Until you’re submersible-on-a-yacht rich, you may never feel rich

Who feels wealthy today? Fewer people than you may think, as even some folks with $5m+ net worths identified as “poor” in a recent survey.

When you’re little, $100 is the height of wealth. When you join the workforce, people with six-figure salaries are the ones living large. When you’re actually making $175k+/year… it stops feeling like a lot of money, apparently?

party on a yacht

A Bloomberg survey of 1k+ of the top 10% of US earners turned heads this week — because a quarter of respondents, all making $175k+/year, identified as either “very poor,” “poor,” or “getting by but things are tight.”

Over half of those surveyed, dubbed the “regular rich,” said they worry about money.

Are you rich?

It’s such a simple question, but Bloomberg shows there’s no simple answer; every individual contemplation of wealth today comes with many qualifiers — about housing, local cost of living, retirement savings, etc.

The objectively wealthy grappling with being subjectively poor provides quite the snapshot of this moment in American history. It captures:

  • How the increased cost of everything, from cars to tuition to groceries, makes it harder to build wealth.
  • How rising generations are failing to attain their parents’ financial security.
  • How social media impacts perception, fueling lifestyle comparisons while making the ultra-wealthy class more visible.

So, who feels good?

While some of the six-figure crowd feel like they’re struggling, the bulk of millionaires in Bloomberg’s survey acknowledged they’re “comfortable.”

  • Among them? Many doctors, naturally. While the average US physician salary is now $350k, per The Washington Post, the top 10% of doctors command salaries of $1.3m+.

But even for the comfortable, the goal posts keep moving. There are always some Joneses to keep up with.

Take the latest trend on superyachts, for instance: Don’t have your own submersible on board? You’re practically a peasant.

BTW: Those subs don’t come cheap — think $2m-$7m, separate from installing a crane to move it and ~$15k/day in operating costs.

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Topics: Wealth

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