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[Opinion] Minimum Requirement to Be Rich

Posted August. 04, 2007 03:39,   


“How to Marry Money,” a book published in the U.S., advises those who want to marry millionaire singles to be in the right place at a right time. It also recommends they learn how to calculate the wealth of people by sight, or act in a manner that they can provide trust and comfort to the rich. Money, a U.S. business magazine, also suggests in its July edition of “How to Marry a Billionaire” to “study their businesses, hangouts, pets, favorite philanthropies, artists, music and vacation spots” to connect yourself with the rich. However, it also suggests that you may simply have to “learn how to live with the less,” or “lower your sights,” as most of the ultra-rich are either married or very old.

The number of people with more than $1 million in assets -- not including their homes -- is $9.5 million, according the 2006 World Wealth Report, released by Merrill Lynch, one of the largest securities firms in the U.S.. In order to join the ranks of the super-rich, or the top one percent of the group, you must have assets of at least 30 million dollars. There are 946 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Meanwhile, it is increasingly difficult to be regarded as a rich person in Korea. The minimum wealth required to join the ranks of the rich in Korea rose to 2.7 billion won in 2007, up from 2.03 billion won in 2006, according to a survey by the Hangil Research polling agency. According to a customer survey conducted in 2006 by Shinhan Bank, 44 percent of the respondents answered that you should have at least 3 billion won to qualify yourself as a rich person. Ten percent of those surveyed also said that you have to have a minimum of 10 billion won to call yourself a rich person in Korea. What’s more, according to a recent survey by Scout, an online recruitment portal, most respondents in their 20s answered that it requires more than 5 billion won to join the ranks of the rich. It reminds us a line from singer Hyeon Yeong’s recent commercial; “This is just a way too much.”

Thomas Stanley introduces a formula to calculate the rich index in his book “The Millionaire Next Door”; (Net assets × 10) ÷ (Age × net annual income). He says that if the index is more than one, you may have a greater chance to be a rich person compared to others in your age group. He also says that, if the figure is below 0.5, you are poorly managing your assets and, if it is more than two, you are wisely managing your investment. Nonetheless, Stanley points out that the surprising secret of the wealthy is “savings.”

Hong Kwon-hee, Editorial Writer, konihong@donga.com