Here’s how much money it takes to be rich in America

How much money do you need to be rich? It’s a question you might think would be easy to answer. Rich means you have a couple of houses, as many cars as you want and absolutely no worries, right? But it’s actually more complicated than that. As in, exactly how much money do you need? And how much income? How much net worth?

And then there’s the matter of rich according to whom?

It’s one thing to ask government experts or college professors what it means to be rich in America, but what about the people who can really best answer the question—the American people themselves?

To that end, we recently asked Yahoo Finance users a series of questions about personal wealth. Over 25,000 of you responded (Thanks for that!).

We’ll cut to the chase: Those of you who call yourselves rich have a median income of $425K and a net worth of $5 million. A little more than we would have thought (more on that below), but reasonable. With those numbers you should have a couple of houses, a few cars, your kids’ college paid for, and retirement sorted out as well. Nice work if you can get it.


You think you need more to be rich than it actually takes to feel rich

Let’s drill down into the numbers for maybe a more interesting conclusion, that being that folks seem to have a much lower bar for what it means to be personally wealthy than they do in the abstract. Let me explain. Of the 25,502 people who took our survey—rich, poor and thousands in between—the median required to be rich tallied $10 million. Yet when we asked if you yourself were rich, those who answered ‘yes’ reported having that aforementioned net worth of $5 million. And similarly with net income, over 85% of you said that you needed an income of more than $500K to be rich—and over 40% said you needed more than a $1 million a year—but when asked if you considered yourself rich in terms of income, that group had that median income of $425K.

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