It’s not easy being a billionaire these days. According to a study by UBS Group AG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the combined wealth of the world’s billionaires fell from $5.4 trillion in 2014 to $5.1 trillion in 2015. The average wealth of each billionaire was down $300 million to $3.7 billion, failing to match global stock market performance.
In the United States, only five new people got the billionaire crown in 2015 (there are 538 now, up from 533 in 2014). Asia, led by China, is creating one new billionaire every three days. "One hundred and thirteen Asian entrepreneurs attained billionaire status during the year, accounting for more than half (54%) of 2015’s global total," the report noted.
It might make you feel better (OK, it won’t) to know that of the 210 new billionaires around the world, 150 were “self-made.”
This is no laughing matter. Billionaires might have to really tighten their wallets. Some may have to put off replacing their two-year-old private jets or even purchase a 650-foot yacht without a helipad, rather than the 700-foot model that provides somewhere to land a copter.
But there’s hope that these rough times will pass. The report stated that economic conditions will favor billionaire growth in 2016 and 2017 so that fifth vacation home will likely become a reality within the next few years. For now, they’ll just have to make do.
The question that everybody is asking: How does this news affect reported billionaire, and presidential candidate, Donald Trump? According to Forbes, he’s worth an estimated $3.7 billion – down about $800 million from last year. A softening in New York City’s real estate market contributed to the fall, but he’s still comfortably among the world's nearly 1,400 billionaires (Investopedia's estimate is $3.5 billion: see Donald Trump's Real Net Worth).
Is he in danger of becoming a mere millionaire? Perhaps if he ended up paying for the wall, instead of Mexico. But he’s likely not worried about it. As Trump once said, “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”