The Annual Australian Rich 200 List appeared last week, complete with a new wealthiest individual, Anthony Pratt, head of cardboard conglomerate VISY with wealth estimate at just over $12.6BN.
Last year’s leader, property tycoon Harry Triguboff, added a billion or so to his wealth, which is now estimated at $11.45BN. Mr Triguboff is one of 58 list members who have made their money in property, easily eclipsing the next largest group which was investment – having just 21 people making their fortunes that way.
In all, there are now 60 billionaires in Australia, up from 53 recorded last year. With the combined wealth of the top 200 wealthiest in Australia equalling $233BN, that means that the average wealth of list members is just over a billion dollars each. Given that there about 18 million adults in Australia, there is only one billionaire for every 312,500 adults. A very select group of people.
I’ve been following this list since it was first bought out in 1983 as I am fascinated with successful wealthy people. I figure that what has been achieved by one can be so achieved by another. I’ve watched them come and go from the list when their wealth dropped and even re-enter later in life as they found another way to create wealth.
There are as many lessons in their failures and how they handled them as there are in their successes.
So what wants to be a Billionaire?
That sentence reminds me of the song made famous by Frank Sinatra who asks “who wants to be a millionaire? I don’t.” Frank asks a number of questions like “who wants to wallow in champagne? Who wants a supersonic plane? Who wants a fancy foreign car? Who wants to tire of caviar?” To which the answer to all is “I don’t.” You can read the lyrics here.
I don’t know about you however I think that there are quite a few of the things on that song list that I would like and a few I wouldn’t.
There is no doubt in my mind that a life in Western society with money can be a lot more fun than without money. Just ask the millionaires and billionaires. Then ask the people living, by choice or otherwise on the streets. Though I am wise enough now to know that money alone will not happiness bring.