As various millionaires who govern us have been pointing out for some time, financially things are getting quite difficult, especially for those who happen to be millionaires. Their money just does not go as far as it used to! The rising cost of living in the UK means it now costs 18% more to live here than in the US. Although 18,000 people now earn £1 million a year, those pounds in their pockets are worth less and less.
60 years ago, when “How to Marry a Millionaire” was made, $1 million bought the equivalent of $8.9 million today. Now that same $1 million won’t even buy an average Manhattan apartment or pay the average salary of an N.B.A. basketball player. 20 years ago becoming a millionaire would have given you a very good standard of living. You would have been able to buy 20 average homes or a fleet of 108 Mini Coopers. Philanthropists could have paid the college tuition fees for 50 students on a 4 year undergrad degree course. Nowadays you will be lucky to fill your new, top of the range car with diesel and still have enough for a Nebuchadnezzar of champagne if you are trying to live on the income generated by your investments.
Yet surprisingly the number of billionaires is on the rise. According to the Sunday Times ‘Rich List’ of 2103 there are now 88 of these lucky people, which is an increase of 11 from last year. The combined wealth of the UK’s richest residents is now hurtling towards half a trillion pounds, which is an increase of £35 billion from the previous year. Perhaps we should give up on trying to earn our first million and be aiming towards becoming billionaires instead.