People of means: trends among high net worth individuals


As the super-wealthy come under attack by social justice warriors on Twitter, it begs the question: is wealth no longer the status symbol it once was? After all, nobody knocked extravagant wealth back in the ’80s. Even Bill Gates has called for higher taxes on the rich – something that proves times have changed, and with it the reality of high net worth individuals (HNWIs), who arguably have more worries than ever (worries which average people would dearly love to have, along with the good wardrobe, Ferrari and Rolex).

In South Africa, the discourse is framed around the Gini coefficient, which proves the rich have been getting conspicuously wealthier while the poor have been getting poorer. South Africa’s Gini coefficient, the worst in the world, indicates 10% of the population continues to earn more than 50% of the household income in the country, with the poorest 40% accounting for less than 7% of the household income.

Unsurprisingly, HNWIs are showing a lot more interest in downscaling.

“More conscious HNWIs are definitely moving away from a more opulent lifestyle to a more liquid holding of wealth,” says Sunel Veldtman, CEO and chief client strategist, Family Foundation Wealth. “The new status symbol is far more likely to be bought citizenship in a country like Portugal than a flashy car or a holiday home.”

To read more about trends among high net worth individuals in South Africa, download the April issue of RISKAFRICA magazine now!

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