Many of you will have been paid today, and we wish you luck in spending it wisely.

I’m sure many of you also don’t really feel like you’re in the top 10% of richest South Africans, and you’re thinking you need some crazy Wolf of Wall Street bank balance to compete, but the numbers don’t lie.

A new tool by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) lets you punch in your monthly income, and then compares your pay to the rest of the country.

If you want to play around before we reveal what amount puts you in the top 10%, here’s the tool.

OK, here’s what happens when you put in your take-home monthly pay as R7 313, when you’re not financially supporting anyone else:

Yup – that meagre amount sees you crack the top 10%.

Here’s BusinessTech with more number crunching:

According to the data, to be among the richest 1% of South Africans, you need a household income of R48,753 per month (after tax)…

According to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group’s latest affordability index, more than half (55.5%) of the population lives below the upper-bound poverty line, which is currently at R1,227 per person per month.

A quarter (25.2%) live below the food poverty line (R561 per person per month), the group said.

The median wage in South Africa is R3,300, and each wage supports 3.5 people (R930 per person – or R30 per person, per day). According to Stats SA, of the 7.5 million households in major metros, approximately 28% live on less than R2,500 a month.

Sure puts things into perspective, right?

For an idea of the struggles that a large majority of South Africans face, researchers looked into a “range of goods and services expenses which households on low incomes may typically be expected to cover”.

The list of expenses is clearly nowhere near comprehensive, but watch that final figure balloon:

The bare minimum for a family’s household expenses is higher than the amount that sees you crack the top 10% of the country’s highest earners.

That, right there, shows how real the struggle is.

If you want to see where your after-tax pay fits in, you can use the SALDRU tool here.


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