According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, the average Australian holds wealth to the value of $562,093.
It’s a decrease from last year, having fallen by 6.9 per cent since mid-2018.
Weighing in on the finding, Credit Suisse Australia Private Banking CIO Andrew McAuley considered that “Australia’s high ranking in median wealth is a product of an unbroken run of 27 years without a recession”.
He further explained that “it reflects the wealth benefits of our large superannuation pool, which has grown from inflows and strong financial markets since the global financial crisis”.
A nation of millionaires
Due to strong housing prices as well as a market-leading superannuation system, on paper, Australia is a nation of millionaires.
According to Credit Suisse, 1.307 million adults worldwide make up the top 1 per cent of global wealth holders.
Australians account for 2.6 per cent of this top slice, despite being home to just 0.4 per cent of the world’s adult population.
The number of millionaires (calculated in US dollars) in Australia now sits at 1,180,000, having fallen by 124,000 over the last 12 months.
It was the biggest decrease of any country named in the report, largely due to weaker real estate prices and the depreciation of the Australian dollar against the US dollar.
In terms of millionaires in Australian dollars, the nation has close to 1.2 million of them in 2019 (ranked ninth globally).
The report said it expects this figure to expand to 1.5 million by 2024.
Michael Marr, Credit Suisse’s head of private banking in Australia, said that while the economic environment in Australia since the 2018 report has become more challenging, the growth seen across investment markets has ensured Australia retained its consistently strong position as one of the wealthiest countries globally.
“A weakening Australian dollar against the US dollar has been the biggest contribution to its fall in the rankings of wealth per adult,” he said.
Spreading the wealth
As well as being one of the wealthiest nations, the report noted Australia as displaying one of the lowest rates of inequality among the countries surveyed.
Credit Suisse found high average wealth is combined with relatively low wealth inequality.
The Gini coefficient for Australia is 66 per cent, where a percentage of zero represents perfect equality and 100 represents pure inequality.
By comparison, the United Kingdom’s Gini coefficient is 74.6 per cent, while the United States sits up at 85.2 per cent.
In addition, only 7 per cent of Australians were found to have net worth below US$10,000, compared with 17 per cent in the United Kingdom and 27 per cent in the United States.
“Australia remains one of the countries with one of the most even distributions of income across its population out of all the countries in the report,” Mr Marr concluded.