Singapore – Land of Millionaires?

A colleague sent me some statistics today.

 Top 20 Countries with Highest Proportion of Millionaires

1.     Singapore– 15.5%
2.     Switzerland  9.9%
3.     Qatar– 8.9%
4.     Hong Kong– 8.6%
5.     Kuwait– 8.5%
6.     U.A.E – 5.0%
7.     United States– 4.5%
8.     Taiwan– 3.6%
9.     Israel – 3.4%
10. Belgium – 3.1%
11. Japan – 3.0%
12. Bahrain – 2.6%
13. Ireland – 2.3%
14. Netherlands – 2.3%
15. United Kingdom – 2.2%
16. Oman – 2.1%
17. Saudi Arabia – 2.0%
18. Denmark – 1.7%
19. Australia – 1.6%
20. Canada – 1.4%

Percentages are based on number of millionaire households as a share of the country’s total number of households.

However, I was initially rather skeptical. My colleagues’s email stated no sources, so I did a little googling. I believe this was the article in question. With the recent property boom in Singapore, most families saw their primary home values escalate tremendously. If that was included in the calculations, the results would have been rather skewed. However, the article stated:

 “Measured assets include cash deposits, money market funds, listed securities held directly or indirectly through managed investments, and onshore and offshore assets – but not wealth attributed to investors own businesses, residences or luxury goods.”

 Well, that was not so bad then. However, I believe the proportion of entrepreneurs in Singapore will be significantly less than some of the Western countries, most notably, the States. By not measuring wealth attributed to investors own businesses, was the bigger picture perhaps somewhat skewed?

I also wondered how households were defined. Taking my family as an example, would the measured assets have included only my parent’s own, or mine and Sis’s as well, since we all live under one roof? Again, that would probably have skewed the results somewhat, since Asian families generally stay together longer and pool assets more often.

Despite the questionable methodology, for Singapore to make the list is something quite spectacular in my opinion. This is especially since it wasn’t that long ago when we had to explain in great depth to foreigners exactly who we were and that no, we are not a province of China. I confess I am a patriot and enjoy most lists which put my country right at the top. For example, most Singaporeans complain about the fact that we have the highest paid ministers in the world. But I feel a weird sense of pride that a lower level minister in our government outearns the Mr No.1 – The President of United States. If that is not an indication that we’ve arrived¸ nothing else is. 🙂


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