Wealth: The Top 1%-ers in the USA

So, when it boils down to it what does it take to become a 1-percenter in the US? You know, one of the elite, the people with power. Power is run by money, isn’t it? So, what does it take to become one of the top 1% that command all the other 99% of the population? The ones that have struck it rich and how they did it?

Apparently it doesn’t take very much to be in the top 1% of the population in terms of wealth, which is even more damning for the other 99%, who as a consequences pale into insignificance and must seem even poorer than we might have once thought that we actually were. Don’t go thinking that you have to have a net worth of billions, and it isn’t even in millions that we should be talking in terms of income. In actual fact, it only takes roughly $367, 000 in gross income to enter the top 1%. Imagine that! How poor does that make the rest of us look? But, don’t go worrying the average income of the top 1% works out to roughly $1 million.

Sure, 1%-ers have doubled their income from the end of the 1970s. They even saw an 11%-increase in their incomes after 2011, while the rest of the world had a slight fall in their salaries, or at least a loss of purchasing power.

So, who are the richest people in the USA today? Who’s earning what and who’s got the power? Here’s the list of the top earners in the US this year so far (in ascending order). As you might see, some of them should also bear the title ‘keep it in the family’. Remember money marries money and then it makes kids with money so that they have money too. Money, money, money! Bags of money!

10. Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg: Wealth

Michael Bloomberg: Wealth

$27 billion

Number ten. Just by the skin of his teeth. He has a net worth of about $27 billion this year (March 2013) according to Forbes. He is the 13th richest man in the world and considered to be the 16th most powerful man in the world. Currently better known for being the Mayor of New York, having been elected for three terms (since 2002). He owns 88% of the company he founded, Bloomberg L. P. Strangely enough he doesn’t even figure in the Bloomberg list of billionaires. I wonder why?

  • Bloomberg moved from 142nd position in the list of the world’s billionaires to 17th place, in just two years between 2007 and 2009 at the height of the stock-market crash that rocked the world.
  • In 2009, his net worth increased by $4.5 billion alone and he was then worth $16 billion.
  • By 2012, he had moved to $22 billion.
  • In the space of one year he has amassed $5 billion in net worth yet again, reaching $27 billion today. Not bad as increases go.

9. Alice Walton

Alice Walton: Wealth

Alice Walton: Wealth

$34.7 billion

Alice Walton is currently the Chairwoman of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

  • Keep it in the family as she is the brother of Samuel Robson Walton, and daughter of the Walmart founders Helen and Sam Walton.
  • She is ranked 12th in the world listing of billionaires this year (July 2013) and the 43rd most-powerful woman in the world.
  • She is the 2nd richest woman in the USA today.
  • Last year she was the 17th wealthiest person in the US and has shot up the ranking this year.  She holds the 9th place in the USA for net wealth.
  • She inherited her money.
  • Her net worth increased from July last year to July 2013 by +$4.2 billion (an increase of 13.8%).

8. S. Robson Walton

Samuel Robson Walton: Wealth

Samuel Robson Walton: Wealth

$35.4 billion

Samuel Robson Walton is the eldest son of the founders of Walmart (Helen and Sam Walton). He is the 8th richest person in the USA today with a net worth of $35.4 billion.

  • He is still the chairman of the board of directors of Walmart and has held that position since he was appointed in 1992.
  • He is ranked 11th in the billionaire-list of the world this year.
  • He received over $440 million in dividend payments in 2012 from the $444-billion company he chairs.
  • His net worth increased this year by $4.4 billion (up 14.3%). 

7. Jim Walton

Jim Walton: Wealth

Jim Walton: Wealth

$36.3 billion

Jim Walton is the brother of the Alice and Samuel Walton. He is the 7th richest person in the USA today.

  • His net worth stands at $36.3 billion.
  • He is the 10th richest person on the billionaire list in the world today.
  • He moved up to this current position in the USA from 16th position in 2012. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arvest Bank Group, Inc.
  • His net worth increased by +15.3% (since July 2012), with an increase of $4.8 billion.
  • He has almost 51% of the shares of Walmart at the present time (along with Alice and Samuel Robson Walton).

6. Christy Walton

Christy Walton: Wealth

Christy Walton: Wealth

$37.8 billion

She is the widow of John T. Walton, the son of the founders of Walmart. She inherited the money when he died in 2005.

  • She currently holds 12.2% of Walmart stock.
  • Her net income has increased by 14.7% since July 2012 (up $4.9 billion).
  • She is the 6th richest person in the USA today.
  • She is the 9th richest person in the world.
  • She is the richest woman in the world.

5. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison: Wealth

Larry Ellison: Wealth

$39.2 billion

Larry Ellison has a net worth of $39.2 billion. He is the 8th richest person in the world and one of the few that has actually incurred a loss of wealth over the past year. He is the 5th richest person in the USA today.

  • His net worth has gone down by 0.2% (-$89.2 million) over the past year.
  • He is the founder of Oracle (the largest database company in the world).
  • He got a salary from Oracle in 2012 of $1.
  • But, he also got $96.2 million in other compensation.
  • He was told he had to ‘budget’ when he reached his credit limit in 2012. Poor Larry!

3. David Koch

David Koch: Wealth

David Koch: Wealth

$44.5 billion

David Koch is the Executive Vice-President of Koch Industries. The company has annual sales amounting to $115 billion and David Koch speaks for 42% of the shares of the company.

  • He was in the top-100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine in 2011.
  • He is the 3rd  richest person in the USA today.
  • The 7th richest person in the world.
  • He increased his net worth over the past year by +8.8% (up $3.6 billion).

3. Charles Koch

Charles Koch: Wealth

Charles Koch: Wealth

$44.5 billion

Charles Koch is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries. He also owns 42% of the company like his brother, David. His net worth stands at $44.5 billion, exactly the same as his brother’s.

  • His net worth has gone up by +8.8% (+$3.6 billion) since July 2012.
  • he is joint third richest person in the uSA with his brother.
  • He has, along with his brother expanded Koch industries by 2, 600 times since he inherited it from his father (Fred C. Koch).
  • He is the 6th richest person in the world according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s list.

2. Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet: Wealth

Warren Buffet: Wealth

$60 billion

Warren Buffet is the 3rd richest person in the world and the 2nd richest person in the USA today.

He is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway.

  • Buffet’s wealth increased by 25.2% over the period July 2012 to July 2013.
  • That is an increase of $12.1 billion.
  • He bought his first share at age 11 (in Cities Service).
  • He is the 15th most powerful person in the world according to Forbes.

1. Bill Gates

Bill Gates: Wealth

Bill Gates: Wealth

$73.7 billion

Bill Gates is the richest man in the world today. He is Chairman of Microsoft, owning 4.8% of the company today.

  • Gates is also the richest man in the USA.
  • His net wealth increased from July 2012 until today by +17.4% (an increase of +$10.9 billion).
  • He is considered to be the most influential man in the world by Forbes.
  • The next richest person in the world has a net worth of just $66.1 billion and is way behind Gates. His name is Carlos Slim (the Mexican owner of America Movil). His net wealth fell by 12.1% over the past year (down $9.1 billion).

There are very few in that list that have lost money over the past year. I wonder if the same can be said of the other 99% of the population?

The haves and the have-nots. A social divide. The ones that have, have had and will have it all and they have the power to boot over the have-nots. The have-nots would like to have, but haven’t. It’s a constant push and pull relationship between two groups: a minority and a majority. According to a report out by the Boston Consulting Group (The Global Wealth Report), the top 1% in the world actually controls 39% of the wealth and the report states that the figure is likely to increase even more in the coming years. That means that they control some $52.8 trillion. Their wealth grew in 2012 by $135 trillion (a rise of 7.8% in just one year). Why does that look as if it is set to increase? Simply because overall wealth in the world is also on the up with emerging countries radically transforming their economies. There was a 10%-increase in the number of millionaires in the world last year and the number now stands at 13.8 million people.  Wealth in the world will increase by an average of 4.8% per year for the next half a decade. But, the wealthiest people will see an increase of almost 10% per year again for their level of wealth! People worth more than $100 million will have a 6.8%-share of global wealth by 2017, while they currently have 5.5%. Remember that the top 5% of the wealthiest people in the world own 60% of all stock that is currently on the market.

So, do you have what it takes to enter the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the population in the USA? You need to be like this:

  • Aged 47 (that’s the average age).
  • 90% of them have made their money on their own rather than inherit it (10%). Although, we can see that most of the people in the list above inherited theirs. So, if you want to really be in the top list, you have to have rich parents before you start.
  • 90% graduated from college (but 75% did not go to an Ivy-League school).
  • 80% don’t tell anyone they are part of the elite of the nation and keep it quiet for fear of what people might say. Again, the list above would have some trouble hiding from the public.

For a fleeting second there was a guy just last month in June 2013 that was credited with $92,233,720,368,547,800 into his Paypal account. For a second he was the richest man by far in the entire world. $92 quadrillion. Not bad! Bill Gates would have become suddenly worthless, wouldn't he in comparison? Poverty-striken!

Got what it takes? But, remember, we can’t all be in the top 1%!

About The Author


Professional team of writers/analysts analyzing the financial markets.

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