Biggest worry for wealthy Americans in 2024 is not inflation

Politics is the biggest pocketbook concern for the wealthy, though opinions are split for which candidate would be worse for their portfolio.

This poll was also interesting.

{{ However, affluent Americans appear to need even more money to feel wealthy. Of the high earners with over $500,000 and as much as $3 million in assets, 36% say they’d need over $5 million to actually feel rich.

This data point echoes a similar conclusion drawn by Ameriprise Financial last month, which found that of 3,000-plus millionaires surveyed, just 8% — or roughly 240 — said they considered themselves wealthy.

Among those millionaires, 31% put themselves in the middle class and roughly 60% of respondents said they are among the upper middle class.

The remaining 1% of the one-percenters actually said they were poor or very poor. }} No doubt these are the “Constrained Investors” in need of a subscription service.



Face it, a million dollars ain’t what it used to be, yet in our minds we have not made the adjustment.


You cannot experience the feeling of being truly wealthy unless your cake is of a much higher quality than the cake the peasants are forced to eat.


I’d say those millionairs are comfortable even if they don’t feel wealthy.

Being wealthy implies a lifestyle of luxury. But those who scrape and save to get there often find it difficult to change lifestyles.

How many will buy a yacht or a tropical island?


This. All day. Plus some extra characters.

This topic has come up before. On the surface everyone scoffs that a millionaire might not feel wealthy. Which sure, sounds a bit absurd on the surface…

But when you break it down, it’s not that strange. Say you’re a couple making $350k/yr. You haven’t always been making that much, so you don’t have $10M in the bank. You’ve living pretty darn well off of a great income. But you’re paying 40% or more in total taxes. And then you’re trying saving 25% because you hope to retire well. Your housing costs take up a decent chunk of your net income. You still fly coach. You’re not driving an exotic sports car.

You have plenty left over, just not what you perceive as “wealthy”.


Effective Federal rate (including FICA) on MFJ 350k is 23%.

I could not find the median state and local income tax rate but it is fair to say it is something significantly less than 17%.

Outside of expensive urban areas, I don’t have much pity for couples that earn 350k a year that “struggle” to save or otherwise do every single thing they want to do. And, I state that as a member of that group that maxes their retirement savings every year (early), has two kids, and still saves an extra 50k on top of that, while taking multiple out of the county vacations every year (sometimes via 1st class).

I get why someone may not feel wealthy, but it certainly isn’t factual. I am very wealthy by any standard. Anyone in the top 10% of wealth - in the very wealthy USA - has no legitimate complaint. Heck, by world standards only about 1-2% are millionaires.

This was just an over-simplified example to make the point that $350k/yr (or pick any other large salary) gets divvied up pretty quickly (and significantly) between taxes and savings. But you’re right that nobody in this group should be looking for pity.

Even as well as I’ve done in my life/career, I don’t really consider myself wealthy. OK - on a global scale, no doubt. Upper class - sure. But “upper class” is more of an income/lifestyle measure. If I had enough income producing assets that I could lead the lifestyle I enjoy today without needing to work, I would consider myself very wealthy indeed. Maybe one day, but not today…

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That feels like a false standard by which to measure, don’t you think?

If say someone has $2 million at age 25, would they be any less wealth than someone at 65 with $2 million? In other words, the desire or the need to continue to work for the 25 year old should not change ones factual perception of wealth.

Or, if one wants to use that standard then they should compare themselves to other 25 year olds and not to the rest of the population. Certainly retirees are by their very nature, generally the wealthiest age-based group.

At the end of the day, what a person deems “wealthy” is subjective. Many would call someone with $2M wealthy. I don’t. That’s completely subjective. To me, the lifestyle generated from a $2M nest egg is ~$80k a year. Sure, that’s plenty to live on, above median income even. But that doesn’t meet my arbitrary subjective threshold of “wealthy”.


I debated a long time before dropping $3k on a new wood working lathe. My yacht happens to be a tandem kayak.


I’ve found that the ultimate luxury in retirement is not having to subject yourself to the supervision of an employer, or the whims of clients and customers.



I can appreciate that view, but for me it all comes down to time. It helps that my job wasn’t bad, but fifty hours a week (including commuting, more with OT), during the most useful hours (daytime) is the heart of it for me. This realization is one reason I hesitate to ask for help from family members as all of them are far busier than me, and eating into this limited resource of theirs if I can avoid it just seems wrong.


Or worse … to subject yourself to supervising employees!


Why would someone with $2 million only get $80k a year?

That assumption completely ignores SS and pensions (if any).

A couple that has been earning $350k a year has been at or near the SS income max and should be receiving IN EXCESS of 80k year from SS alone. Toss on their $2 million and now we have a retired couple getting AT LEAST $160k a year.


Yep. To be fair, maybe they are thinking about someone in their 50s, very few of those have pensions, and SS isn’t in the picture yet.

Wow, is that true? How do you get more than $80k from SS? Maybe if you wait till age 70 and both spouses maxed out? In my case, pretty close to maxed out, I’ll get about $4500/mo at age 70, and my wife (not eligible on her own) will get half my base benefit, maybe $1600/mo. And that’s pretty darn good, a total of $73k/yr from SS. But that doesn’t apply for the two decades from age 50 to age 70.

Also, it’s kind of ridiculous that a couple who earned $350k/yr only saved $2M. They should have saved more like $5M or even $7M (20 x earnings) if they planned on retiring early.

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Close, but you don’t have to wait until 70. Max SS at 67 is currently $3822. Multiply that by 2 and 12 and you get $91728 annual gross.

Edit to clarify that the max is for 2024.


Correct, that is my assumption. To someone currently still working and making this made-up $350k, there is probably no pension (a disappearing relic from the boomer generation, or maybe those in govt jobs), and they aren’t old enough to pull SS. Are you really making the case that someone’s potential SS benefit at some point in the future should influence them to feel wealthy?

Again, here’s my subjective opinion - if you’re dependent on SS benefits to make your retirement numbers work, you ain’t wealthy.

Disclaimer: I’m in my 40s. I fully expect SS to come at a reduced %, and whenever I start getting it, it’ll help cover the tax bill on my other sources of retirement income.


Wait, where did this assumption that they are early retirees come from? It is not part of the OP article. No where in the article is there a suggestion that the wealthy in question are early retirees.

there is probably no pension

This is older data but among the wealthy (top 2 quintiles of income), pensions are still common (which is probably one of the reasons why they are wealthy). Nearly 50% have both 401k and pension.