Contrary to popular belief, ultra wealthy individuals do not necessarily all inherit their wealth, attend Ivy League universities, own superyachts or private jets, or emerge unscathed from the impact of economic cycles.
These are some of the common myths debunked by Wealth-X in a special report released today.
The report shows that only 19% of the global UHNW population fully inherited their wealth. However, 65% made their wealth themselves and a further 16% inherited and grew their fortune through their own entrepreneurial endeavours.
It also shows that UHNW individuals – defined as those with assets of at least US$30 million - who inherited their wealth have a lower average net worth (US$130 million) than their entrepreneurial peers who made their fortunes (US$142 million).
The report also reveals that only a small fraction of the global UHNW population possess a high enough net worth to afford a 30-metre superyacht, which has an average price tag of US$10 million (before maintenance, fuel and other expenses). Due to the high cost of owning and maintaining a private jet or superyacht, many UHNW individuals charter these luxury crafts or travel on commercial airlines – albeit in first or business class.
Globally, there were 199,235 individuals in 2013, with a combined wealth of US$27.7 trillion, according to the Wealth-X and UBS World Ultra Wealth Report.
Below are eight common myths about the ultra wealthy:
1. The world's wealthiest inherited all their money
2. The majority of super wealthy are investment bankers
3. "Technopreneurs are all hoodie-wearing college dropouts in their 20s"
4. "I have to go to an Ivy League University to be an UHNW individual"
5. The wealthy are immune to economic cycles
6. Chinese UHNW population is growing faster than everyone else
7. The wealthy don't give back
8. UHNW individuals all fly by private jet and own a superyacht
Incidentally, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani - India's richest person - owns a skyscraper residence in Mumbai which has been named the most expensive billionaire home in the world by Forbes.
Ambani's 27-story, 400,000-square-foot skyscraper home Antilia named after a mythical island in the Atlantic, tops the Forbes list of the most expensive homes in the world.