of $220,000 into this handy little online calculator, and it shows that I’m the 107,565th richest person in the world … whoohoo!

Now, if I typed in my real annual income, I think that I could jump myself higher up that list … and, if I factored in that I get that money mainly passively, well ….

Reminds me of an interview that I saw with Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque Du Soleil, who went from street performer (read homeless hustler) to sharing the same level of wealth as Oprah.

Now, that’s not the bit that blew me away; what did was that they were sharing something like 160th place on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world: Oprah … Cirque Du Soleil Man … and, they ONLY get to be joint 160th (approx.) on the list??!!

Who are these other dudes between them and Bill Gates?!

So, it’s really good to be able to put things in perspective and realize that if you are earning almost ANY regular salary, you are in the Top 10% of the richest people on the planet:

The Global Rich List calculations are based on figures from the World Bank Development Research Group. To calculate the most accurate position for each individual we assume that the world’s total population is 6 billion¹ and the average worldwide annual income is $5,000².

Below is the yearly income in percentage for different income groups according to the World Bank’s figures³.

Percentage of world population Percentage of world income Yearly individual income Daily individual income
Bottom 10 percent 0.8 $400 $1,10
Bottom 20 percent 2.0 $500 $1,37
Bottom 50 percent 8.5 $850 $2,33
Bottom 75 percent 22.3 $1,487 $4,07
Bottom 85 percent 37.1 $2,182 $5,98
Top 10 percent 50.8 $25,400 $69,59
Top 5 percent 33.7 $33,700 $92,33
Top 1 percent 9.5 $47,500 $130,14

The world’s distribution of money can also be displayed as the chart below.

¹ 2003 world population Data Sheet of the Population Reference Bureau.
² Steven Mosher, president of the population research institute, CNN, October 13, 1999.
³ Milanovic, Branco. “True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993: First calculations based on household surveys alone”, World Bank Development Research Group, November 2000, page 30.

So, realize that UNLESS YOU ARE PLANNING TO DEVOTE SERIOUS SLABS OF YOUR TIME AND MONEY TO WORTHY CAUSES this blog and everything we are doing here is about as useful as a blog on whittling … and, probably a darn site less so, because there’s nothing inherently of artistic merit in even the best-crafted bank account.

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0 thoughts on “A little perspective …

  1. Wow I am also number 107,565. I guess that is the best score you can get.

    Anyway it is so true. I lived in the Philippines for a year and a half and I was very much in the elite, I was able to get the best service and best of everything when I was there and I lived on less than $2000 a month.

    Most of the people we know there made less than $100 per month for their entire family. We have chosen to give to pay for 4 kids to have a full ride at one of the nicest private high schools, with tuition, transportation, food and extras we send them a total of $170 a month, and that covers all of it with some left over.

    If I was a millionaire I would have a very hard time buying this really expensive things, knowing that for the price of this Rolex I could send 10 kids to school for a full 12 years and dramatically change their life, after thinking about that there is no way I could buy the watch, the $80 watch I have now works great, looks great and is enough for me.

    While I was there I was at a church and they had a video, it basically showed some stats, that if you slept in a bed, had a shower in your house and kept your food in a refrigerator you were better off than 85% of the world population. If you had a computer in your house, now you were in the top 9% and if you had a car that put you in the top 5%. I am sure that almost everyone that reads this falls in that top 5% and most of you also feel poor, and depressed about it, so feel blessed for what you have and move forward in life.

  2. Pingback: Some prespective for your life… « The Business Blog @ Capital Active

  3. @ Jason – Now, I’m feeling REALLY guilty about the watch that I bought in Omaha when I was at Warren Buffett’s AGM 🙂

    Even though we give to – and, do work for – various charities, I like your one-on-one approach … thanks for the additional inspiration!

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