Episode: 5
Young Money, Old Money

Premiered on: 02 March 2013 01:30 GMT

Older people have always been richer than younger ones – but what has changed is the disparity between the generations. Here, West and East are diverging sharply. What does this mean for the future?

In this programme we look at the changing balance of wealth between young and old, and profile some of the young ultra-wealthy like Suhas Gopinath, a respected CEO while still a teenager. Are our young entrepreneurs the exceptions or do emerging economies really offer better chances to the young?

Facts and Figures

The young & wealthy

The number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals under 50

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Featured article

Young Money, Old Money

Given the natural tendency to accumulate wealth over a lifetime, older people have always been richer than the young – but what has changed is the disparity between the generations. Here, West and East are diverging sharply.

 

Chinese millionaires average 39 years old, a full 15 years younger than their Western counterparts.”

Shanghai Wealth Report 2011

In the West, asset owning older people are thriving in wealth and income. Of course there are many young Westerners who have acquired substantial wealth, often through film, music, digital technology and of course, inheritance. But in general the younger generations in the West are delaying the start of wealth accumulation. They postpone careers to get more education. They marry later (delaying the financial benefit of a shared household), have children later (delaying the arrival of lower-cost, child-free days) and inherit money later because their parents live longer.

In the newly wealthy economies, that pattern is different. According to the Shanghai Wealth Report 2011, Chinese millionaires average 39 years old, a full 15 years younger than their Western counterparts. Rapid economic growth and commercial diversification, a younger demographic profile and evolving cultural attitudes are all changing the pattern of lifespan wealth accumulation. Si Shen, the co-founder of Papaya Mobile is a mere 29 years old, whilst India’s Suhas Gopinath of Globals Inc was a CEO at the age of 14.

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About the Programme

Changing Fortunes is a co-production by D&E and Films of Record for BBC World News. To film the series we visited the home cities and workplaces of the global wealthy, with interview locations across Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.

The series director is the award winning filmmaker James Rogan. James’s credits include the six part documentary series Warship for Channel Five whilst his latest feature documentary Amnesty! When They Are All Free is his third for BBC Storyville. Changing Fortunes Executive Producers are Marc Heal for D&E, who originally conceived the series, and the award winning filmmaker and writer Roger Graef OBE, for Films of Record.

The series is broadcast on BBC World News at the following times:
Saturdays at 0130 and 1530 GMT
Sundays at 0930 and 2030 GMT

To find viewing times in your location please go to the BBC World News schedule page