Poll results: how much net worth before you’re rich?

Personal finance

Up until last week, I had a poll running on the sidebar asking “How much money would you need to have before you considered yourself rich?” It was my most successful poll so far, with 125 votes. Here are the results of the poll:

In other words, 88% of those who voted believe that $1M-10M in net worth would be considered “rich”. In contrast (and the inspiration behind this poll), Felix Dennis, the author of How To Get Rich, which I’m planning on reviewing this week, believes in using the following definitions of net worth (from page 5 of his introduction):

Keep in mind that these are in British Pounds, and with today’s exchange rate of 1.96 USD per GBP (as of January 15, 2007), you’d need to multiply the figures above by 2 to find US Dollar equivalents.

If you’re wondering, Dennis says his own net worth is between US$400-$900M, less $30M of debt (“Rich people always have a certain degree of debt. Apparently it helps to reduce taxes.”). He also points out that no one who’s “rich” really knows their net worth thanks to taxes and the ownership of many assets whose liquidation values can range widely.

As obnoxious as these categorizations might be, Dennis follows the table immediately with the following paragraph:

So how rich do you want to be? The usual answer is ‘rich enough to be happy’. But riches do not confer happiness! I have lost count of the number of [people] I have told this to….I don’t bother any more. The incredulous look on their face is always the same. What they are really thinking is: ‘Well, maybe you are not happy with all that dough, Felix. But I know that I would be. Just try me!’

Still, let me repeat it one more time. Becoming rich does not guarantee happiness. In fact, it is almost certain to impose the opposite condition — if not from the stresses and strains of protecting it, then from the guilt that inevitably accompanies its arrival.

If he had it to do over again, Dennis claims he’d try to get $60-$80M as quickly as he could (“enough to live comfortably”), and then quit.

More on Mr. Dennis’s book to come.


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2 Feedbacks on "Poll results: how much net worth before you’re rich?"

Duane Gran

Semantics aside, it would be an extravagant lifestyle indeed to hold 60-80 million dollars of assets. Even assuming that a person were to invest in conservative treasuries the return would be 2.4 million (60*.04) per year. Everything may be relative but I have enough “horse sense” to see that 200k of blow money per month is well beyond the definition of “comfortable.”

The Digerati Life

This is a cool poll. Great summary of the info! It’s interesting how we now think that $10M is what is needed to be rich.