A humble people, not keen to boast, Norwegians have been quiet about their efforts to buy up the entire world.
How did they amass this staggering wealth? Norway is one of the richest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of over $100,000.
Despite the recent oil slump Norway remains an extremely wealthy nation, with jobs available in everything from unskilled to highly technical work and a generous welfare state that provides cradle-to-grave services to all.
Yet what distinguishes Norway is not only that it blessed with incredible oil reserves. There are many nations with considerable oil reserves – Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Nigeria to name buy a few.
What distinguishes Norway is its effort to carefully save every penny it can to prepare for a ‘rainy day’. Its enormous wealth has been poured into a sovereign wealth fund – the Government pension fund of Norway – that is said to make it the second largest pension fund in the world.
This is despite the fact that Norway has a tiny population of only five million people, something that technically makes every Norwegian citizen a millionaire.
The fund itself is worth an incredible $863 billion, bigger than similar funds by other oil and gas giants such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The fund itself is invested in a mixture of equities, currencies and property, with the plan being to double its holdings from 2.5 per cent of every European stock to five per cent of every stock in Europe.
Recently the fund has been ramping up its real estate portfolio. It is the second-largest foreign buyer of property in the USA, targeting enormous commercial portfolios in Boston, San Francisco and New York.
In addition to the USA, the fund is now targeting Japan and Singapore, saying that it wants to buy office blocks in the ‘better parts’ of both Tokyo and Singapore. These add to its holdings in a large swathe of central London, with the fund now said to be eyeing up Berlin.
The success of Norway lies in its ability to carefully save the wealth it has amassed, planning as it does for a distant future when times may not be as rosy. There is much to learn from their example, with the country’s focus on long-term wealth creation taking precedence over short-term gains.