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WEALTH

Germany takes third spot in global ranking of ‘ultra-rich’ people

Germany has snagged third place in a ranking showing the ultra rich of the world, while the number of millionaires has also gone up despite the pandemic.

Germany takes third spot in global ranking of ‘ultra-rich’ people
The number of rich is growing despite the pandemic. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Jens Kalaene

The year 2020 caused financial stress for many people across the world. But some people – including in Germany – actually got richer. 

Overall across the world, the number of individuals with a financial wealth of over 100 million US dollars (€82.25 million) grew by 6,000 during the coronavirus pandemic year 2020, according to the Global Wealth 2021 report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Currently a record 60,000 people belong to the ultra-rich club. These individuals own 15 percent of the world’s investable assets, according to the report.

Germany came in at third place on global rankings, with around 2,900 of these “ultra-high net worth individuals,”.  The US is at the top with about 20,600 people with a wealth of over 100 million dollars, followed by China with 7,800.

READ ALSO: Who belongs to the top 10 percent of earners in Germany?

What about private wealth?

People around the globe accumulated more wealth than ever before in the coronavirus crisis year 2020.

Private financial assets rose by eight percent year-on-year to a record 250 trillion US dollars (around €205 trillion), according to the analysis.

Rising stock market prices and growing savings contributed to this. For the first time, BCG also took into account tangible assets such as real estate or gold. Total wealth thus amounted to 431 trillion dollars.

In Germany, private financial assets, including cash, account balances, shares, pensions and life insurance policies, rose by around six percent to approximately nine trillion dollars, according to the data. Tangible assets increased by five percent to 13 trillion dollars.

“Germans traditionally invest in real estate,” said BCG partner and report author Anna Zakrewski.  This is clearly shown by the real asset ratio of just under 60 percent, she said.

“At the same time, investors in Germany are saving at an above-average rate.”

Many people have been holding on to their money during the crisis, Zakrewski said, adding that temporary closures in the retail sector and travel restrictions were also putting the brakes on spending.

READ ALSO: How and why Germany’s super-rich list is growing

The number of dollar millionaires in Germany increased by 35,000 to 542,000 in 2020, according to the report. 

The consulting firm said the increase could partly be attributed to the development of the euro exchange rate, which rose against the dollar. This had a noticeable effect on the conversion to the US currency.

Across the globe, 26.6 million people own financial assets of one million dollars or more – up by 1.8 million from the previous pre-Covid year.

The US led the global wealth ranking overall with 136 trillion dollars, followed by Asia excluding Japan (111.9 trillion) and Western Europe (103 trillion). In view of the expected economic recovery after the crisis, BCG believes global private wealth will grow steadily in the coming years.

READ ALSO: This is how many millionaires live in Germany

Who are the richest people in Germany?

As heirs to Aldi Süd, they became billionaires: Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Junior are currently the richest people in Germany, with assets of 39.2 billion US dollars, according to Forbes.

In second place of the richest Germans is Dieter Schwarz, owner of the Schwarz Group, which Lidl and Kaufland belong ($36.9 billion) to. Theo Albrecht, the co-owner of Aldi Nord, is also in the top seven, with assets of $18.8 billion.

Internationally, however, another (super) market founder is leading: with 177 billion US dollars, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is currently considered the wealthiest person in the world.

Graph translated by Statista for The Local Germany

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MONEY

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

An economic study has shown huge regional differences in income throughout Germany. So which parts of the country have the most to spend each month, and which are feeling the squeeze?

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

A study by the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Hans-Böckler foundation reveals stark regional differences in disposable income in Germany. In some cases, households had as much as double the spending money of those in other parts of the country. 

Here’s where people have the most – and least – disposable income each month.

What is disposable income?

The WSI calculated disposable income as the sum of income from wealth and employment, minus social contributions, income taxes, property taxes and other direct benefits or taxes.

What’s left is the income which private households can either spend on consumer goods or save.

The study, which was based on the most recent available national accounts data for 2019, looked at the disposable income of all of the 401 counties, districts and cities across Germany.

Which regions have the highest and lowest disposable incomes?

The study found that the regions with the highest disposable incomes were in the southern states.

Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg had the highest disposable income of all 401 German counties and independent cities – with an average per capita disposable income of €42,275. The district of Starnberg in Bayern followed in second place with €38,509.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: How much do employees really earn across Germany’s states?

By comparison, per capita incomes in the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia were less than half as high, at €17,015 and €17,741 respectively. These regions had the lowest disposable income in the country. 

The study also found that, more than thirty years since German reunification, the eastern regions continue to lag behind those in the west in terms of wages.

According to the WSI, the Potsdam-Mittelmark district is the only district in the former east where the disposable per capita income of €24,127 exceeds the national average of €23,706.

Do regional price differences balance things out?

The study also showed that regionally different price levels contribute to a certain levelling out of disposable incomes, as regions with high incomes also tend to have higher rents and other living costs.

“People then have more money in their wallets, but they cannot afford more to the same extent,” WSI scientist Toralf Pusch explained.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When will Germany raise the minimum wage?

Therefore, incomes in the eastern states, adjusted for purchasing power, are generally somewhat higher than the per capita amounts would suggest.

That could explain why, even after price adjustment, the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in western Germany continue to be at the very bottom of the list.

Saxon-Anhalt’s Halle an der Saale, on the other hand, which has an average disposable income of only €18,527, benefits from the lower prices in the east.

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