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Who's "Rich" in America?

3 Minute Read

For a country of people who don’t like to talk about money, we spend a lot of time discussing other people’s wealth. We want to know how rich rich people are, how their wealth compares to everyone else’s, and whether or not it’s fair for anyone to be as rich as we think rich people are.

Does Income Make You Rich?

But how do we define who is rich? In 2013, our government identified “rich” as people with an annual income higher than $400,000, or $450,000 for married people. That’s about nine times the average household income of $50,000.

Related: Why It’s Okay to Enjoy Wealth

When we asked Dave’s Facebook fans how they defined the term “rich,” only a minority of responses included a dollar figure.

Sean K. agreed with a Gallup poll that shows that most Americans would consider themselves rich if they earned $150,000 a year. Connie V. aimed higher, saying, “An individual net income of over $1 million would be a start.”

Julie D. raised the bar even higher: “Debt-free plus $2 million in liquid assets/investments.”

How Does It Feel to Be Rich?

For most of Dave’s Facebook followers, being rich was much more about a sense of security and the ability to help people with their money.

“Right now, financially, rich would be paying a bill when it came in the mail and not scratching the money together to get it paid before the cutoff date,” Kim M. said in her post. “Also, being able to give to others I see in need or the ability to bless a ministry that touches my heart.”

A recent online survey of investors shows that 84% associate increased security with increased wealth, but Charity L. agreed with the 30% who said being rich means being happier.

“[Being rich means] having enough money to do whatever your heart desires!” she said. “I would love to have enough to make my siblings and family comfortable and be able to bless those God puts in my path. That would be awesome.”

Could You Already be Rich?

Others, like AnneMarie M., said being rich is about being content. “Being rich means being happy with what you’ve got, rather than unhappy because of what you don’t.”

Elodie A. agreed. “I would say rich equals money to buy what I need plus money to buy what I want. Rich for me might be poor for others.

Related: How Much Is “Enough” for You?

Plenty more responded like Elizabeth Y. who said she is already rich. “What first pops into my head is a big house, fancy car and being able to buy what you want when you want and not have to worry about it,” she admitted. “But, if you look at it in the light of having the Lord Jesus Christ, a great loving family, your health and actually being able to pay your bills and afford food on the table—that is what it really is all about.”

“So, if you put it that way, I’m rich,” she added. “Wahoo!”

What about you? How do you define being “rich” in America?