Nearly 70% of the Richest Americans Don't Feel Wealthy

A report shows that 68% of America’s most affluent people do not consider themselves wealthy.

Several burlap bags with dollar signs on them sit together.
(Image credit: Getty)

There are more millionaires in North America than ever before. But making it into the millionaires’ club is not what it once was, making many people feel their net worth is average

A wide-ranging Chubb survey of 800 wealthy individuals discovered that despite achieving considerable financial success, two-thirds do not consider themselves rich, including many with investable assets of more than $10 million. 

The survey, conducted this past September and October, asked how people view their wealth, what they value most, who they turn to for advice, and what keeps them up at night. The report also highlighted concerns over the loss in value of their investments due to inflation, geopolitical pressures, a volatile stock market, and the climate crisis affecting the value of their homes

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Other risks the respondents mentioned include being the victim of financial fraud, the competitiveness of the domestic economy, job loss, and lower profits from business ventures.

On the other hand, a notable aspect of the survey showed that whether the respondents’ wealth was inherited (25%), self-made (40%) or a mix (35%), they distinguished themselves by working hard and playing hard. The majority are still working (83%), and nearly one-third said they would prefer never to retire. 

Even so, many wealthy Americans plan to spend more on their homes, education and collections, as well as travel in 2024, and about 73% anticipate spending more on real estate, while 65% anticipate spending more on entertainment.

Despite being better off than many Americans, two-thirds of respondents in the Chubb survey said that building wealth today is more challenging than ever before. 

But, the definition of "rich" is changing for many.

Defining wealth

Respondents of Schwab's 2023 Modern Wealth Survey concluded that an average net worth of $2.2 million would be considered wealthy in 2023 — unchanged from 2022. But with a growing cost of living, that number may jump in 2024. 

The Schwab survey also highlighted that many Americans consider family strength and good health to be a measure of wealth. In fact, according to the data, four in 10 Americans define wealth in terms of "well-being," while only three in 10 describe it in terms of "money."

Another interesting point was that the two youngest generations self-reported the highest levels of financial comfort. Roughly six in 10 millennials and five in 10 Gen Zers reported feeling wealthy, while only four in 10 Gen Xers and four in 10 Baby Boomers said the same.

No matter where you stand — champagne wishes and caviar dreams or simply wishing for an extra chunk of change in your pocket — it's possible to build wealth. Follow these wealth creation basics to steadily improve your financial picture.

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Kathryn Pomroy

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.