The Circles of Wealth

I do not intend to bore you with the definition of money, wealth, power or family. Nor start a history lesson. These are self-explanatory terms and have been defined and debated for millennia.

Instead, I would like to share my observations and conclusions basis 20 years of work and 40+ years of living on this planet.

Step 1 :
Let’s number the circles of wealth from 1 to 10.
1 —- people who are the poorest and earn / own literally nothing.
10 — people who own 50% of the planet’s wealth. (top 26 billionaires)
Side note – Don’t rush ahead. Read again. 8 Billion people on Earth – 50% money – 26 people.
Side side note – 26 is based on 2019 data. Only 5 years earlier, in 2014, it took 85 Billionaires to own 50% of the world’s wealth)

Split the remaining 50% of the wealth from circles 2 to 9.

A very clear and accurate measurement criteria would be – the maximum wealth people will own in their life.

** Wealth includes everything you own – money, stocks, apartment, gold, etc.

Below is an image to ensure we are on the same page.

Step 2 :
Let’s put you in one of these circles, and chart out the course of your life with respect to the wealth you will accumulate in your lifetime. Here goes:

* Assume you are born in a level 5 family. That is, maximum wealth (includes bank, stocks, family apartment) of less than 1 Crore Rupees.
* You go to a local school, and get trained to become a part of the Industry.
* You wish to learn more, so you complete your engineering and then even your MBA (Don’t ask me why Engineering and MBA – just know that this is a trend in India, the last couple of decades).
* You get a job at a big firm. You are now an individual, on your own, still level 5 at most or may even be at level 4 now.
* You get married, have kids, your salary keeps increasing “every year”! Lucky you – high performing champion of champions!
* You are still middle class, maybe reaching level 6 now – if you started saving in time.
* You become a Manager, Senior Manager, Director, Senior Director.
* Mainly – you now earn in Crores of Rupees per year.
* Your age is around late 40s / early 50s.
* And you are now tired and wish to retire in the next few years with a wealth in the range of 20 to 50 Crore rupees*
*Side note – most won’t make it this far – this is a best common case example – don’t kill yourself over it.
Congratulations! You have reached level 7!


Step 3 :
Variations and Disagreements

Q – What if I joined Merchant Navy?
A – If you end up generating wealth more than 100 Crores, which is the entry criteria for Level 8, Congratulations – you made it to the 1 % who will jump more than 2 circles.

Q – What if I became a Commercial Airlines Pilot?
A – If you end up generating wealth more than 100 Crores, which is the entry criteria for Level 8, Congratulations – you made it to the 1 % who will jump more than 2 circles.

Q – What if I became a Civil Engineer who gets a lot of money under the table or a Business person not paying my taxes or a Politician?
A – If you end up generating wealth more than 100 Crores, which is the entry criteria for Level 8, Congratulations – you made it to the 1 % who will jump more than 2 circles.

The villager who sold his land in a multi-crore deal and is now super rich — s/he is part of the 1% who jump more than 2 levels.

People who chose corrupt lines of work, most of them end up losing all of their wealth when caught. Only a fraction end up actually keeping the wealth until they die. They are part of those 1%.

The IT professional / Doctor / Engineer who moved from India to Europe or US, earns in Crores now, but has s/he crossed multiple levels? No.
They just moved countries and are now a level 5, 6 or 7 as per their local currencies – currency conversion is a hard truth, people.
Only if this person comes back after 10-20 years and lives in India as a Level 8, can this be considered part of the 1%. Else they remain part of the 99% like everyone else!

And so on…


In Summary :

For 99% of the people on this planet, the family you are born in decides the monetary progress you will achieve in the rest of your life.

1% of 8 Billion people is “80 Million people!!”- jumping more than 2 circles. The rest Seven Billion Nine Hundred Twenty Million – won’t.

Only a percentage of people will cross 2 levels above the level they were born. And only a “small fraction of that percent” will make it to level 9 or 10.

Do not beat yourself up for not making it to the top economic or power levels. Most people won’t, and it is fine. Life is not that difficult.

Instead focus on who you are as a person, what can you do for your family and your community with the cards that were dealt to you.

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8 thoughts on “The Circles of Wealth

  1. Nicely written article Vipin. Just one thought(I know I am digressing from the point) – the inflation always plays a major role in defining the financial status of a person. For instance someone just kept their savings in bank without investing will find it really hard to jump 1 circle, whereas someone who started early and had invested significantly over a period of 3 decades will have better chances of jumping 3 circles.

    1. Of course. And I really appreciate you leaving your thoughts here – that is the whole idea behind the blog – initiate meaningful conversations. Thank you!
      Compounding is a reality in life – whether it is money or one’s own personal habits. And so is inflation.
      And including compounding and inflation, jumping more than 2 levels over 3 decades or even 4 decades is very hard.
      For example, we are talking of parent’s wealth of less than 1 Crore INR, to children’s wealth of more than 100 Crore INR… 100x… sharing 1 picture of SIP calculator for reference (

      1. Agree, its difficult to jump more than 2 circles, nearly impossible playing by the rules. What I was saying is the chances become better if one starts early and take help of inflation and compounding – as you rightly pointed out.

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