What it takes to be ‘wealthy’ in 12 US cities: survey

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(NEXSTAR) – Responding to a survey, 1,200 Americans explained how much money they’d need to have in order to feel “wealthy.” The answer, it turned out, varied quite a bit depending on where they live.

The survey, conducted by Logica Research for a Charles Schwab report, targeted people ages 21 to 75 in 12 regions of the United States, from Chicago to Houston to San Francisco. Among other questions about personal finances, participants were asked what net worth it takes to be considered “wealthy” in 2022.

Here’s how people responded in each city, according to the Modern Wealth Survey:

  • Atlanta: $2.5 million
  • Boston: $2.7 million
  • Chicago: $2.5 million
  • Dallas: $2.6 million
  • Denver: $2.3 million
  • Houston: $2.6 million
  • New York City: $3.4 million
  • Phoenix: $2.7 million
  • San Francisco: $5.1 million
  • Seattle: $3.2 million
  • Southern California (covering Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego): $3.9 million
  • Washington, D.C.: $3.3 million

A person’s net worth includes the value of everything they own added up (like cars, homes, and savings), minus any debt they have (like a mortgage or student loans).

For some perspective, the average net worth of an American household was $748,800 in 2019, according to the Federal Reserve. But the average is driven up by a smaller number of very rich people toward the top of the spectrum. The median net worth, which gives a more accurate picture of a typical American household, is far lower at $121,700.

With that in mind, the vast majority of us are pretty far off from being anywhere near what the survey respondents said constitutes “wealthy” (especially those in San Francisco!). But money isn’t the only thing that mattered to the people who participated in the wealth survey; about 60% of respondents said they’d take a pay cut to work for a company that reflected their values.


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