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Millionaires in the money

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

The number of millionaire households in the U.S. rose for the second straight year in 2010, to 8.4 million, according to the latest report by Spectrem, a Chicago consulting group.

After dropping by 27 percent in 2008, the millionaire population has been increasing for two straight years, by 16 percent in 2009 and 8 percent in 2010. It peaked in 2007 at 9.2 million.

The ultra-rich, those with $5 million or more, also saw their numbers increase 8 percent in 2010 to 1.06 million households. Even the merely affluent households, those with $500,000 or more, increased 6 percent to 13.5 million last year. All in all, a nice trend for the wealthy, but where does that leave the majority of the U.S.?

The stock market performance, of course, is the reason for most of the gains in wealth. Despite the setbacks led by crises in the Mideast and Japan, the market has recovered faster since the recession than the housing market, where most of the middle class has its money. With the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, the wealthy are able to put more of the money that would have gone to taxes to work in the market.

As the wealthy continue to spend and invest, that will provide a lift for the economy, but the big question is, how much weight can they pull, and how much impact will it have before the middle class can begin spending again?

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1 Comment
Frank Ewing
April 27, 2011 at 4:05 am

Having done well in business I can only say that your comments about the wealthy being able to put more money in "the market" and gives the economy a lift is leaving out some very important facts. Namely, the "trickle down" effect doesn't work except for a very small percentage of the economy. What do millionaires spend their money on? Luxury items, airplanes, boats, travel and of course they do keep track of their investments and in fact this does provide SOME jobs in these areas. What historically provides a HUGE number of jobs is funding projects like high speed rail Gov. Scott here in Florida REJECTED funds for! Idiocy!, about 48,000 jobs would have been created, thousands could transport more safely, save billions in fuel costs, unclogged highways and promoted more tourism. Then again, the very rich could just fly their private planes over the masses........