The world economy only grew by 3.1 percent in 2015. But the world’s billionaires did much better. As David Barks, associate director of custom research for Wealth-X, understands, “Wealth helps accumulate more wealth.”
According to the latest Wealth-X report on the global billionaire population, the world’s billionaire population grew by 6.4 percent, to 2,473, last year. And their combined wealth increased by 5.4 percent, to a record $7.7 trillion.
Needless to say, the members of this group of ultra-wealthy individuals form one of the most exclusive clubs in the world; there is only one billionaire for every 2.95 million people on the planet.
So, what were the world’s billionaires doing in 2015? Well, they were busy taking money off the table (liquidity was up to 22.2 percent of their net worth), diversifying their business exposure and investments (finance, banking and investment represent just 15.2 percent of all billionaires’s investments compared to 19.3 percent in 2014), and planning their 2016 social calendar (from Davos to St. Bart’s).
The billions of people who are not in the billionaire club, meanwhile, had quite different worries, including capitalism’s slow growth, precarious employment, and flat or falling incomes.
That’s because they don’t have much in the way of wealth—and what little wealth they do have isn’t the kind of wealth that helps them accumulate more wealth.