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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Inside the 1%

The figures below are from a recently released IRS study using 2007 data (the most recent available; note this is pre-2008 credit crisis). The study focuses on the top 1% of adults by wealth (net worth of at least $2M or so). Medians and means differ by a lot, which is explained by the distribution in the bottom figure. Click for larger images.

About 50% of the top 1% in wealth are over 60. Having $2M saved up for retirement is not nearly as unusual as, e.g., having accumulated $2M before age 50.

Net worth distribution within the population of top wealth holders (assets > $2M; about top 1% of adult population): having $10M puts you in the 90th percentile (so, top 0.1% of total population) and $50M puts you in the 99th percentile (top 0.01% of total population).

See also Real Wealth: "Most of those in the bottom half of the top 1% lack power and global flexibility and are essentially well-compensated workhorses for the top 0.5%, just like the bottom 99%. In my view, the American dream of striking it rich is merely a well-marketed fantasy that keeps the bottom 99.5% hoping for better and prevents social and political instability."

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