Number of ‘wealthy’ S. Koreans grows to nearly 400,000 last year: report

SEOUL– The number of “rich people” with financial assets worth 1 billion won (US$847,000) or more increased nearly 11 percent in South Korea last year from a year earlier largely on stock gains, a report showed Sunday.

The number jumped 10.9 percent to 393,000 as of last year, around 0.76 percent of the country’s total population of 52 million, and the proportion of property in their portfolio has increased, apparently driven by soaring apartment prices, according to the Korea Wealth Report 2021 released by the KB Financial Group Research Institute.

The total financial assets owned by the rich jumped 21.6 percent on-year to 2,618 trillion won thanks to a surge in stock gains, the report said.

Among them, 59 percent of the rich’s wealth portfolio was made up of property assets, while 36.6 percent were invested in financial assets.

The rich allocated a larger percentage of their total assets in property on the booming local housing market, up from 56.6 percent in 2020.

Meanwhile, South Koreans who owned less than 1 billion won allocated 78.2 percent in property assets and only 17.1 percent in financial assets.

In a survey conducted on 400 wealthy South Koreans by KB, the number of active and aggressive investors who were willing to take a higher risk for high returns increased 5.2 percent on-year, indicating that the tendency for risky investment among the rich grew over a year.

Of the respondents, 40.3 percent said at least 10 billion won of combined assets are needed to be regarded as rich. When it comes to the minimum annual income to be categorized as a rich person, 300 million won topped the list, as chosen by 34.5 percent of those surveyed.

People who have more total assets have the tendency of having a higher ratio of debts to financial assets, according to the poll.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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