David Meyer — Fortune Dec 14, 2017
The richest 1% now owns more than half of all the world’s household wealth, according to analysts at Credit Suisse. And they say inequality is only going to get worse over the coming years, with millennials having a particularly tough time.
The Swiss bank released its latest Global Wealth Report on Tuesday, together with a statement that contained the immortal phrase, “The outlook for the millionaire segment is more optimistic than for the bottom of the wealth pyramid.”
The research showed that there are increasing numbers of dollar millionaires. This is partly because the strength of the euro has created 620,000 more of them in Germany, France, Italy and Spain (conversely, depreciating currencies in the U.K. and Japan have seen 34,000 and over 300,000 people in those countries respectively lose the status)
But almost half of the new dollar millionaires are in the U.S. itself. “So far, the Trump Presidency has seen businesses flourish and employment grow, though the ongoing supportive role played by the Federal Reserve has undoubtedly played a part here as well, and wealth inequality remains a prominent issue,” said Michael O’Sullivan, CIO for International Wealth Management at Credit Suisse.
Credit Suisse expects to see a 22% rise in dollar millionaires by 2022, from 36 million to 44 million. The problem is, the numbers of adults who have less than $10,000 are expected to shrink by only 4%.
The bank’s researchers see wealth inequality as largely being a result of the financial crisis— it rose across the world between 2007 and 2016, because financial assets were growing faster than non-financial assets. The top 1% started the millennium owning 45.5% of all wealth, and now they have 50.1%.
Meanwhile in contrast…
Many older Americans are living a desperate, nomadic life
By Richard Eisenberg — Market Watch Nov 11, 2017
In her powerful new book, “Nomadland,” award-winning journalist Jessica Bruder reveals the dark, depressing and sometimes physically painful life of a tribe of men and women in their 50s and 60s who are — as the subtitle says — “surviving America in the twenty-first century.” Not quite homeless, they are “houseless,” living in secondhand RVs, trailers and vans and driving from one location to another to pick up seasonal low-wage jobs, if they can get them, with little or no benefits.
The “workamper” jobs range from helping harvest sugar beets to flipping burgers at baseball spring training games to Amazon’s AMZN, +0.11% “CamperForce,” seasonal employees who can walk the equivalent of 15 miles a day during Christmas season pulling items off warehouse shelves and then returning to frigid campgrounds at night. Living on less than $1,000 a month, in certain cases, some have no hot showers. As Bruder writes, these are “people who never imagined being nomads.” Many saw their savings wiped out during the Great Recession or were foreclosure victims and, writes Bruder, “felt they’d spent too long losing a rigged game.” Some were laid off from high-paying professional jobs. Few have chosen this life. Few think they can find a way out of it. They’re downwardly mobile older Americans in mobile homes.
During her three years doing research for the book, conducting hundreds of interviews and traversing 15,000 miles, Bruder even tried living the difficult nomad life; she lasted one workweek. I recently interviewed Bruder to learn more about the lives in Nomadland and what the future holds for these people: