THE 1%

August 15, 2015

The data for this post is taken from the following sources: 1.) The, 2.), 3.) IRS, 4.) Economic Policy Institute, 5.) Forbes Magazine, and 6.) Global Finance Magazine. The spreadsheets have been developed by this author.

I think we all agree the word “wealthy” is somewhat relative if we use money and assets as our baseline of comparison.  There are those who rely solely on the “almighty dollar” to keep score.  I would hope we all realize there is much more to life than money although covering our expenses and having a little “walking around” money; i.e. disposal income, is not all bad.  I would like to address wealth from a global perspective.

If we look at the world’s poorest countries measured by per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) we see the following:


Let’s do the same by region:


Now, compare this with the average annual U.S. income, stated by Forbes Magazine to be approximately $51,000.00, and you come away with the thought that “working Americans”are truly wealthy compared to the rest of the world.  PLEASE NOTE: I SAID “WORKING AMERICANS”.   We have a huge population unable, for whatever reason, to find gainful employment.  That’s another story for another day.

If we look at the statistics, we find the following:

  • According to the U.S. Census, the median income from 2000 to 2010 has declined by seven percent (7%).
  • The Economic Policy Institute indicates that between 2007 and 2009 the average household wealth for the wealthiest one-fifth of the population has declined by sixteen percent (16%). For the rest of us, the decline is right at twenty-five percent (25%). Granted, this period in our country was one of significant economic decline from which we have never really recovered.
  • According to the IRS, an adjusted gross income of $343,927.00 would put you in the top one percent (1%) of the working population, $159,619.00 in the top five percent (5%), and $113,799.00 in the top ten percent (10%). As we all know, adjusted gross income backs out taxes and allowable expenses.
  • The Tax Policy Center publishes the following for the top one percent (1%): 2009-$503,086.00, 2010-$516,633.00, and 2011-$532,613.00. This does NOT present adjusted gross income.
  • GET READY FOR THIS ONE:  Fifty-seven (57) members of Congress or approximately eleven percent (11%) of the 535 members are considered to be the “financial elite” of this country.  Two hundred and fifty (250) are millionaires in Congress.   In looking at all members there is an average net worth of $891,000.00.  This is nine times that of average Americans.

Now, let’s go “big-time”.  Can you name the top twenty richest people on the planet?  I can as follows:


Can you imagine a billion dollars? $1,000,000,000.00 How about eighty-six of those billion dollars? To really demonstrate just how far a billion dollars would go relative to the poorest countries, look at the chart below.  What I have calculated, based upon thirty-five billion dollars ($35 billion), is how long that amount would support an individual with a current daily income as given in a chart presented earlier.  The results are absolutely amazing.


Please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way condemning the wealthy, after all, in comparison with the world’s poorest, we the average American, are tremendously wealthy. Doing the calculation: $51,000/$394.25 = 129.36 years.  This is how long an annual American income would support an individual in the Congo-Kinshasa region. The wealthiest in the world have earned their money by tremendously hard work, focus, intensity, planning the work and working the plan, staying with their dreams and quite frankly sheer old determination. Never giving up, BUT they have developed skill sets and resources to realize their dreams.  This does not include:

  • Watching mindless TV each day.  According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of non-stop TVwatching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
  • Hours of video games. A nationally representative study found that the average American 8-to-18 years old play video games for 13.2 hours per week. According to a survey of parents, 36% of children ages 0 to 6 years old have played video games. By age 6, the brain grows to 75-90% of its adult size.
  • Never reading a book. In the US,  seventy-five percent (75%) of people sixteen (16)  years and older read at least one book last year; of those people the average number of books read was fifteen (15), but the median, which is more representative of the average American, was six  (6).  This is a little better than I expected.  Hooray for our side.
  • Dropping out of high school.   By the way, the dropout rate is described as follows: Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day. About 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time. THIS IS A DIASTER FOR OUR COUNTRY.
  • Involved with drugs and drug addiction.  More than twenty-two  million (22 million) Americans age twelve (12) and older – nearly nine percent ( 9%) of the U.S. population – use illegal drugs, according to the government’s 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Drinking to access-– National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Prevalence of Drinking:  In 2013, 86.8 of people ages eighteen ( 18) or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.   Deaths among individuals aged twelve (12) and older, 46.4 percent involved alcohol. … Expanding our understanding of the relationship between moderate alcohol.

Last but not least, one quote from “silent Cal” basically says it all:  “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

PERSISTENCE is one skill set all of the “greats” have.  As always, I welcome your comments. HANG IN THERE—YOU DAN DO IT.


%d bloggers like this: