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You’re not as poor as you think

You might even be in the top one per cent.
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Josephine Lim, April 23, 2013 11:31:25 AM

When you’re a low-income earner in Canada, it’s tough to see the silver lining, but the recently launched Global Rich List tool by PokeLondon might help with that.

PokeLondon decided to launch the tool around the same time that the Sunday Times published its annual Rich List. For 25 years, the paper has been taking a peek at the wealthiest U.K. residents and looks at how their worth has changed. It’s like the Forbes billionaire list, which makes readers envious about how wealthy these people are. They can go buy an island, while we’re lucky enough to afford a vacation to an island.

If you feel the green-eyed monster rearing its head after reading about the lives of the rich and famous, the Global Rich List is guaranteed to make you feel better. It compares your income to people around the world. For someone with a low income of $25,000, you’re considered among the top 3.58 per cent richest people in the world. For a journalist who isn’t in this profession for the big bucks, you can be in the top 1.45 per cent on the list. It’s whacky to consider that a journalist in Canada is considered a part of the “one per cent” globally. Take some time to let that sink in.

Let’s keep in mind that this list doesn’t consider all economic factors, such as the insane amount of debt that Canadians have taken on. With the debt to disposable income ratio remaining at a whopping 165 per cent, we’re at dangerously high debt levels – even higher than Americans before the recession struck in 2008. You can see why soon-to-be-ex Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney harps on Canadians to better handle their debt loads.

And that’s not all the bad news. Unfortunately, Canada has been falling behind in managing its poverty and equality, according to a Conference Board of Canada report. We were ranked seventh out of 17 developed countries and received a B grade, but that also really shows you how badly other countries are faring. If anything, our major issue is dealing with our income gap. In the last 30 years, if you were one of the top 10 per cent of earners, you saw your income go up by 34 per cent, while if you were one of the bottom 10 per cent of earners, you only saw it go up by 11 per cent. The gap is widening, which isn’t a good sign.

But for now, if you’re a recent gen Y-er who’s started his/her career and you feel like you’re not earning much, remember, you’re richer than you think – compared to the rest of the world at least.

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Josephine Lim

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