How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy? Here’s What Most People Say
Life + Money

How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy? Here’s What Most People Say


Americans’ collective net worth has risen in recent years, thanks to a healthy stock market and steadily increasing home values, but most people think they need a lot more money to feel financially comfortable.

In a new survey from Charles Schwab, Americans said that you need an average of $1.1 million to be financially comfortable. That’s more than 10 times the median net worth of Americans, which amounted to about $80,000 in 2013 (the most recent data available), according to the U.S. Census.

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To be considered wealthy, Americans told Schwab you need an average net worth of $2.4 million, nearly 30 times the median net worth of U.S. households.

Still, not all Americans defined wealth as having a lot of money, although that was the test for 27 percent of those surveyed. About a quarter defined wealth as “enjoying life’s experiences,” and 22 percent said it meant being able to afford anything they want. One in eight said that it meant having loving relationships with family and friends.

While most of us will never become millionaires, the number of American millionaires is on the rise. Last year, the country minted 300,000 new millionaires, for a record total of 10.8 million households, according to Spectrem Group.

Even they may not be as financially comfortable as those surveyed by Schwab with help. A separate Spectrem report found that one in five ultra-high net worth professionals — those with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million — are concerned about having enough money to last them through retirement.