Don’t worry; this isn’t a political article.
I recently discovered a thought-provoking website called the Global Rich List. This website allows you to enter your income to see where it falls in relation to others globally. As it turns out, if you are an American earning at least $47,500 per year, you are among the top 1% of the world’s earners.
There is a link at the bottom of the site explaining how the calculations are made. The data is derived from the World Bank Development Research Group, so I believe the information to be reasonably accurate.
The site’s creators state that their goal is to help people recognize that they are richer than they think and to feel more wealthy. In turn, they hope that people will contribute more to charitable causes once they gain perspective about their place among the world’s earners.
I love it. One point that the Global Rich List site drives home with subtlety is that those of us who are “rich” but feeling poor are likely living beyond our means. Yes, the United States has a much, much higher cost of living than most parts of the world. We also have many more product choices and shopping opportunities that tempt us to spend. If we can avoid being sucked into the consumer lifestyle, it is very possible to build wealth on a salary that is considered modest by American standards (and rich by the world’s standards). We will even have some money left over to help those who are less fortunate.
How lucky I am to have been born in a prosperous country and to parents who had the resources to provide me with a healthy and stable childhood and educational opportunities. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget how good I have it.
Viva la frugal!
P.S. The currency default on the homepage for the Global Rich List is the British Pound, so be sure to change it to U.S. Dollars (unless of course, you’re British).