Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on SmartAsset.com.
In order for someone to be considered an “extremely high net worth individual,” they typically need to have at least $30 million of net investable assets in their name. However, this is not really a legal definition.
As the name suggests, the ultra-rich are the richest people on the planet, including the world’s billionaires. These individuals sit significantly above those considered high net worth individuals.
The number of ultra-high net worth individuals continues to grow, and the demographics of these individuals are constantly changing, according to numerous journals and studies around the world.
Here’s a closer look at who’s in this elite group.
What constitutes a super-rich individual?
Although there is no legal standard when it comes to determining who is a UHNWI, it is often defined as those with assets of $30 million or more.
This money must be in investable assets, which is an important distinction to be made. For example, many startup founders, business owners, and real estate investors may have more than $30 million of their net worth on paper, but not all of that money may be available for investment. In contrast, these individuals would not be considered high net worth individuals under this definition.
Ultra-high net worth individuals belong to a distinct category of their own, although there are similar peers, most commonly high net worth individuals. To be in this group, you need more than $1.5 million in net assets worth $750,000 in investable assets.
It is important to note that to reach any of these limits, the investable assets must also be net of liabilities. So those who have large amounts of investment as well as high levels of debt may not reach the level they expect.
While ultra-high net worth individuals are typically defined as having more than $30 million in net investable assets, remember that this is not a strict definition. Most people, countries, and financial institutions will adhere to this standard, but some will have other definitions. If a financial institution says that it only works with very high net worth individual clients, it is worth clarifying with the company in person.
For help with investment and financial planning questions, consider using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool.
Who Makes the World of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals?
According to the Wealth Report, published by Knight Frank in 2021, there are more than 520,000 ultra-high net worth individuals in the world, which is a 2% increase from 2019.
About a third of these individuals reside in the United States. China also has a large proportion of the world’s super-rich.
Only about 15% of the world’s wealthy are women.
However, it should be noted that other studies have found different numbers of ultra-high net worth individuals globally. For example, Barron’s reported a total of about 300,000 for 2020.
There are some well-known names at the top of the global list of ultra-high net worth individuals, including all the billionaires in the world. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and MacKenzie Bezos are all super-rich.
Many billionaires and other mega-rich people have earned their fortunes by starting and owning businesses. Many of these high net worth individuals invest heavily in real estate.
The benefits of being a very wealthy individual
Remember that while most people and organizations consider ultra-high net worth individuals to be those with more than $30 million in net investable assets, the definition can change from situation to situation.
However, regardless of the standard used, the biggest advantage of being an extremely wealthy individual is the fact that you are incredibly financially comfortable and may have more robust investment opportunities than your less affluent peers.
It is true that ultra-high net worth individuals may have the advantage of being able to work with some exclusive financial institutions, but reaching $30 million usually ends up being a status symbol and statistic more than anything else.
If you are considering a major investment or are working with a particular financial institution, it may be a good idea to have a conversation to discuss any special transaction or terms that may come with being a very wealthy individual.
The ultra-high net worth individuals all have very good financial conditions. Typically, they would need $30 million in investable assets to qualify, but various institutions and individuals may have their own definitions of what constitutes a super-high net worth individual.
There are high net worth individuals all over the world, but most of them reside in the United States and most of them are older men. While high net worth individuals and ultra high net worth individuals are also impressive financial differentials, ultra high net worth individuals sit at the very top of the wealth pyramid and may have exclusive access to certain financial institutions and investments.
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