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Wealth in U.S. soars 54 percent

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, October 21, 2013
Posted: 12 pm ET

Personal wealth has been on the rise globally, soaring to new heights every year since 2010, according to a new report by Credit Suisse. In the U.S. in particular, strong equity and real estate values have contributed to a 54 percent growth in wealth since 2008, when the country was in a recession.

hedging-retirement-risks-3-inflationThe U.S. showed the largest total wealth gains from mid-year 2012 to mid-year 2013, up by $8.1 trillion to total $72.1 trillion. Globally, the report estimates personal wealth at $241 trillion, more than double what it was in 2000.

Aside from the U.S., other countries where individuals have been successful in amassing wealth over the past year include China, which added $1.4 trillion in personal wealth; Germany, with $1.2 trillion; and France, with $1.1 trillion.

Individual net worth surpasses $50,000

Average wealth per individual varies greatly among regions and countries, with the wealthiest adults located in North America, Western Europe and the rich Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern countries. Globally, average net worth per adult is estimated at $51,600 this year, a new high.

Swiss adults, on average, have the highest net worth of $513,000, due largely to stock market gains. New heights in wealth were also reached in Australia, where individual net worth reached $403,000; Norway, with $380,000; and Luxembourg, with $315,000. Net worth includes the value of all assets, minus debts. Inflated housing and equity values would obviously affect the numbers, as they did when the U.S. experienced a housing bubble.

The U.S., Sweden, France, Singapore, Belgium and Denmark also are among the top 10 countries with the highest individual net worth, with average wealth per adult ranging from $250,000 to $300,000. Japan, which was ranked fourth a year ago, is no longer among the top 10.

Because North America houses 49 percent of the world's ultra-wealthy -- worth more than $50 million -- the average net worth per individual in the U.S. is high. But the median net worth of individuals is actually $45,000.

Believe it or not, the report estimates that it takes a mere $4,000 in assets (minus debts) to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. Those with a net worth of $753,000 can lay claim to being among the world's top 1 percent.

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