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Wealth in Phone Numbers

A colloquial response to “How much money has he got?” could be “We’re talking telephone numbers!” In the case of the BRW's 2004 Young Rich List (age 40 and under) it literally is the case, with mobile phone magnate “Crazy” John Illhan topping the list at $300 million. But he won’t be on the “Young” Rich List next year as he had his 40th birthday this year. Total wealth for the 78 men and 18 women who made the $10 million cut-off for this list is $3,970 million. FinDem has added the age profile to Profiles in the Research Centre.

One of our browsers has asked “What difference would it make if these wealthy people spread their wealth over everyone else?” A quick calc shows if the Young Rich wealth was spread over the Australian population aged 20 to 40, they would each get $654. For the 2004 BRW all-ages top 200 Rich List, spreading their $71,661 million assets over everyone 20 and over would give $4,900 per person.

So where has all the Young Rich wealth come from so quickly? Mainly from phones, technology, fashion, property and childcare centres - all those things that Generation X has been spending on like crazy. Just to put this fantasy lifestyle in perspective, Australia has 1,245 phones per thousand population and plasma TV screens have taken off here quicker than any other country. In Rwanda they have 20 phones per 1000 of population and virtually all of the wealth is owned by those under age 40 (because life expectancy at birth is 39.3!).

Posted Thursday, 21 October 2004

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