In 2006, I made a list of 152 public future predictions. I made a prediction that there would be 20 million millionaires by 2018-2020. This was triple the number of millionaires in the world in 2004. The 2004 numbers were and what were available and known in 2006.
A new study from Capgemini published in mid-2021 found the UHNWI (millionaires) population grew 6.3% in 2020, surpassing the 20-million mark, while HNWI wealth grew 7.6% in 2020, nearly reaching $80 trillion. The biggest beneficiary of this growth was the world’s largest economy, though. Boosted by rising equity markets and government stimulus, North America surpassed Asia-Pacific, to become the 2020 leader in both HNWI population and wealth.
The Very high net worth prediction is also basically correct. I predicted over 2 million VHNW individuals in 2018-2020. There were 2.7 million people with $5-30 million in net worth per WealthX in 2020. There were about 2.3 million people with $5 million in 2018.
The Very High Net Worth Handbook analyzes the state of the world’s very high net worth (VHNW) population (those with between $5 and $30 million in net worth), revealing that this segment grew by 1.3% in 2020, to 2.7 million individuals worldwide.
There are many world wealth reports now and they have a range of counts of millionaires and pentamillionaires.
I overconstrained on some of my predictions.
I had predicted that there would be a successful terrorist attack on Saudi Oil Infrastructure and the oil price would go to over $10/gallon. This was constrained to 2006-2010. The actual terrorist attack was 2019 and the price per barrel shot up but gasoline prices did not reach $10 per gallon.
Most of my 2006 nanotech and space predictions will not pan out in the specifics. Some I can hit or get close on like solar sails being used in space in a particular date range. However, solar sails are still not relevant. But they are important to track because they could be substantially transformational when they succeed.
The usefulness of future predictions is not only if they are right or wrong but also if important scenarios are missed entirely. Getting the questions and categories right is also important. Knowing what will matter is as important as getting a specific constrained prediction right.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.