A man like that is hard to find

It's a rich man's world, as Agnetha and Anni-Frid so eloquently put it, and anyone on the hunt for a nice millionaire could do worse than come to Sweden. But once they've found him, they would be well advised to teach him how to spend it.

According to an international survey from Cap Gemini, the number of dollar millionaires in Sweden is up nearly four percent on last year, but other figures show that Swedish men are more than likely to drink their earnings.

Despite nearly 75 years of social democratic wealth taxes, there are now 46,000 millionaires in Sweden, an increase of 1,500 compared to last year. But serious millionaire hunters would do better to head over the border to Norway. For Sweden’s oil-rich neighbour, despite its lower population, has an impressive 53,000 inhabitants worth over a million bucks.

And it seems that most of the extra lolly that Swedes are earning is ending up in the capital. According to a report from Sweden’s top number crunchers, Stockholm is the richest place in Sweden by a long chalk.

Tuesday’s Aftonbladet reported that the capital has the highest GNP per capita in the whole country, followed by Västra Götaland. By contrast, figures from Statistics Sweden showed that Göran Persson’s really roughing it in his new home. Södermanland, where the Prime Minister and his new wife Anitra Steen have just bought a farm and a considerable amount of tax-efficient forest, is Sweden’s poorest county.

If the inhabitants of Södermansland are feeling a bit hard up, a root around the back of the sofa could turn up more than they expect. For according to the Swedish central bank, Riksbanken, up to three billion crowns in loose change is sitting around in people’s homes.

One of the reasons for the amount of cash out of circulation is the difficulty in getting it changed.

“Banks and businesses aren’t so interested in changing large quantities of loose change, and they tend to charge for it,” Anders Ekström at Riksbanken told Tuesday’s Svenska Dagbladet.

On second thoughts though, perhaps it would be better if some people had less money to spend. A report from the Central Statistics Office paints a picture of the average single Swedish man as a heavy drinker with old underpants. Aftonbladet reported that single men are most likely to spend their cash on booze, drinking nearly five thousand crowns worth of alcohol a year. A typical single woman spends 1230 crowns a year on underwear, whereas a single man spends a paltry 200 crowns on pants.

And he wonders why he’s single?