When do you become wealthy or even rich in Germany? Hardly any top earners or people with greater wealth place themselves in this group, but prefer to count themselves to the middle class. One reason for this could be that in your environment you mainly have people who earn as much or have a similar standard of living as you. And compared to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos or Microsoft founder Bill Gates, we are of course all poor eaters .
In a new study, the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) in Cologne examined the wealth of German households, more precisely that of the top ten percent. So this group is by no means just made up of millionaires. According to the data from 2018, a fortune of less than half is enough to belong. In numbers: 477,200 euros. From this amount, be it in the form of real estate or savings, you are officially one of the richest households in Germany. It is seven times the median wealth – that is, the wealth that lies exactly in the middle of the wealth distribution. In terms of income, double the median income is enough to belong to the top ten percent. According to the authors of the study, wealth in Germany is distributed much more unevenly than income.
Couples living together have significantly higher assets than singles
One reason for this could be that Germany is a tenant country. Around half of the population lives on rent and the ownership rate is the lowest in the EU. But if you have your own apartment or house, you move up into the group of the wealthy more quickly. In any case, the evaluation by the IW scientists shows “that a household with a paid property in a good location has a good chance of being among the wealthiest 10 percent of society”.
The study provides many other exciting details. Logically, age plays a big role in how much wealth someone has. Anyone under 30 is one of the richest ten percent with a fortune of 71,000 euros. Among the under-30s, wealth is particularly unevenly distributed, also due to debts such as student loans. For 55 to 59-year-olds, however, it has to be 625,000 euros to be in the top tenth. At the same time, the median wealth in this age group is one fifth of this sum – it is therefore less unevenly distributed.
The relationship status makes a very big difference: Singles and single parents have a median of just 20,000 euros. In the case of couples living together, on the other hand, it is 151,000 euros – regardless of whether they have children or not. It also plays a role that couples own a property more often than single people.