This post has been in the “Drafts” hopper for a while. Money is a major topic, and it can be hard for people to speak openly about. But I feel we need to. Too many of us don’t know what other people are dealing with. Also, getting a grasp of where our own financial profile falls in the scheme of things is a good reality check for how much we might be inadvertently putting pressure on economies and ecosystems worldwide.
Awhile back, I found online calculators that allowed me to put my financial situation in perspective. One was a worldwide calculator; the other was specifically for the USA. Unfortunately it looks like the first site is no longer working, but I dug up another one for you to use.
Global Wage Calculator: Compare Your Salary (from cnn.com). Lets you calculate where your annual earnings stand in your country, and worldwide. I found out that my annual income of about $12K (before taxes) is about four times what a teacher in Ethiopia makes; twice what a cleaner in Thailand makes; and about the same as what a driver in South Africa makes.
Here are some hypothetical net worth and income scenarios, and the percentile that they signify for a person or household:
• home equity 129k, investments 165k, possessions $500 = top 3.94% in world
• investments 0, possessions a mere 1,000 = still top 68.58% in world!
• a millionaire is top 0.56% in world (i used investments only)
Net Income – world:
7k top 19.54%
13k top 11.62%
15k top 7.91%
• Even a person making just 4k annual income is still in top 26.72% in the world!
• if 10k then top 16.01% in world
300k net worth = 71st percentile
1k net worth = 14.5 percentile
USA avg income 2018 = $55,880; median $39,048; top 10% = $114,068; top 5% = $153,420.
7k income = 10th percentile in USA; 13k income = 16th percentile in USA; 15k = 18th percentile in USA. (These numbers are pre-tax incomes I’ve had in recent years.)
I hope you enjoy the calculators! Did you get any surprises? I’ll be back sometime later with some thoughts on how this is all related to living abundantly but lightly on the earth.
By the way, 10 percent of the world’s people live in extreme poverty — defined by the World Bank as living on $1.90 per day or less.
In closing, I want to leave you with this quote from Bill Mollison, who co-founded the permaculture design movement: “All money arises from the wealth of the natural world (plants, clean air, clean water, stored energy). The accumulation of unused wealth, or wealth that does not lead to the proliferation of life, is a pollution of the same nature as any unused resource. Manure and money have so much in common.” –Bill Mollison in Permaculture, A Designers’ Manual, p 533.