The Working Rich

Sharing this directly from Compass’ own chief evangelist, Leonard Steinberg:

One of the most inaccurate myths is that all rich people have created and accumulated their wealth via luck and not hard work. The reality is that the majority of wealthy people work very, very hard. Yes, Celine Dion, Beyonce and Drake rehearse every day for hours, and Jeff Bezos or Tim Cook are not sitting idle on their yachts. Venus Williams and Stephen Curry practice on the courts for hours every day and have done so almost every day of their lives. This is not to diminish the fact that most non-wealthy people work very hard too, but it’s important to acknowledge that while some wealthy have had extraordinary advantages – including exceptional talent or brilliance – most would attribute lots of their success to really, really hard work. Long hours studying at school. Applying themselves and sacrificing lots to get a college education and then the long hard consistent slog to build successful careers or empires.

Most American fortunes are self-made: Almost 56% of billionaires are self-made. Think Elon Musk, Oprah, Jay-Z, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.  88% of mere millionaires are self-made! For the top income quintile, gifts and inheritances amount to 13% of household wealth, according to research published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the top wealth quintile, they amount to roughly 16%. For the reviled “1 percent,” inherited wealth accounts for just 15% of their holdings. 

The extreme disparities in incomes and wealth urgently need to be corrected…..they are unsustainable. Why?  Because we are all paying the price for this. It’s possible that higher incomes is the answer but I am not qualified to address this subject substantively. I want to address the segment of the rich population that is on any standards very wealthy, but are lumped in with another group of rich who have extreme, unfair and unequal advantages over others.  They have access to governments, shell companies, super-expensive tax attorneys, etc….the kind of things a certain level of wealth simply cannot attain easily. 

The vast majority of the wealthy are hard-working, law-abiding, (enormous) tax-paying citizens who contribute substantially to society, but they are vilified mostly because of the abusive actions of a minority of wealthy people. That’s nuts. The majority of income we as agents at COMPASS derive is as a result of the efforts of the wealthy. Like all ‘groups’ there are good and not-so-good actors. Averages are mostly useless and unreliable. So today I wish to thank all my hard-working wealthy clients (And yes, I believe anyone who can afford to buy a home is wealthy, certainly on world standards!). Everyone in our society who makes a positive contribution – not at the expense of others – should be celebrated.

If you’d liked to be subscribed directly to his daily newsletter, just reach out and I’ll get you on the list. It’s full of interesting facts and figures and insights from one of Manhattan’s most prominent agents.  

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