Feeling “rich” is increasingly elusive.
Even among millionaires, only 8% would characterize themselves as wealthy these days.
Roughly 60% of investors with $1 million or more of investable assets said they are more likely upper middle class, according to a recent Ameriprise Financial survey of more than 3,000 adults.
To that point, 31% consider themselves decidedly middle class.
“Many people feel squeezed between higher prices and lower asset prices,” said Kim Maez, a certified financial planner and private wealth advisor at Ameriprise. “While a necessary part of the economic cycle, it’s also uncomfortable.”
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 separate 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.
Despite their high-net worth, just 44% all millionaires felt “very comfortable,” another report by Edelman Financial Engines found.
What it takes to feel wealthy
“What would it take to feel wealthy?
Jason Van de Loo, chief client officer at Edelman Financial Engines, recently told CNBC: “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.
Of course, higher costs continue to make it hard to make ends meet. Households are facing surging child-care expenses, ballooning auto loans, high mortgage rates and record rents along with the resumption of student loan payments.
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 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.”