Imagine living a life of opulence, surrounded by the finest luxuries money can buy. This appears to many of us to be a pipe dream reserved only for the richest people in the world. But have you ever wondered what it takes to be among the wealthiest 1% in the world? Find out what it means to be part of the top 1% income earners worldwide. From jaw-dropping figures to surprising insights, discover what it takes to join the world’s financial elite 1%!
What does being in the top 1% really mean?
Top 1% individuals are among the wealthiest individuals in the world as measured by their income or net worth compared to the rest of the population. Being in the top 1% means having access to exclusive opportunities, financial stability, and a sense of fulfillment. However, income thresholds for the top 1% vary widely from country to country, with higher thresholds in developed countries like the US.
For instance, in the United States, the annual income requirement to be in the top 1% is over $421,000, however in some undeveloped nations, it may just be $32,000.
Are you in the Top 1%? How do you qualify?
Normally, to be considered among the top 1%, one must be the wealthiest or highest-earning member of a group or society. The income and net worth data may slightly differ between studies and states, therefore it’s critical to grasp the facts in your area to have a complete understanding.
According to recent surveys, an individual must earn at least $597,815 annually to be in the top 1% of income in the United States, and their net worth must be at least $11.1 million to qualify. The precise income or wealth criteria, however, vary by nation or region. You must make at least six figures annually to be considered one of the top earners in the US.
Being in the top 1% is not a permanent status, and throughout time, people may shift in and out of the top 1% as a result of economic and social mobility. Additionally, a number of variables, including alterations in economic policy, market conditions, and personal circumstances, can have an impact on a person’s financial state.
How much Income you need to earn to be in the Top 1%?
The amount of income needed to be in the top 1% varies by country and region. However, according to a report by the World Inequality Database, the threshold to be in the top 1% of global income earners in 2022 is $537,000 per year. Of course, the figures differ from state to state and may exhibit slight disparities across different research studies. For this reason, understanding the income and net worth statistics specific to your region is imperative.
Top 1% Income Earnings by Country in 2023
The global discrepancy in income is extremely high, with only a small fraction of the population belonging to the top 1% of earners. Here’s how much you should earn (in dollars) annually to be in the top 1% of different countries as per Bloomberg report!
1. United States: $488,000
If you want to be in the top 1 percent in the United States, you’d need around $488,000. A monthly cost of living of approximately $1951 can be expected.
2. UAE: $922,000
Those who wish to belong to the UAE’s elite 1 percent group must earn at least $922,000 (33,85,860 United Arab Emirates Dirham) pretax each year. You may also be surprised to learn that the UAE does not impose an income tax!
3. Singapore: $722,000
To be in the top 1% of Singaporeans, you’d need a pretax income of around $722,000 (9,63,606 Singapore Dollars) per year. To live in Singapore, you would need $2169 per month to make ends meet.
4. Bahrain: $485,000
For you to join the top 1% of Bahrain, you will need approximately $485,000 (1,82,836 Bahraini Dinars). Similarly, to UAE, Bahrain does not impose any personal taxes on its citizens.
5. Germany: $277,000
The German economy was ranked 20th in terms of global wealth in 2021. According to estimates, you will need to earn $277,000 (2,52,709 Euros) to enter the top 1% of earners.
6. United Kingdom: $248,000
The annual pretax income required to live in the UK and be considered a member of the top 1% is $248,000 (1,99,449 Pounds). The country has the highest cost of living in 2023.
7. Australia: $246,000
It costs $246,000 (3,65,940 Australian Dollars) to be part of the top 1% in Australia, the 21st richest country in the world.
8. Canada: $201,000
Canada ranks 24th on the list of richest countries. You’ll make the top 1% of the country with $201,000 (2,69,474 Canadian Dollars) pretax income.
9. China: $107,000
It is estimated that a person needs to make $107,000 (7,36,588 Chinese Yuan) a year to be in the top 1% of China.
10. India: $77,000
Getting into the top 1% in India is relatively easy – you need just over $77,000 (16,13,073 Indian Rupees) per year to make it there.
It's worth noting that these figures are subject to change and can vary depending on the data source and methodology used to calculate them.
How much income puts you in the top 1%, 5%, and 10% Globally?
Below are some estimates of the average earnings of those in the top 1%, 5%, and 10% globally:
- Top 1%: At least $896,490 per year
- Top 5%: At least $343,000 per year
- Top 10%: At least $173,000 per year
Although the income of the top 1% varies, according to Forbes' study from 2022, the group's minimum net worth is a whopping $11.1 million.
It should be noted that these projections are based on individual income rather than household income and are computed using purchasing power parity (PPP), which accounts for regional variations in the cost of living. Also, depending on the data and methods utilized, these estimates might not be exact and may change.
How do the Top 1% make their Income?
The ultra-rich, who are frequently seen as belonging to the top 1% of society, live opulent lives that most of us can only dream of. They own multi-million dollar residences, yachts, and private planes, and they seem to have limitless means to pursue their interests.
But how do they acquire the top 1%? What are the revenue streams that enable them to reach such heights? According to estimates, business initiatives account for most of the affluent people's income (45%), followed by investments (30%), profitable careers (5%), and entertainment (5%). 15% more of the ultra-rich receive their income from inheritance.
Source #1: Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership
The accumulation of wealth for many of the ultra-rich can be attributed to their ownership of private businesses and their entrepreneurial mindset. According to Forbes, private business ownership accounts for 66% of billionaires’ net worth. Successful entrepreneurs possess the qualities of taking risks, thinking outside the box, and having a strong determination to succeed. As Mark Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur, once said, the key is to be right just once, regardless of how many times one has failed.
Notable business owners and entrepreneurs, such as
- Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton with a net worth of over $211 billion (about $650 per person in the US)
- Jeff Bezos of Amazon with a net worth of over $127 billion (about $390 per person in the US)
- Elon Musk of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter with a net worth of over $2192 billion (about $6,700 per person in the US)
- Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of RIL with a net worth of around $83.4 billion (about $260 per person in the US), serve as examples of the potential financial rewards of entrepreneurship.
A report by Wealth-X and UBS found that 55.8% of the world’s billionaires accumulated their wealth through entrepreneurship or business ownership, with technology, consumer and retail, and real estate as the top industries for billionaire entrepreneurs. Additionally, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that the top 1% of income earners are more likely to be business owners or entrepreneurs.
Source #2: Investments
The ultra-rich rely heavily on investment income as a major source of their earnings. In contrast to the average person who may invest for long-term financial planning or retirement, the ultra-rich have a distinct approach to investing. Their primary objective is to generate income through their investments, and although they also seek to increase the value of their assets, they often utilize investments as a means of generating passive income.
Investment Philosophy of the Very Rich: The ultra-wealthy approach investing differently than typical investors, prioritizing generating income and capital appreciation. UBS research shows that their primary concern is income generation rather than growth, and they focus more on asset preservation than higher returns.
Preferred Investment Options of Top 1%: There is a variety of investment choices available to ultra-wealthy individuals, though certain options are more favored than others. UBS has reported that the investment portfolio of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) encompasses Equity, Cash, Bonds, Real Estate, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, Infrastructure, and Commodities. A combination of these investments can provide an improved balance between risk and return.
Examples of Top 1% and their Investment Income Sources:
Several wealthy individuals are known for their substantial net worth, which is primarily derived from their investments.
- Warren Buffett, for example, has a shareholding of approximately 38% in Berkshire Hathaway, the company he founded, which generates most of his income. Berkshire Hathaway’s total net worth is valued at roughly $700 billion.
- Elon Musk, whose primary sources of income are his investments and business ventures. Musk is the largest shareholder in Tesla, owning about 22% of the company’s stock. He also has investments in Paypal, SpaceX, DeepMind, The Boring Company, and Bitcoin.
- Late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala also earned most of his income from his investments, with major holdings in companies such as Titan, Crisil, and Lupin.
According to a report from Capgemini, wealthy individuals prefer real estate as an asset class due to its tangibility and stability. Real estate is viewed as an attractive investment option as it generates rental income and long-term capital appreciation.
Source #3: High Paying Professions
High-paying professions are also a route to riches for some ultra-rich people. Let’s shed some light on some high-paying professions that are known to generate significant wealth.
Corporate executives (CEOs, CFOs, etc.): According to a report by Wealth-X, a prominent global market research, and wealth intelligence firm, the largest group of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals comprises business executives and managers. These individuals, who include CEOs and other top executives of large corporations, earn substantial salaries and bonuses through executive compensation, with an average net worth of around $30 million.
Lawyers: Lawyers are recognized for their ability to earn substantial sums of money, particularly those who focus on corporate law or litigation. Forbes reported that some of the world’s top-paid lawyers make millions of dollars annually.
Doctors: In numerous countries, medical practitioners rank high among the highest earners. In the United States, for instance, certain specialists like neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and cardiologists typically earn an average of more than $400,000 annually.
Investment Bankers: Another category of professionals who make a good living is investment bankers. They are in charge of managing investments, raising funds, and advising businesses on mergers and acquisitions.
Management Consultants: Management consultants are professionals who specialize in analyzing business operations and proposing solutions to enhance their performance. Glassdoor’s data reveals that the average annual salary for management consultants in the United States is $85,000, while the highest earners make over $200,000 per year.
The list of high-earning professions includes:
- IT Managers and software developers
- Marketing managers and sales directors
- Aerospace engineers
- Data scientists and statisticians
- Petroleum engineers
It’s important to remember that earnings might vary considerably depending on location, expertise, and sector.
Source #4: Entertainment Industry & Professionals
Actors, musicians, athletes, comedians, and social media influencers are just a few of the professionals who have made tremendously prosperous careers in the entertainment sector, which is a very lucrative field. These prosperous people worked hard and used their skills to obtain their stand in the top 1%.
Acting: Actors, both lead and supporting, can make good money by appearing in movies and TV shows. Hollywood actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, for instance, have made more than $20 million per film. A TV series actor who has a large fan base and participates in multiple episodes can make tens of thousands of dollars for every episode. Depending on the terms of their contract and the level of popularity of the program, supporting actors may occasionally make more money than the lead actors.
Music: Album sales, concerts, tours, merchandising, and endorsements are all lucrative sources of money for musicians. For instance, the Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” tour in 2019 brought in over $400 million, Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” tour merchandise brought in over $1 million, Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” album sold over 2 million copies in its first week, Beyonce inked a $50 million deal with Pepsi to promote their products, and Drake reportedly agreed to a $19 million deal with Apple Music.
Sports: The money earned by professional athletes from contracts, endorsements, and prize money is also very large. Conor McGregor earned an astounding $180 million in just one year, making him the highest-paid athlete in 2021. Over £1.7 million (roughly $2.3 million USD) was awarded to the victor of the men’s singles match in the 2021 Wimbledon tennis championship. Similarly, the 2021 Master’s golf event champion took home $2.07 million USD in cash.
Social media: Social media influencers, including YouTubers, TikTokers, and Instagram stars. These are some of the high-earning social media influencers and YouTubers. PewDiePie, a Swedish YouTuber and comedian, has over 110 million subscribers and earned a reported $40 million in 2020. Kylie Jenner, an American reality TV star and social media influencer, has over 220 million followers on Instagram and reportedly earns around $1.2 million per sponsored post.
Comedy: Kevin Hart, who has made a lot of money from his work as a comedian, is proof that comedians can make a lot of money via touring, stand-up shows, and television appearances. Additionally, he has appeared in other comedy specials, including “Laugh at My Pain” and “What Now?” He made guest appearances on both “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Hart has earned money from his performances in films in addition to his careers in stand-up comedy and television.
Overall, the entertainment sector provides a wide range of high-paying jobs for people with talent and desire.
How to Join the Top 1%?
A survey of millionaires found that 20% of them were primarily concerned with increasing their money, while 30% of them showed concern about keeping their wealth when making financial future plans. These results offer some basic strategies for those looking to become millionaires.
You can research and learn from the wealth-building strategies put forth by the top 1%. Here are a few examples.
1. Learn from others’ successes:
By witnessing the experiences of wealthy people like Do Won Chang, we can learn important lessons. We can achieve success by surrounding ourselves with people who have the necessary skills.
For example, Chang wanted to be successful in the fashion business and so he applied for a job at a clothes store. There, he treated the company like his own and discovered how to be successful. Finding those who are experts in their field and attempting to learn from them is therefore vital.
2. Embrace an entrepreneurial mindset:
Chang eventually realized that he needed to venture out on his own if he wanted to achieve great financial success. Typically, being employed by someone else does not lead to becoming a one-percenter, although there are a few professions where individuals can earn over $400,000 annually during peak earning years. However, if one truly desires to join the top one percent of income earners, starting a business is a viable option.
Not only can business ownership potentially lead to high annual income, but it can also create wealth. According to Visual Capitalist, almost half of the assets owned by the wealthiest households in America’s top one percent are in the form of business or real estate ownership.
3. Have multiple streams of income:
To manage the risk of losing all your money if one investment performs poorly, it is wise to diversify your investments rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. This strategy involves spreading your money across various investment types, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and businesses.
Numerous self-made millionaires have implemented this strategy and generate income from multiple sources, including salaries, dividends, rental properties, and other business ventures. By diversifying their income streams, they ensure that if one source declines, they still have others to fall back on. This approach is often referred to as passive income, which refers to earning money without actively investing time and effort.
4. Become a Finfluencer
Finfluencers are financial influencers who use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to provide advice and information on topics like forex trading, stocks, investment ideas, and personal finance.
The finfluencer marketing industry has experienced growth in recent years, resulting in the emergence of new platforms for sharing financial-related content. Brands can now reach a larger audience by utilizing affiliates, ambassadors, and influencers rather than relying solely on their own blogs, social media, and advertisements.
The AximTrade partner program offers incentives to both individuals and businesses who refer new traders to our acclaimed forex trading platform. Our partnership model is uncomplicated and transparent, making it the easiest type to participate in. Registering is a breeze, and there's no initial investment or integration required.
Getting into the Top 1% – FAQ
What does it mean to be in the top 1%?
To be in the top 1% means you’re among the 1% highest in a given attribute, like income, wealth, or test scores. For instance, if you’re in the top 1% of income earners in your country, your income is higher than 99% of the population. The exact cutoff varies by attribute and population.
How do I know if I am in the top 1%?
To know if you’re in the top 1%, find the distribution of the attribute you’re measuring and compare it to the cutoff point for the top 1%. For instance, if you’re measuring income, compare it to the top 1% earners’ cutoff point. If it’s higher, you’re in the top 1%. The cutoff point varies by attribute and population, and you can find it in government statistics or research studies.
What are some ways to get into the top 1%?
To get into the top 1%, there are many ways depending on the attribute being measured. Examples include investing, entrepreneurship, pursuing high-paying careers, inheritance, education, creative pursuits, and networking. However, success requires hard work, dedication, and a bit of luck.
Is it possible to get into the top 1% without a college degree?
Yes, without a college degree, it is feasible to join the top 1%. Many entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and artists have succeeded without having a formal education. Achieving success depends on skill, effort, tenacity, and a little bit of luck.
How long does it take to get into the top 1%?
Ultimately, getting into the top 1% takes different amounts of time for different people, depending on what’s being measured (like income, wealth, or test scores), how you approach it, and your circumstances. For example, building a successful business may take several years or even decades, while investing in the stock market can yield faster results.
How much do you need to earn to be in the top 1%?
Provided here are approximations of the median incomes earned by individuals belonging to the top 1% of wealth across the world:
*The top 1%: A minimum of $896,490 annually
*The top 5%: A minimum of $343,000 annually
*The top 10%: A minimum of $173,000 annually
Forbes conducted a study in 2022 which revealed that while the income of the top 1% fluctuates, their minimum net worth stands at an impressive $11.1 million.
What salary is top 1% worldwide?
To be in the top 1% of worldwide earners, salary ranges widely depending on location, industry, and occupation. Credit Suisse says to be among the world’s wealthiest 1% you need at least USD 1.5 million in net worth. A minimum of USD 109,000 is needed to be in the top 1% of earners globally, but the threshold varies by region and country. For instance, the US threshold is around USD 475,000 per year, while in India, it is approximately USD 77,000 annually.