What You Need to Feel Wealthy: $150,000 a Year


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Most Americans don’t need to earn millions of dollars to feel rich – just $1 million would pretty much do it.

Gallup surveyed more than 1,000 adults and found that the median amount a person needs to feel wealthy is an annual salary of $150,000 and a net worth of $1 million. That’s still just a fraction of the average after-tax income of those who count among the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

The amount needed to feel rich has remained strikingly consistent in recent years. In a 2003 survey, Gallup found that Americans would feel rich earning $120,000 a year and having a net worth of, yes, $1 million.

By that standard at least, America is becoming a richer nation – the number of millionaires in the U.S. increased to more than 3 million this year. Unfortunately, wages for low- and middle-income earners has remained relatively stagnant, meaning the dream of earning six figures remains as unattainable for many Americans now as it was eight years ago when Gallup asked the same question.

However, many of those surveyed this time around did admit they would feel rich earning less. Nearly a third of those surveyed said they would consider themselves wealthy earning less than $99,999 a year and roughly half would feel rich with less than $1 million in net worth.

How much would you need to earn a year to really consider yourself wealthy? Let us know in the comments section below!

Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at Seth.Fiegerman@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman.

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