The three richest people in the United States own the same wealth as the poorest half of the population. You read that right: The net worth of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett is equal to the bottom 50 percent of the entire U.S. population.
An Oxfam report also states that the nearly four billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth last year; 82 percent of the wealth generated went to the richest 1 percent of the global population.
What does that mean to you?
One, income inequality is very real. (I know, I'm Captain Obvious.)
But it also raises a different point.
Even though we should all define success differently, most of us factor money, at least to some degree, into our equation of success.
And as I've written before, any list of wealthy people shows that the only way to become incredibly wealthy is to start your own business. (And hopefully achieving other goals along the way -- because then, even if you don't get rich, you'll still be wealthy.)
Check out the wealthiest people in the world, and how they made their fortunes:
- Jeff Bezos: Amazon
- Bill Gates: Microsoft
- Amancio Orgeta: founded a retail giant
- Warren Buffett: owns over 60 companies
- Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook
- Carlos Slim Helu: owns over 200 companies
- Larry Ellison: Oracle
The list goes on -- and proves a few simple points.
If getting rich is your goal, working for a salary won't make you rich. Owning a business or businesses could not only build a solid wealth foundation, but someday could generate a huge financial windfall.
So while we can all hope that someday our economic systems no longer disproportionately reward the incredibly wealthy and neglect the poor, a change that drastic is something none of us can effect on our own.
But you can decide to bet on yourself and start your own businesses -- and hopefully treat your employees the way you wish everyone could be treated.