They say the United States is becoming a plutocracy — or even a kleptocracy. With a billionaire having successfully taken the presidency and a slew of rich-friendly policies in the pipeline, it’s not hard to see why. But America has always been a place where people come to get rich. They chase their dreams, start businesses, and become independently wealthy. Sometimes it works out; sometimes it doesn’t. But with many worried the government is about to engage in another round of “trickle-down” economics, it’s easy to think the U.S. would be one of the places the world’s rich are flocking to.
But it’s not the case — not always, anyway. While there are many benefits for the wealthy built into our system, there are downsides, too. It’s not all that easy to emigrate to the U.S., for example. And our tax rates? They’re not exactly low. They’re not terribly high, relatively speaking, but the wealthy do end up paying substantial marginal rates.
So if you’re a member of the world’s upper crust, where can you go to ensure your fortune remains intact? A new brief from the U.K.’s Lottoland has the answers.
“One of the first things that lottery winners and other people who come into large sums of money is relocate at least for part of the year to places with better weather, a better standard of living or to countries with tax rates that minimize how much of their fortune they will have to part with,” the brief said.
By looking at a handful of main categories — best tax rates for the rich, human development index, better life index, purchasing power, and immigration — Lottoland devised a top 10 list of the countries where it’s the easiest for the rich to get richer. No. 2 has been a hot topic of discussion recently.
Germany is one of the world’s biggest economies, and its central Europe location makes it a magnet for wealth. However, like many other European countries, its tax rates aren’t particularly friendly to the wealthy. Even so, Germany sneaks in at No. 10, ranking high in the human development index and purchasing power.
Bahrain is a small, incredibly wealthy country located on an island in the Persian Gulf. Like many other countries in the region, it’s rapidly developing and seeing huge economic growth. It ranks high, according to Lottoland, as a destination for immigrants and among countries with the most favorable tax rates for the rich. As a result, Bahrain makes the list at No. 9.
Similar to Bahrain, Brunei is a small, wealthy country. Unlike Bahrain, however, Brunei isn’t located in the Middle East. It’s on the island of Borneo, in two chunks, in the South China Sea. It ranks second in the world for the best tax rates for the wealthy, which is the main reason it lands at No. 8 on the list. Brunei failed to rank high in any other category.
7. New Zealand
New Zealand doesn’t seem like a place that’s swarming with rich people, but according to Lottoland’s research, it’s very friendly to the wealthy. New Zealand actually took the top spot in Lottoland’s immigration category, and it’s among the top 10 in both the human development index and better life index. That potent combination was enough to propel New Zealand to No. 7.
There was a lot of talk among rich liberals (and not-so-rich liberals) about heading to Canada after the election of President Donald Trump. Apparently, that’s not such a bad idea if you have a lot of wealth to protect. Canada ranked among the top 10 in both the better life and human development indices, as well as third in the world in the immigration category.
There’s nothing worse than a smarmy, rich, dismissive Dane. That’s not really a thing — though there surely are some — but that’s why it’s surprising to see Denmark on the list. Denmark lands at No. 5 because it ranks high in the better life and human development indices and also in terms of purchasing power. Denmark does tax the rich highly, however, which is a bit surprising.
Like Denmark, another one of those “socialist Scandinavian” countries American politicians like to point to as an example of what we should aspire to (or avoid), Norway is a great place to live if you’re rich. Norway takes the top spot on both the better life index and the human development index, and it’s at No. 10 for immigration. Overall, that places Norway at fourth.
3. Saudi Arabia
If you’re rich in Saudi Arabia, life is probably pretty good. If you’re not? Things are considerably tougher. Case in point: Saudi Arabia, according to Lottoland, has the friendliest tax rates toward the rich in the world. (Several other nearby countries are close.) It also takes the No. 1 spot in terms of purchasing power, so your money will go a long way in Saudi Arabia — more so than any other country.
The Swiss are known for being particularly friendly toward the wealthy. You’ve probably heard of a “Swiss bank account,” for example, but that’s just one piece of the mosaic. Switzerland also ranks very high in terms of purchasing power, on the better life index, and on the human development index. All told, Switzerland is a pretty great place to be if you’re well off.
Behold, the best country in which to be rich: Australia. Our friends down under rank very well in all of Lottoland’s major categories, with the exception of tax rates for the rich. But because of the country’s high marks in all other areas, it takes the overall top spot. Australia is the place to be if you want to put even more shrimp on that barbie.
See the complete Lottoland brief here.