Times change, and so do people’s dreams. But the fantasy of someday becoming a millionaire has remained a constant among workers for many decades, if not a century or more.
Having $1 million in your pocket conjures images of living on Easy Street. But if actual millionaires are anything to go by, the reality is somewhat different.
A full 60% of millionaires recently surveyed by Ameriprise said they consider themselves to be “upper middle class” rather than rich. Another 31% view themselves as squarely in the “middle class,” not wealthy.
In other words, more than 90% of millionaires don’t consider themselves wealthy. As difficult as it may be to believe, just 8% of the surveyed millionaires would describe themselves as “wealthy.”
The findings — based on a survey of 580 Americans ages 27 to 77 who have at least $1 million in investible assets — are a reminder that being rich is all in the eye of the beholder.
Of course, inflation means $1 million is not as valuable as it once was. That might account for some of the reluctance millionaires feel to call themselves wealthy.
But perhaps basic human psychology better explains why riches don’t make us feel secure.
John D. Rockefeller — the richest man in the world during the early 20th century — once was asked, “How much money is enough money?”
The world’s first billionaire simply replied, “Just a little bit more.”
In the survey, Ameriprise also asked respondents to define what “wealth” means to them. The overwhelming majority — 85% — said wealth means having a sense of financial security.
- 66% associate wealth with “the ability to provide for myself and my family”
- 58% associate wealth with the “freedom to do what I want”
Whether you view millionaires as being “wealthy” or not, there is little doubt that most people would like to have a cool $1 million in their account.
Fortunately, there is more than one way to achieve such status. For more, check out “There Are Only 6 Ways to Get Rich: Take Your Pick.”