We love to compare ourselves to others, and this is especially true when those others happen to be ludicrously rich.Picture: CHRIS RATCLIFFE, BLOOMBERG, 2012 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP
We love to compare ourselves to others, and this is especially true when those others happen to be ludicrously rich.

Recent studies have shown that the richest 1percent now own half of the world’s total wealth - allowing them to maintain lifestyles most of us can only dream of.

In 2017 the world’s billionaires made more money than in any year in recorded history and their wealth increased by 20percent to £6.9trillion (R123trillion) according to research released in October 2018 by UBS.

Commercial finance specialists ABC Finance have now made it possible to compare yourself to the world’s mega-rich.

For example, using the UK’s average salary of £28600 (R517 207), you will find that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos makes this in a mere 28 seconds. You can try this for yourself using ABC’s online comparison.

As of 2018, there are 54 UK-based billionaires. Combined, they have a total wealth of £123731283000, which is equivalent to more than 6percent of Britain’s GDP.

To illustrate how this breaks down when compared to the average UK salary, ABC Finance has broken this down by how much (and how quickly) three well-known British billionaires earn across the year.

With such unimaginable amounts of money, it’s no wonder these individuals are splashing their collective cash on evermore indulgent and ludicrous things.

Take James Dyson, who through aggressive acquisition now owns more square metres of land than Queen Elizabeth.

Similarly, ever the champion of the working man, Richard Branson has ploughed his money into Virgin Galactic, with the hope of making a trip to space available to all (at the cost of $250000 or R3473440 a person a flight).

Although, he did leave a little bit of money aside to purchase four islands over the course of his career.

Extravagant as that all sounds, these business tycoons have also shown a fair amount of generosity to a few well-chosen passion projects.

Dyson, for example, has invested £300million into two university campuses nurturing talented students in the fields of design, engineering and technology.

Coates set up a £100m foundation which is rather unimaginatively named after herself, doling out funding to charities tackling a wide range of social issues. These contributions, although sizeable, are dwarfed by Branson’s, who has not only offered a £19.6m reward to any scientist who discovers a plausible method of reducing the effects of climate change; but has also gifted half of his fortune (£2.65billion) to the philanthropic Giving Pledge set up by Bill Gates.

While it may be staggering to consider the amount of wealth that the UK’s richest people have amassed, it’s nothing compared to the fortunes of the world’s best-known billionaires.

Here is a breakdown to show you how quickly the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos earn the average UK wage.

Looking across the pond to our friends in the US, there’s a substantial rise in expenditure. The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, makes such an eye-watering amount of money per annum that when compared to an average American, every $1 to them is the equivalent to $88000 to him. Bezos’s most notable investment involves him liquidating $1bn of Amazon stock each year to fund his space travel company Blue Origin (what is it with billionaires and space?) alongside his puzzling decision to spend $42m on a 10000-year clock.

Even Zuckerberg, who is often portrayed as the “average-man” billionaire, because he drives a $30000 car (while wearing his $400 a pop T-shirts), has spent a reported $100m on an old sugar cane plantation in Hawaii, which features a private beach and multiple helipads.

Even philanthropies poster boy Bill Gates is prone to the odd unusual purchase and frequently imports sand from St Lucia in the Caribbean to the shore around his home for an “undisclosed fee”, which is likely code for more than you or I will probably make in a decade.

With substantially bigger pots of money, these lucrative business owners have deeper pockets in which to contribute to charitable causes that they believe are deserving.

Jeff Bezos has recently launched a new $2bn philanthropic effort this year called the “Day One Fund”, supporting the homeless and families in low-income areas.

He has also given an additional $35m and $10m to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute and Centre of Innovation at Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry, respectively.

While these philanthropic gestures look great at a glance, they pale in comparison when compared to Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s $45bn in charitable contributions to their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Bill Gates’ personal $30bn donations to The Gates Foundation.

In fact, given that he is the richest man on earth, Bezos hasn’t even donated 1percent of his wealth.

I ABC Finance