Lifted out of a Belgian Newspaper

One in ten families in Belgium are dollar millionaires, 57,000 families have wealth exceeding $3 million and both numbers will double in the next 6 years

The Latest News from Belgium; there are a lot of rich people

The Latest News from Belgium; there are a lot of rich people

Upon his return from a two week trip to Europe, my friend Philippe Boets from Petanque America brought back an old fashioned Belgium newspaper that I gratefully accepted.

I have to admit that spelling through a newspaper from A to Z is something I haven’t done in a couple of decades, but it gives you a much more indepth relation with the locale you’re reading about. From crime to entertainment and from politics to business stories, after reading every single article or column that caught my interest, I felt that I was there and recognized the rhythm of the land I grew up in.

Not homesick, on the contrary, just a genuine relief in knowing that underneath the surface of words and pictures the reasons for my departure so long ago are still valid. Great for a visit, but not for a lifetime.

One thing I noticed however in the left bottom corner of page 6 a short story tucked away as if it was too blatant to expose, that said: One out of every 10 families in Belgium is dollar millionaire as there personal worth exceeds 700,000 Euro. In 2017 that number is expected to increase to 1 in 7 families. What is called the super rich in Belgium are families with a wealth of at least $3 million (quite different from US standards) the country counts 57,000, a number that is projected to double in the next 6 years.

I do wonder if there is a recession in Belgium as it turns out the the unemployment rate over 2009 was the lowest in seven years at right around 7%. Looking over the past 20 years however it turns out that Belgium’s unemployment percentage always hovers around 6-9%, come rain or shine. Economically that is.

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9 Comments

  1. John Wheelwright

    Belgium is a hugely underrated nation and economy with a great lifestyle and some of the best gourmets in the world.

  2. Hal_Burns

    And what are they doing that we are not? I think our neighbors across the big pond have it more together then we do.

  3. tommylee

    Belgium has an extremely diversified economy. Same as in the Netherlands. Unemployment rates in both countries have always fluctuated around 6-7 percent as long as I can remember and due to the diversification, industry blows are a lot more moderate in impact on the total unemployment rate. If the steel industry gets a blow, the fine manufacturing gets a boost and thus softens the landing (no sharp increases in unemployment).

    Although Belgium and the Netherlands are part of the European Union and can be compared to individual “states” as in the United States, the European Union has a much more homogeneous set of rules by which doing business, especially small business, is much more supported than in the US.

    The US has evolved into “the bigger the better” mentality with WalMart as a prime example, while many of the products brought to you by WalMart have wiped out small business. The small businesses are the social fabric and the collective economic drivers and this has been killed by Mega chains and the support these mega chains have gotten from the “bargain hunters”.

    Not so in the European Union. Small business have not been replaced by Mega chains and there is a harmony between going grocery shopping for the week at the larger chains (normally on Saturday) while the day to day purchases of fresh produce are made at the “around the corner” small supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, candy stores and even dairy stores have good reason to stay in business. This is the huge difference between the US “shopping mentality” and the “European mentality”. No self respecting citizen in France, Holland, Spain, Belgium, Italy and many other States would EVER buy bread from a supermarket!!!

    I think I'm going to write a story about this today, god's willing.

  4. Joachim Stiller

    There are so many more differences in so many ways. Americans value their conveniences, so most stores are open 7 days a week from anytime 6, 7 or 8 in the morning until 8 or 9 at night or even longer. On average in Western Europe stores, especially grocery stores are open from Monday afternoon (usually 1 pm -6pm) to Saturday afternoon at 5pm. This creates a completely different consumer environment. The biggest difference however is that Europeans don't live on credit.

  5. tommylee

    You are right, however I wasn't pointing out the differences based on conveniences but the reasons why broad based small business is the foundation for a stable economy. If Walmart lays off 14,000 people, that hurts. If a grocery store around the corner in Europe closes because of competition it will put a couple of people out of business but not 14,000. And I can give many more examples.

    So you may be referring to shopping habits, i'm referring to the economic impact of “Bigger is Better”.

  6. Hal_Burns

    And what are they doing that we are not? I think our neighbors across the big pond have it more together then we do.

  7. tommylee

    Belgium has an extremely diversified economy. Same as in the Netherlands. Unemployment rates in both countries have always fluctuated around 6-7 percent as long as I can remember and due to the diversification, industry blows are a lot more moderate in impact on the total unemployment rate. If the steel industry gets a blow, the fine manufacturing gets a boost and thus softens the landing (no sharp increases in unemployment).

    Although Belgium and the Netherlands are part of the European Union and can be compared to individual “states” as in the United States, the European Union has a much more homogeneous set of rules by which doing business, especially small business, is much more supported than in the US.

    The US has evolved into “the bigger the better” mentality with WalMart as a prime example, while many of the products brought to you by WalMart have wiped out small business. The small businesses are the social fabric and the collective economic drivers and this has been killed by Mega chains and the support these mega chains have gotten from the “bargain hunters”.

    Not so in the European Union. Small business have not been replaced by Mega chains and there is a harmony between going grocery shopping for the week at the larger chains (normally on Saturday) while the day to day purchases of fresh produce are made at the “around the corner” small supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, candy stores and even dairy stores have good reason to stay in business. This is the huge difference between the US “shopping mentality” and the “European mentality”. No self respecting citizen in France, Holland, Spain, Belgium, Italy and many other States would EVER buy bread from a supermarket!!!

    I think I'm going to write a story about this today, god's willing.

  8. Joachim Stiller

    There are so many more differences in so many ways. Americans value their conveniences, so most stores are open 7 days a week from anytime 6, 7 or 8 in the morning until 8 or 9 at night or even longer. On average in Western Europe stores, especially grocery stores are open from Monday afternoon (usually 1 pm -6pm) to Saturday afternoon at 5pm. This creates a completely different consumer environment. The biggest difference however is that Europeans don't live on credit.

  9. tommylee

    You are right, however I wasn't pointing out the differences based on conveniences but the reasons why broad based small business is the foundation for a stable economy. If Walmart lays off 14,000 people, that hurts. If a grocery store around the corner in Europe closes because of competition it will put a couple of people out of business but not 14,000. And I can give many more examples.

    So you may be referring to shopping habits, i'm referring to the economic impact of “Bigger is Better”.

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