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Rich worry about wealth gap

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Friday, February 28, 2014
Posted: 3 pm ET

The top 1 percent of families in the world own nearly half of the world's wealth, according to a recent report by Oxfam, and nearly three-quarters of the global population live in countries where income inequality is rising.

The rich are getting richer, but they are just as concerned about the widening gap between rich and poor.

The rich are getting richer, but they are just as concerned as everyone else about the widening gap between rich and poor.

While you might think the rich are just fine with being on the right side of a widening wealth gap, 53 percent of the richest 1 percent express serious concern about the concentration of wealth at the top. That compares with 46 percent overall who say they are concerned, up from 40 percent who said that at the beginning of last year, according to a survey by Harrison Group and American Express Publishing.

To uncover why the rich are worried, "you have to look at where they come from," says Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group. "Ninety percent of wealthy families grew up in the middle class, and most of their families are still in the middle class. The gap is very obvious in their lives -- they see it."

Rich feel scorned

As a result of the widening gap, the rich are pulling back on spending for fear of being scorned, according to the survey. "They're very sensitive about how they spend money," Taylor says. "Ironically, we've seen a withdrawal from the community because they don't want to listen to polemics against their lifestyle. Gated communities, for example, have come back into style."

In addition to reining in discretionary spending, which could have an adverse effect on the luxury-goods market, the rich have sidelined their money. "They've accumulated approximately 35 percent of their portfolios in cash, with about 70 percent of that in money market accounts," says Taylor.

But Taylor says it's a mistake to think the rich are hated by the middle class. In reality, they see the realization of the American dream that anyone can build wealth. "One of the urban myths is that the middle class finds fault with the rich," he says. "But they actually see there is huge opportunity for their kids to grow into professions like medicine and law."

As for a solution for narrowing the gap, Taylor says both Democrats and Republicans in the survey indicated they would vote for a "reasonable" tax increase aimed at deficit reduction.

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9 Comments
eddie sachs
February 28, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Eat the rich.......

S
February 28, 2014 at 9:58 pm

"As a result of the widening gap, the rich are pulling back on spending for fear of being scorned"

RIGHT! If they truly care about not being scorned they should spend their money on higher pay for the people they employ, large tips for the others who serve them and there are always charities in need!

keepkeeper
February 28, 2014 at 9:48 pm

There was a farmer who owned a fine horse. With the horse the farmer was able to till the land and grow a great grain crop which he was able to sell for a large profit. The farmer saw that the horse ate a lot of the grain and if he fed the horse less he would make more profit, so he began mixing in sawdust with the grain to feed the horse. Just a little at first, but more and more sawdust as time pasted till he had the horse eating 100% sawdust. The farmer was making more and more money, until the horse died. With out the horse he could no longer till the land. When the rich finally get all the money, the rest must revolt or die. Why shouldn't they worry.

Bumpkin
February 28, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I am not entirely convinced with this article.

53 percent of the richest 1 percent express serious concern about the concentration of wealth at the top.

Let me guess. New rich non political individuals.

Gated communities, for example, have come back into style."

Let me guess. Old money.

"They've accumulated approximately 35 percent of their portfolios in cash, with about 70 percent of that in money market accounts," says Taylor.

Let me guess who. Politicians.

M.Pierce
February 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Right! I do not agree with your take that the wealthy are feeling as you reported. ACTION(s) or, lack thereof tell the real story. I have seen no action on this problem. As for myself it seems so overwhelming I personally feel at a loss as to where the action should begin due to the complexity of the dilemma. I do feel that action is the only course and am researching a viable avenue, and hope the citizens here with me will take a like attitude so we can successfully navigate this issue that is only one of many our Planet is facing now.

scoootter
February 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm

The comments made before say it All.....

dave
February 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm

" DEATH is the great equalizer, and "IF" there is a god, he's got a whole lot, to answer for"......lololololol "now i got a nap to take"

D Scott
February 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Not sure whom will ever read this but it's time to pay employees based on a share of the companies wealth. For instance, KB Home pays CEO and other high level executives a share in the wealth along with stock options which increases pay and wealth. Employees on the other hand get no bonus or stock options which has decreased their pay. Companies today do not want to share with employees! It's all GREED!!!!

C macdougall
February 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Then why not pay more to employees who deserve it. I believe in pay according to merit.
One greedy person can starve thousands how do you sleep at night?
What if there is an accounting of your life when you die, eternity in hell is a long time!!

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