Friday 3 June 2016

How "rich" am I?

This of course is a very subjective question, but one measure of my "richness" that I choose to track is my net worth estimate at the end of each year versus the cut-off net worth required to get onto the Australian 'Rich 200' list. The "BRW rich list" was started by the now-defunct magazine 'Business Review Weekly', but is still published every May (currently by the Australian Financial Review).

I am, of course, no where near wealthy enough to make the "rich list", but I aim to eventually achieve a net worth of 1% of the cut-off figure. When I started tracking this at the start of this century I was initially making good progress every year, and was even thinking about the possibility of  'early retirement' at age 57. Then the GFC struck, and my net worth not only plummeted in absolute terms, it also did very poorly compared to the "rich 200", who are predominantly invested in property, whereas I had a large (geared) exposure to the stock market (and failed to 'roll-over' my index 'put' options at the end of 2007. D'Oh!). And then the EFC put an end to the post-GFC 'bounce' in my stock portfolio, and then it suffered a bit more as the 'mining boom' came to and end...

But at least for the last couple of years it seems to be improving once more versus the "rich 200" cut-off (which currently it stands at 303 million A$).

On the one hand, my target of achieving a net worth of 1% of the "rich 200" cut-off is a fairly challenging one, as the "rich 200" represents an ever-more-exclusive "club" as the population of Australia climbs. On the other hand, the average age of the "rich 200" stays fairly constant (as the old rich die and are eventually replaced by younger "new rich"), and net worth should increase with age (at least until retirement hits) - so my net worth should be gaining on the "rich 200" at this stage of my working life.

On a positive note, the 'net worth' figures I use in this spreadsheet doesn't include the value of the rural property I pre-inherited at the start of 2015. But it will, eventually, reflect any windfall profit we make when (if) our home gets bought by a developer (which could potentially boost my net worth by around 0.25% of the "rich 200" cut-off amount).

Anyhow, with a personal net worth well below 1% of the net worth of the poorest of the "rich 200" Australians, I feel somewhat justified in feeling "comfortably off" rather than "rich"...

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