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Will $150,000 make you rich?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

If you earned $150,000 per year, would you say you were rich? How about if you had a total net worth of $1 million?

The top 10 percent of wage-earners bring home $150,000 per year, and, according to the results of a Gallup poll, that's the median salary required to be rich.

Men by and large stuck to the $150,000 figure in the poll, whereas women aimed a little lower, at $100,000. Location also was a factor, with city dwellers saying $200,000 per year would make them rich, while those in rural areas said $100,000. Only 15 percent of respondents said $1 million or more in annual salary is required to be rich. For 18 percent of the respondents, $60,000 a year would do it.

As far as total net worth, $1 million makes you rich according to the survey, but interestingly, that number is the same as it was in 2003. Perhaps the recession has forced Americans to lower their goals and figure out how to live with less.

How much money would you require in salary or total net worth to consider yourself rich?

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3 Comments
Save First
January 04, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Short answer - neither

Salary requires time. No salary (outside of maybe $10M/yr) would give enough long-term liquidity after 2-3 biweekly checks. The promise of future payments (the true definition of "salary") is never a guarantee. Always take the lump sum lottery payment.

Worth is also a fallible figure, especially if non-liquid assets (property, cars, boats) are included. Many people I know are worth $500k-$1M but have savings in the 4-figure range. Ouch?

"Rich" should be defined as liquid assets giving you the ability to live freely without worry to cover daily expenditures, short-term debts under 3-5 years (i.e. NOT mortgages), or impulsive purchases.

"Rich" is the RESULT of salary and worth, not part of the definition.

CP
January 04, 2012 at 11:43 am

This is a far more complicated question than can be answered with a simple number. As mentioned briefly in the article, local cost of living is an enormous factor.

Earning 100k in New York city is not the same as earning 100k in Nashua, New Hampshire. Taxes, product prices, transportation costs, housing costs, etc all play large roles in what it costs to make a living somewhere.

On top of that, for the most part those who make 6 figures a year tend to be those who pursued college level education and have the debt to show for it.

The best measure of what it takes for people to feel rich isnt salary, it's disposable income.

Michelle Eaton
January 01, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I don't know but I wish I could try