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by Tanisha Warner on January 29, 2010

I was recently having dinner with my nine-year-old son when, from out of nowhere, he asked, “Mom, is the President rich?” Before I answered, I had to stop and think about my definition of rich. I realized at that moment that I’ve never really tried to define it. According to most dictionaries, rich is defined as having abundant material possessions.

Of course this type of vague definition is useless to a nine-year-old, and in my case, useless to a woman of a certain age. :) The definition, however, clearly speaks to the ability to obtain tangible items – material possessions. So although you can be rich in spirit and be considered emotionally wealthy, the definition of “rich” is all about having lots of money.

So how much money is a lot?  There seems to be a lot of focus on becoming a "millionaire" (think Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). And, obviously, you’re not a millionaire until you have a net worth of $1 million.  Unfortunately, accumulating a net worth of $1 million is out of reach for many consumers. I guess that’s where the phrase – “there’s the rich, and then there’s everybody else” came from.

During my research, I stumbled across a new study commissioned by that explores how people feel about their chances of one day becoming rich and how they define wealth. According to this study, only 17 percent of people define rich as having a net worth of $1 million. 

How would you define rich?

  • 33% Having just enough money not to worry
  • 26% Having enough money that you don't need to work
  • 17% A net worth of $1 million or more
  • 11% A six-figure annual income
  • 7% Possessions such as houses, cars, boats, etc.
  • 3% Other
  • 3% Don't know

I have to say that I am really pleased with the results of this study. In my opinion, the pressure of building and keeping a net worth of $1 million, is downright discouraging. When goals seem so far out of reach and unattainable, there is no motivation to go after them. My new definition of rich is having enough money to comfortably maintain while I reach the next level in my journey of building wealth. What’s your definition of rich?

Posted in:  Saving


Beevee says:
October 07, 2011

There are many who would consider themselves rich if they could pay their medical bills

CLWarnerII says:
February 01, 2010

I would have to say (monetarily), rich for me would be having the financial ability to do whatever I want. If I dont want to work I dont have to. If I want to travel, I can. If I want to buy this house or that car, I am not restricted by inadequate finances.

Anonymous says:
September 13, 2012

People always talk about income and assets. Two concepts that are just as important are expenses and liabilities. If you expenses are greater than your income (no matter what amount), you can not accumulate wealth. Liabilities are a deal breaker from the get go. Leading a life style that keeps your expenses less than your income and also not having liabilities are the key to wealth acquisition.

Jackie says:
February 01, 2013

I am Onidea and Munsee.My spirit name is Ya-got-ka-new-nee. It means, she is rich... The elder said it meant I was going to be rich in health, taking care of my family and in money. Just rich in life in general. I was hoping to find more info behind it

JoeTaxpayer says:
January 28, 2010

Tough question. It's all relative I suppose. See The average $50,000 US income is in the top 1% of the world. How can $50K not be rich? On the other hand, it's would take nearly $1.25 million to produce that $50K/yr, so to someone earning $50K, the $1.25M seems rich. I'm sure Dr Stanley, author of "Stop acting rich" can help make the distinction.

kdsmith says:
January 31, 2010

Interesting. I think when I use to think about being "rich", the first though was comfortable living. Nowadays, I think rich is having all bases covered while simultaneously living a comfortable life. If my husband and I can gross 1 million a year for a few years...I might consider that rich :-)

Kim says:
February 01, 2010

Tom- I would be happy to send you more info. Will you send your contact information through the "contact us" form? Nicole- Interesting perspective. I agree that emotional wealth is priceless. Lazygirl- If I had to choose, think my definition is #1 (I would drive my family crazy if I didn't work!) kdsmith- I love your moving target! Kim

lazygirl says:
January 30, 2010

I would say my definition is the 2nd one on the list - Having enough money that you don't need to work

Marvin8 says:
October 18, 2012

I define rich as having enough income to pay all your bills and maintain your lifestyle without having to work and without having to dip into principal. In this period of ultra-low interest rates, that's pretty hard to do without gambling in the stock market.

Nicole says:
January 29, 2010

First let me say that i don't believe that being rich has only to do with money. I do believe in spiritual wellbeing and emotional wealth and believe that without them money is meaningless. But that wasn't the question. I also don't think that $1 million defines rich. As a single female my $1 million dollars can go a lot further than say a single mother of four with sick children. I think that rich is a state of mind. If I'm living the lifestyle that I want, paying my bills without worry, able to handle situations that may arise and still have a nice monetary cushion at the end of the day then I'm happy and thus rich in my own mind.

tom rep says:
January 28, 2010

I need help. Could you send more info.?

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