American millionaires say wealth starts around $8 million

Andrew Carnegie

A survey of American millionaires indicated that 42 percent of them don't feel rich, like Andrew Carnegie was, unless they have at least $7.5 million in the bank. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A new survey of American millionaires revealed that the wealthy think that real “wealth” is not realized until a person holds nearly $8 million in the bank. America’s millionaires, less than 6 percent of the population, do not feel “wealthy” unless they have at least $7.5 million in net worth. Most people on the planet subsist on a few dollars a day.

Recession makes wealthy not feel as wealthy anymore

Over the past few years, fewer of the wealthy are feeling as wealthy anymore, according to Bloomberg. The 2011 “Millionaire’s Outlook” survey by Fidelity Investments, which tracks the attitudes of millionaires around the United States, revealed that about four out of 10 millionaires did not truly feel “wealthy.” The 42 percent of the surveyed millionaires who did not feel wealthy responded that they would have to hold about $7.5 million in net worth to feel wealthy. The other 58 percent, however, did consider themselves to be wealthy. Interestingly enough, the 58 percent who did consider themselves themselves to be wealthy were on average younger than the 42 percent who did not and thus had longer careers ahead of them.

Lifestyles of the fantastically rich

The people in the survey had to have at least $1 million in net worth aside from retirement accounts and real estate. The 2009 “Millionaire’s Outlook” survey revealed even more people that year, 46 percent, did not consider themselves wealthy, according to Reuters. The fact that the number of millionaires who consider themselves wealthy has improved by 4 percent in two years is a sign of economic recovery. The reason given for those who not feel rich is that older wealthy people are concerned with being able to sustain the lifestyle to which they had grown accustomed upon retirement.

Where the rest of us sit

Those with incomes above $380,000 per year constitute 1 percent of Americans, according to CNN, and the people who belong to that exclusive bracket have seen their incomes and net worth rise by 33 percent since 1988. The average American taxpayer took home $33,400 in 1988, and in 2008, took home $33,000. Median income, according to the CNN estimates, has not changed in dollar amounts, and there is substantial wealth inequality in the United States. It is estimated that 90 percent of the population controls 50 percent of the wealth. Because inflation has taken place in that time, that means the same amount of money doesn’t buy nearly as much. Reagan’s “trickle down” economic policy favoring the wealthy in the hopes that wealth would “trickle down” was continued under George W. Bush and President Obama. It appears the trickle turned out to be a tidal wave that went the wrong direction.





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