How Much Do You Need to Earn to be Rich in The US & UK

Now, let’s take a more intimate look at the wealth distribution in the US.

The Average Household Net Worth

According to data from the Federal Reserve in 2019, the average household net worth per family was $748,800. However, it’s important to note that this is the mean average, which can be skewed by extreme values. A better representation of the typical person’s wealth would be the median average, which was $121,760.

Wealth Distribution in the US

The latest data from the end of 2022 shows that the total wealth in the US was $158 trillion. This wealth was spread across various assets such as real estate, consumer goods, company stock, pensions, and businesses.

Bottom 50% of the US

The bottom 50% of Americans, which represents the majority of the population, hold just 6.4% of the total wealth, amounting to $10 trillion. The plurality of their capital is bound up in real estate.

Top 0.1% and Top 10%

On the other end of the spectrum, the top 0.1% of people in the US control wealth worth over $17 trillion, which is more than double the wealth of the bottom 50%. The top 10% control a total wealth of $63 trillion, again more than double what the group from the 50th to the 90th percentile owns.

Comparison to the UK

The wealth distribution in the UK is similar but slightly less extreme. The top 10% control around 50% of all wealth, compared to 63% in the US. Similarly, the top 1% in the UK controls 20% of the wealth, while in the US, it’s 28%.

Assets and Wealth

The two largest assets that make up the wealth in both the US and the UK are real estate and company stocks. Pensions also play a significant role.

Perceptions of Wealth

According to a survey by CNBC, most people believe they need to earn over $1 million a year to be considered rich. However, high-income Americans, those who earn over $100,000, feel they need to earn more than double that amount to feel wealthy. This perception of wealth can vary based on income levels and lifestyle expectations.

What It Means to Be Rich

Being rich is subjective and can depend on various factors such as location and cost of living. In the US, the cost of living can vary greatly from state to state, affecting what is considered a livable wage. Wealthy individuals tend to prioritize saving and investing in assets rather than spending on luxury items.

What are your thoughts on the distribution of wealth in the US? Do you consider yourself rich? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Summary

The wealth distribution in the US is highly skewed, with the top 0.1% controlling over double the wealth of the bottom 50%. In 2019, the average household net worth was $748,800, but the median was only $121,760. In comparison, the UK has a slightly less extreme wealth distribution, with the top 10% controlling around 50% of wealth. Perceptions of being rich vary, with most people believing it takes over $1 million a year, while high-income individuals feel they need more than double that. Ultimately, being rich is subjective, influenced by factors like location and lifestyle, with an emphasis on saving and investing.

What is Net Worth

Net worth is a financial metric that represents the difference between an individual’s or entity’s total assets and total liabilities. In simpler terms, it is a measure of an entity’s wealth or financial position at a specific point in time. Net worth is often expressed as a monetary value and can be positive or negative, depending on whether the assets outweigh the liabilities. Here are key points about net worth:

1. Calculation: To calculate net worth, you subtract the total liabilities from the total assets. The formula is: Net Worth = Total Assets – Total Liabilities.

2. Assets: Assets are everything of value that an individual or entity owns. This includes cash, investments, real estate, vehicles, personal belongings, and any other property or valuables. Assets can be both liquid (easily convertible to cash) and non-liquid (e.g., real estate).

3. Liabilities: Liabilities represent all debts, financial obligations, or financial claims that an individual or entity owes to others. This includes mortgages, credit card debt, loans, unpaid bills, and other financial obligations.

4. Positive and Negative Net Worth: A positive net worth indicates that an individual or entity’s assets exceed their liabilities, representing wealth or financial stability. Conversely, a negative net worth occurs when liabilities exceed assets, indicating financial indebtedness.

5. Significance: Net worth is a crucial indicator of financial health and stability. It provides insights into an individual’s or entity’s ability to meet financial obligations, invest, and build wealth.

6. Wealth Accumulation: For individuals, net worth can increase over time through savings, investments, and the appreciation of assets, such as real estate and investments in stocks and bonds.

7. Debt Reduction: Reducing or eliminating liabilities can have a significant positive impact on net worth. This is achieved by paying down loans and debts over time.

8. Financial Planning: Net worth is a fundamental aspect of financial planning. It helps individuals set financial goals, monitor progress, and make informed decisions about saving, investing, and managing debt.

9. Monitoring and Tracking: It’s advisable to regularly calculate and track net worth to gauge progress toward financial objectives and make adjustments as needed.

10. Business and Finance: Net worth is not limited to individuals; it is also used in the context of businesses, where it is known as “owner’s equity” or “shareholders’ equity.” In this context, it represents the residual interest in the assets of the business after deducting all liabilities.

In summary, net worth is a valuable financial metric that reflects an individual’s or entity’s financial standing by comparing their assets to their liabilities. It serves as a key measure of financial health and provides essential insights into wealth accumulation, debt management, and overall financial well-being.

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