What does it take to feel rich? Is it a certain amount of money? A way of looking at the world? Or something else entirely?
According to a 2011 Gallup Poll on this topic, “Americans generally would consider themselves rich if they made $150,000 per year or had $1 million in net worth”.
That would argue for “feeling rich” requiring making a certain amount of money per year, but the actual responses to the poll ranged from not stating an amount of money at all, to believing they’d need to make more than $1 million a year. Clearly, it’s subjective.
And it’s all relative
Feeling rich is personal, which also means it’s also relative to our individual situations — and how we compare ourselves to others. No matter what your income level, you’re unlikely to feel rich if everyone around you is visibly better off than you are — even if the folks you’re comparing yourself to are just characters on TV. (And we all know how realistic TV is, hah.)
Of course, your current numbers matter too. If your household income is $29K your threshold of “rich” will be a whole lot lower than it would be if you made $250K a year. In fact, at $250K a year, you’d probably think it’d be hard to “only” scrape by on $150K. Yet that same $150K might seem like an obscene amount of money to the family getting by on $29K. That probably explains why 18% of people thought they would be rich if they made less than $60K a year.
Your financial history will color how you feel as well. I feel rich every single time I go to the grocery store because I can buy whatever I want to eat. If you’ve never had to choose between toilet paper and food, you probably don’t have that feeling. Yet I wouldn’t trade that experience, because it’s given me perspective and the opportunity to feel really grateful on a regular basis. And that’s a good thing.
Someone who grew up having their every whim indulged with daily purchases might not feel rich no matter how much they can afford; or maybe they would feel rich once their earnings surpassed their parents. I have no idea.
Most of us probably fall somewhere in between those ranges.
What it boils down to is that feeling rich is a combination of things: your past, present, income level, lifestyle, and your general outlook.
So what about you? Do you feel rich now? Have you in the past? What do you think the deciding factor is in your case?
Today’s tweetable: [tweetherder]What does it take to feel rich? [/tweetherder]Posted in Emotions & Money on 06.22.12 with 22 comments.