What Does It Take To Be Wealthy in America?

net worth milestones

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What Does it Take to be Wealthy in America?

The goalposts of wealth are always shifting due to inflation and other factors.

For example, someone with a net worth of $1 million several decades ago would have been considered very wealthy. According to recent survey results, however, $1 million is only enough to feel “financially comfortable” today.

In this infographic, we’ve visualized several money milestones to give you a better idea of what it really takes to be wealthy in America.

Net Worth Milestones

This table lists the data used in the above infographic.

It covers data on what it takes to get into the top one percent for wealth in key states, along with broader survey results about what net worth thresholds must be crossed in order to be considered “comfortable financially” or even “wealthy”.

Milestone Source As of Date Net Worth (USD)
What it takes to be in California’s top 1% Windfall 2020 $6.8M
What it takes to be in America’s top 1% Knight Frank 2021 $4.4M
What it takes to be in New York’s top 1% Windfall 2020 $4.2M
What it takes to be wealthy in America Charles Schwab survey 2022 $2.2M
What it takes to be in the UK’s top 1% Knight Frank 2021 $1.8M
What it takes to be financially comfortable in America Charles Schwab survey 2022 $774,000
What it takes to be in Mississippi’s top 1% Windfall 2020 $766,000
The average American’s net worth (median) Federal Reserve 2019 $122,000

According to Charles Schwab’s Modern Wealth Survey, a net worth of $774,000 is needed to feel “financially comfortable”, while $2.2 million is needed to be considered “wealthy”.

Both of these milestones are far greater than the average (median) American’s wealth, which according to the Federal Reserve, was $122,000 in 2019.

Joining the One Percent

Research by Knight Frank determined that in order to be a member of America’s one percent, one would need a net worth of $4.4 million. This is very high compared to other developed countries such as Japan ($1.5 million), the UK ($1.8 million), and Australia ($2.8 million).

The difference is partly due to America’s large population of ultra high net worth individuals, which includes the country’s 724 billionaires. See below for a list of the top five countries by number of billionaires.

Country Number of Billionaires
🇺🇸 U.S. 724
🇨🇳 China (inc. Hong Kong & Macau) 698
🇮🇳 India 140
🇩🇪 Germany 136
🇷🇺 Russia 117

Source: World Population Review (As of 2021)

Focusing again on the U.S., we can also see large discrepancies at the individual state level. Entry into California’s one percent requires a net worth of $6.8 million, which is 62% higher than the national average.

California is famously home to many of the world’s richest people, including Google co-founder Larry Page, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Being a one percenter in Mississippi, on the other hand, requires $766,000. That’s 83% lower than the national average, and just a tad lower than the amount needed to be “financially comfortable” by the average American. This is partially due to Mississippi’s poverty rate of 19.6%, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is the highest in the country.

The post What Does It Take To Be Wealthy in America? appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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