Earning a good salary is one thing, feeling “rich” is another.
Even doctors, lawyers and other highly paid professionals — also referred to as the “regular rich” — who benefit from stable jobs, homeownership and a well-padded retirement savings account said they don’t feel well off at all. Some even said they feel poor, according to a recent survey conducted by Bloomberg.
Of those making more than $175,000 a year, or roughly the top 10% of tax filers, one-quarter said they were either “very poor,” “poor,” or “getting by but things are tight.” Even a share of those making more than $500,000 and $1,000,000 said the same.
These days, fewer Americans, including millionaires, feel confident about their financial standing.
Despite their high-net worth, less than half of all millionaires, or 44%, felt “very comfortable,” a separate report by Edelman Financial Engines also found.
In fact, only 12% of Americans — and just 29% of millionaires — consider themselves wealthy, the report said.
“What would it take to feel wealthy?” said Jason Van de Loo, chief client officer at Edelman Financial Engines. “The short answer is more.”
Most people said they would need $1 million in the bank, although high-net worth individuals put the bar much higher: More than half said they would need more than $3 million, and one-third said it would take more than $5 million, Edelman Financial Engines found.
When it comes to their salary, Americans said they would need to earn $233,000 on average to feel financially secure, according to a separate Bankrate survey. But to feel rich, they would need to earn nearly half a million a year — or $483,000, on average.
To be sure, persistent inflation has made everything more expensive. Households are facing surging childcare costs, ballooning auto loans, high mortgage rates and record rents.
To bridge the gap, more people rely on credit cards to cover day-to-day expenses.
In the last year, credit card debt spiked to at an all-time high, while the personal savings rate fell.
But a deterioration of the American dream has been decades in the making, according to Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst.
“Structural or long-term changes have been injurious to Americans’ ability to manage their personal finances,” he said.
“Where there was a time in the U.S. when a married couple, with children, could get by with a single-wage earner in the house, those days are mostly vestiges of the past.”
Money continues to be the No. 1 source of stress among households, Van de Loo added. “The last couple of years just lit a match to those concerns.”