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How much do you have to make to be considered rich in Germany?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected] • 22 Jan, 2023 Updated Sun 22 Jan 2023 09:17 CEST
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Whether someone is wealthy or rich in Germany depends on the yardstick used, but it might come in lower than some may think. Photo: Mathieu Stern/Unsplash

It takes a lot less to make the top ten percent of earners in Germany than it does in many other countries.

How much do you need to make to be comfortable in Germany, or considered well-off? It’s not the easiest question to answer. The cost of living can differ wildly between cities and federal states, with the same salaries going a lot further in Leipzig and Berlin than in Hamburg or Munich.

In fact, an income, or even net worth, that might be considered wealthy in Germany is often likely to leave people well short of the types of amenities often associated with the super-rich - like having more than one home or being able to regularly fly first class or privately.

In its most recent figures from December 2021, the Institute for German Economy (IW) found that a single person earning €3,700 a month after taxes qualifies as rich, as that puts them in the top ten percent of earners in the country. For a couple without children, the combined amount is a bit less, with €5,550 being enough to place them in Germany’s top ten percent.

IW also notes the net monthly salary that would place a single German earner in the top five and top one percent, which would be €4,560 and €7,190 respectively.

The Federal Labour Ministry, however, sets these earnings slightly higher. The ministry figures show that anyone who makes triple the average monthly German salary qualifies as rich. As the average net salary is €1,900, a person netting €5,700 a month would therefore be considered rich.

READ ALSO: Moving to Germany: How much money do I need to live in Berlin?

What makes someone wealthy in Germany as opposed to rich?

IW denotes a difference between “rich,” or people who have high monthly incomes, and “wealth,” which refers to the assets someone owns. Theoretically, someone making a high salary but without a lot of assets can be rich without being wealthy.

For Germany, IW’s magic number for wealth is €477,200 in assets. Anyone who has at least this belongs to the top ten percent of wealth in the country. With more than a handful of standard size German flats and houses going for that price in 2022, many people owning their property outright may already belong to the top ten percent of wealth in Germany.

These results highlight the scale of inequality in Germany, which as German Institute for Economic Research Head Marcel Fratzscher points out, sees a great deal of wealth concentrated in very few hands.

50 percent of people in Germany possess just 1.3 percent of the country’s wealth, whereas the top ten percent have about 67 percent of German wealth.

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

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Aaron Burnett 2023/01/22 09:17

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