Visualizing The Investments Of The Ultra-Wealthy

How do the world’s richest people invest their money?

Visual Capitalist’s Dorothy Neufeld created the graphic below to show how ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) – people with a net worth of $30 million or more including their primary residence – allocate their wealth based on data from Knight Frank’s 2023 Wealth Report.

How the Ultra-Wealthy Invest

Below, we show where UHNWIs invest their fortunes, based on a global survey of over 500 wealth managers, family offices, and private bankers that oversee a combined $2.5 trillion in assets:

Rank Asset Average Proportion of Total Wealth
1 Primary and Secondary Homes 32%
2 Equities 18%
3 Commercial Property 14%
4 Bonds 12%
5 Private Equity / Venture Capital 6%
6 Commercial Property Funds 5%
7 Commercial Property REITs 3%
8 Investment of Passion (e.g. art, cars, wine) 3%
9 Gold 2%
10 Crypto Assets 1%
11 Other 5%

Numbers may not total 100 due to rounding.

As the table above shows, primary and secondary homes make up 32% of total wealth, the largest share across assets. The average UHNWI owns 3.7 homes.

Investments in stocks comprised almost 20% of UHNWI wealth, with those in the Americas having the highest share of wealth in equities (33%) followed by Europe (28%) and Asia (26%).

Private equity and venture capital investments, which include investments in startup companies that have not yet gone public, accounted for 6% of total wealth on average. A separate report shows that the average investment in a private equity company ranges between $1.8 million and $6.9 million for UHNWI investors.

Luxury Investments of the Ultra-Rich

Investments of passion, which include a range of luxury items from art to classic cars, make up an average 3% of the total wealth of the ultra-rich.

In 2023, nearly six in 10 UHNWIs said they plan to purchase art.

Likely to Purchase in 2023 Global Average
Art 59%
Watches 46%
Wine 39%
Classic Cars 34%
Jewelry 33%
Luxury Handbags 20%
Rare Whiskey Bottles 18%
Furniture 14%
Colored Diamonds 9%
Coins 8%

Many of these items retain their value over time. In fact, all 10 of these items increased in value over 2022 despite a challenging economic environment which saw the S&P 500 fall over 19%.

The art market saw prices increase 29% last year, the highest across luxury items. Luxury cars (25%) and watches (18%) also saw some of the highest price increases.

The Growth of the Uber-Affluent

In 2022, there were roughly 579,000 people globally with wealth that exceeded $30 million. New York, Tokyo, and San Francisco are home to the most ultra-rich individuals worldwide. Over the next five years, this number is projected to reach 744,000—a 29% increase.

As these numbers continue to climb, demand for luxury real estate, equity investments, and luxury items will likely grow given the investment patterns of the ultra-wealthy illustrated today.


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