Oct 162015


The annual world’s wealth report by Credit Suisse financial group was recently released. For the first time in history, the top 1% of the world’s richest now owns 50% of all the wealth. And I bet they’re working hard to get the rest, lol. 😀 Here are some of the highlights I found interesting from the report. Wealth is defined as the value of net assets including property and stock market investments. Everything is in $US unless otherwise specified.

At a Glance

  • In total, global households have $250 trillion (an amount equal to 100 times JP Morgan’s assets.)
  • There are 34 million millionaires in the world. They make up 0.7% of the world’s adult population.
  • Wealth inequality was actually falling before the financial crisis but has increased every year since 2008. Median wealth has stagnated in the U.S. while the country created 903 new millionaires between 2014 and 2015.
  • 71% of the world’s population (3.4 billion adults) have less than $10,000.
  • Global wealth could reach $345 trillion by mid-2020, 38% above its mid-2015 level.


The Upper Class

  • There are 123,800 people in the world with a net worth exceeding $50 million. Of these, 44,900 are worth at least $100 million, and 4,500 have assets above $500 million. 😯
  • There are 984,000 millionaires in Canada.
  • Canada has a disproportionate number of millionaires as Canadians represent 0.6% of the global population but make up 3% of the world’s 1% wealthiest.
  • Having $68,800 would secure you a place in the top 10% of the world’s wealthiest.
  • The top 1% have at least $759,900.
  • Millionaires from just about every country saw their collective wealth decline last year, but the main factor was the rise of the U.S. dollar, which made wealth denominated in other currencies look comparatively smaller.

Here’s the full press release from Credit Suisse.

This year’s report focuses on the middle classes, as defined by personal wealth rather than profession. It says 14% of adults worldwide are middle class, with $50,000 to $500,000 of assets. From 2008 onwards, wealth growth has not allowed the middle-class to keep pace with population growth. Furthermore, the distribution of wealth gains has shifted in favor of those at higher wealth levels. So if you want to benefit from this trend, or at least make your financial life easier, simply get your net worth above the middle-class range. :)

Random Useless Fact:

Mosquito bite? Press a hot spoon onto the spot. The heat will destroy the protein that caused the reaction and the itching will stop.

Apr 072015

I recently read an article called “Perfection Anxiety” from an old copy of Vanity Fair magazine. In it 25 year old Petra Ecclestone, the daughter of Formula One mogul Bernie, and her recently married husband, bought an $85,000,000 mansion in Los Angeles. Wow, and I thought Vancouver real estate was expensive. 😛 Before moving in to their new home they also spent $19,000,000 on their wedding. 😯 To put that into context the average wedding in the United States only costs about $25,000. But of course most weddings don’t serve bottles of $6,000 Chateau Petrus, nor does the bride wear a $130,000 Vera Wang dress.


If that wasn’t enough excitement for the couple they later bought a 17th century self-portrait by Van Dyck for $20,000,000. 😕

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Feb 242015

In self defence class we learn to fight… so that we won’t have to. Personal finance is very much the same way. :) The best thing that money can give us, is the freedom to not worry about money anymore. Sometimes we can become so focused on our finances that we can easily forget about actually living a life. To me financial wealth is not simply about having money. It’s more about having better options in life. A lack of money is a great disadvantage. Poor people have a greater affinity to stay poor. Their lack of resources keeps them from having access to better opportunities and choices that many middle class and rich people take for granted. Having a limited amount of choices can lead to further unsatisfactory circumstances, so it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle.

We spend a lot of time planning our budgets, building up our savings, and looking for profitable investments, but in the end we should realize that doing all this work is not about the money. It’s about the freedom and the awesome choices we’ll be rewarded with! 😀 We do not want to become obsessed about “money,” in and of itself. We don’t want to turn into those kinds of people who think that the best thing about wealth is that it allows them to buy material things. 😐 If that’s what they really want to believe then I wish them good luck in life. 😛


There’s a popular story that demonstrates the silly nature of materialism in the world today:

A successful businessman bought a brand new BMW M6 convertable. He parked it right in front of his office so that he could show it off to his fellow co-workers. As he got out his vehicle a passing garbage truck lost control and side-swiped his car, ripping off the door on the driver’s side. The police quickly arrived and the businessman began ranting hysterically that his new BMW was now ruined.  😡 After 10 minutes of profuse shouting and cursing, the businessman was finally able to calm down. The police officer then said to him, “You are so focused on your car that you don’t notice anything else. I can’t believe how materialistic you are.” The businessman looked confused. “What do you mean?” he asked. The police officer explained; “Haven’t you noticed that your left arm is missing? It must have been torn off in the accident.” The businessman’s face went white. “OH NO!” he screamed. “My Rolex!!”

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Dec 282014

When it comes to successful investing the guidelines are pretty straight forward. Start as early as possible and do it often, because compound interest is one of the greatest discoveries known to mankind. Match the markets and don’t try to pick individual winners and losers. Index investing is the way to go for a majority of people out there. Keep the cost of investing low, meaning don’t pay unnecessarily high fees and taxes. Diversify your risk without hurting overall returns. Some investments go up, others go down, but in the end balance will pay off.

Just getting into investing in the first place can seem like a difficult task to some. But thankfully a relatively new service called Wealthsimple will help people invest using all the important principles outlined above.

Recently I was invited by a friend to attend dinner with himself and the CEO of Wealthsimple, a portfolio management company that combines technology with prudent financial strategies to make investing smart, simple, and low cost to everyone. :) The 3 of us had a great meal. And after speaking with the CEO, Michael, I realized that his company can provide a great option for many investors today.

How Wealthsimple works.

It’s basically an investment management service but it makes investing accessible to everyone, regardless of net worth or financial knowledge. First, an investor would sign up for an account online and be guided through the entire process: from assessing his risk tolerance and determining his investment goals, to setting up regular monthly contributions. Next, after a conversation with a dedicated Wealth Concierge, the company would build the investor a customized portfolio and start investing for him.



The investor’s portfolio is then automatically optimized for taxes and rebalanced over time using a computer algorithm. The client can see in real time the value of his portfolio, total fees paid to date, and total principle growth.

Wealthsimple recently launched its mobile app which can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The company has also expanded its services recently into Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec.

I think Wealthsimple’s system works really well for the average investor and it makes managing money very simple and hands off. The company has a very competitive fee structure too. Management costs are between 0.35% to 0.50% of the portfolio amount and Wealthsimple covers all trading costs and administration fees. I believe the minimum investment requirement is $5,000 but at the same time there are no fees on the first $5,000 invested. There is also no fee or charge to take your money and leave. Wealthsimple tries to be upfront about its costs and does not believe in hidden fees.

My own investment strategy is a bit complicated. But for anyone who is tired of their mutual funds constantly underperforming or want to get started with investing I think Wealthsimple is a terrific solution and is definitely worth taking a look at.

Random Useless Fact:
The average Canadian investor pays more than 2% per year in management fees, more than any other developed country in the world.

Dec 082014

The Divorce Capital of the World

To most girls, the word “wedding” will have a nice ring to it. 😀 But marriage can be difficult and it doesn’t always last a lifetime. Divorce can often go off without a hitch for some. But for others, it can get quite messy, especially if there’s a lot of money involved. London, England appears to be the top destination for married couples looking to go their separate ways. It is known as the “divorce capital” of the world due to its court system’s “generosity to estranged wives.”


Sir Chris Hohn is a hedge fund manager in London. Recently his wife, Jamie, decided to leave him and she wanted to take half of their household assets with her because she believed their wealth was created due to their “partnership.” It was a bitter dispute, but in the end she was awarded £337 million ($525,000,000 USD). This enormous amount, granted by High Court judge Jennifer Roberts, was the largest ever seen in London’s courts. This settlement dwarfs the previous £220 million record, paid in 2011 by a rich Russian oligarch to his ex-wife, and further cements London’s reputation as the best place to get a divorce for non-working spouses. :)

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