For purposes of taxation, President Barack Obama has defined the wealthy as those couples earning at least $250,000 per year. But there are plenty who have disagreed with that assessment, especially residents in high-rent districts like Manhattan and Los Angeles, where a quarter of a million doesn't go as far as it would in, say, Wichita, Kan.
It would seem to take a lot more money than you'd think to feel rich. Of the 457 individuals surveyed by Phoenix Marketing International for U.S. Trust, 40 percent say they don't think of themselves as wealthy, despite having at least $3 million in liquid assets.
Here's what the rich say would make them believe they are wealthy:
- They can buy anything they want without looking at the price tag. That's according to 56 percent of the respondents.
- When they reach a specific asset level. Of the 36 percent who use this benchmark, 23 percent of them set $1 million to $2 million as the threshold; 28 percent say $2 million to $4 million; 15 percent say $5 million to $10 million, and 4 percent say $10 million or more.
- When they can adequately support their family. Of course, this is relative, but 18 percent say it's how they know they're rich.
- When they can pursue their interest or passion. Once again, it's subjective, but 14 percent consider this to be the mark of wealth, and let's face it, there are some pretty expensive hobbies and passions out there, from yachts and jets to wine collections.
Tied for fifth are the 9 percent who say they know they're rich when they buy a home in a certain neighborhood, and those who say it's when they compare themselves to other wealthy people.
But when all is said and done, the two most important measures of personal success and self worth are quality of relationships with family and friends and success of children, according to the survey. Seventy percent of respondents say they value the relationships with family and friends most, while 60 percent say the success of their children is paramount.
What would it take for you to feel rich?
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