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Who counts as Rich?
Old 01-05-2012, 11:32 AM   #1
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Who counts as Rich?

A couple of articles from the NY Times.
Interesting read, but not particularly useful for ER research.

Quote:
The median threshold in the poll’s responses was that rich is $150,000 a year of income or a net worth of $1 million.
Who Counts as 'Rich'? - NYTimes.com
Bruce Bartlett: Who Counts as Rich, Continued - NYTimes.com

This isn't about how "you" or "I" feel about the definition of Rich - it is the median based on Gallup poll.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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Note that the $150k is for total household income.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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Well, $150K per year of household income and/or a net worth of $1M is a lot more than most people have, so I can understand how it would seem like "rich" to them. But, I have a feeling that if they ever got to that income/asset level, they'd come to the realization that it doesn't feel as "rich" as they once thought it did.

Heck, I remember when I thought that $100,000 was a lot of money. But, not to sound like a snooty trust fund baby, if that's all I had today, I'd feel poor!
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #4
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it all depends. There's a lot written about what people think is rich.
For somebody living on minimum wage, 100K may be rich.
For someone making 1M a year, it maybe 5M a year.
For somebody with 50K in the bank, 1M may be rich.
For somebody with 1M, they may think 10M is definitely rich.

We also have to distinguish lifestyle VS actual liquid asset.

A lot of folks look rich but in their eyeball in debts. Few folks who drives mercedes are actually millionaires. The most common vehicle driven by
mllionaires is Ford Taurus and F150 pickups.(According to an article I read).
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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It reminds me of a saying I heard long ago when I was younger - something about that when I earned $50,000 a year that I would be on easy street, working hard and finally achieving $50,000 a year of earnings but finding out that they moved the street!!

It is all relative. While I feel blessed for what I have earned and saved relative to those who are less fortunate, I know that there are many people out there who have much more material riches than I have.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:11 PM   #6
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I think the net worth is a better indicator. How many times have we heard of celebrities (actors, atheletes) who make megabucks but end up broke by over indulging.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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There's an interesting contradiction between the income number and net worth in that I'd only be comfortable taking $40k or maybe $30k income a year given a net worth of $1M. When I ER I expect to have $1M in investments, but my income will be $30k. I suppose I'll be capital rich but income poor.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:29 PM   #8
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As stated earlier, without the level of spending defined, "rich" is meaningless.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:02 PM   #9
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I think "rich" would at least include FI without having to w*rk, though obviously some kind of higher living standard is necessary as well. But I suppose to a 30 year old making $40k/year, a 65 year old with $1M and spending $40k/year does kind of seem rich. Some guy with $1M spending $150k/year is not FI and not "rich", at least for long.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:03 PM   #10
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It is also very dependent on your point in time of career and life. If you are ready to retire and are making 150K with 1M in assets, you will probably have to live fairly frugal the rest of your days. If your 30 and have that then if not rich you are well on your way to being rich.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:09 PM   #11
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Anyone who makes $1 more than me!

Seriously, though, it's not that simple as defining a hard figure based on income or net worth. Some folks can lead "rich" lifestyles on incomes less than $100K and net worths under $1M. Some folks don't feel "rich" with 5x those amounts because they want a lifestyle that even the higher income won't provide.

To some degree, "rich" is a state of mind -- if you have enough abundance that you freely enjoy what you derive enjoyment and peace of mind from in your life, you feel "rich".
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Anyone who makes $1 more than me!
I'll send you the $1 - then you'll be rich too
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:12 PM   #13
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well, in my new 'hood, it ain't me. I still drive the same car I had in college. Everyone else rolls in benz's, escalades and jags.

I do think, however, Thoreau said it best.

Quote:
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by l2ridehd View Post
If you are ready to retire and are making 150K with 1M in assets, you will probably have to live fairly frugal the rest of your days.
Not if you were spending 50k, you could continue to live the same lifestyle for a very, very long time.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:21 PM   #15
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We don't owe anyone anything, we have the freedom and enough money to do what we want when we want, and we're healthy. Puttting a number on that really doesn't do anything for me; however, sitting on the porch with my sweetie watching the pups chase birds out in the hay meadow or standing by the lake just doing nothing - priceless.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #16
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These type of surveys don't consider what part of the country you live in. 150K and or 1 million goes allot further in the midwest then it does in New York city, San Fran or Washington DC. Just housing alone can be 2-3 times more..... private schools, commuting etc....I'm sure some folks that work in Manhattan pay more for their parking then some folks pay for housing elsewhere.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:26 PM   #17
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Like others have said, it's all relative. My first engineering job out of college paid me $1275/mo, quite a bump from living well enough on about $300-400/mo in college. I distinctly remember thinking 'how am I going to spend all this?' In the first months, I rented an apt (no roommates for the first time), bought a late model used car, a new tennis racket and new golf clubs. Not sure I ever felt richer than back in those days...seriously.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #18
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I have everything that I want or need, the love of a good woman, no debts, my children are doing OK. That's enough riches for me.
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
We don't owe anyone anything, we have the freedom and enough money to do what we want when we want, and we're healthy. Puttting a number on that really doesn't do anything for me; however, sitting on the porch with my sweetie watching the pups chase birds out in the hay meadow or standing by the lake just doing nothing - priceless.

Your post is priceless!!
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:02 PM   #20
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My first job paid $.80/hr. Yes, that's eighty cents an hour. When I got a $.05 raise I thought I was in financial heaven.
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