Thomas White Global Investing
Monaco Stamp
July 25, 2008
A Postcard from Monaco
Monaco: Millionaires Begin to Sweat in Tiny Monaco

Tourism is one of the mainstays of the Monaco economy, contributing 15% of output.

Monaco is one of the tiniest territories in the world (0.7 square miles in area), yet this Principality also has the highest number of millionaires per capita than any other nation.

Just how does the second-smallest independent state in the world amass all these riches together? A freewheeling capital for the rich, Monaco allows millionaires to rest easy with this fiscal paradise’s tax-free policy. A tax haven for businesses as well, companies realizing more than 75% of their benefits in Monaco do not pay any corporation tax.

Bordering France on the Mediterranean coast, Monaco also lures wallets to its famous casinos, especially the one in Monte Carlo.

On a typical day, one can see racing car drivers, bankers, as well as racehorse traders zooming around in luxurious cars on the country’s narrow roads. To complete this scenario, the “Monaco Mob” – the name for those with recently acquired wealth- luxuriate for endless hours doing little else but walking the dog, or watching the sea roll by on sun-kissed beaches. Ah, life is good.

Not all the 32,000 people who form Monaco’s population are millionaires. Yet, the country is also one of the most expensive places to live. At the relatively modest Alain Ducasse’s three-star restaurant, £1000 ($2012) meals are common.

However, change is looming. This tiny country is on the big global map – and being branded as an uncooperative tax-free rogue country is starting to hurt. Reputations have to be earned once again.

Globalization has also led to increased transparency in the financial world. Monaco’s super-rich are finding that the country is clamping down on its reputation as a playground for the rich with shady pasts. The ruling Prince Albert II wants to reduce the country’s reliance on tourism and gambling, to instead develop more high-tech businesses. Big little Monaco is poised for new frontiers of change. Incidentally, so are its millionaires.

Home to some of the world’s biggest casinos, the Monte Carlo Casino was built by Charles Garnier way back in 1878.

Postcards from Around the World

Subscribe to get our global publications by email.

Use of this site signifies that you have read Terms & Conditions
© Thomas White International, Ltd. 2019