US millionaires say they don’t feel rich – Are you kidding me?

Welcome the first in an occasional series, Are You Kidding Me? We’ll highlight shock-worthy news items that we just can’t believe (but are REAL).

“US millionaires say $7 million not enough to feel rich”


ARE YOU KIDDING ME? According to a Fidelity Investments survey, 42% of US millionaires say they do not feel wealthy. The average respondent had $3.5 million in investable assets. They’d “like to have more.”

Maybe that’s why Oregon Republicans are pushing for capital gains tax breaks (a whopping 50%) for Oregon’s wealthiest — because the rich don’t feel rich anymore, and they need a handout from the state to make them feel better. But it doesn’t change the fact that millionaires (actually, anyone who makes more than $500,000 per year) are in the Top 0.4% for wealth in Oregon.

Millionaires control more than 56% of the wealth in the United States. Oh, and a not-so-fun fact I learned last week – the richest 400 people in the US have more money than HALF of the country.

Oregon’s average household income is $61,800. I bet they don’t feel rich either. Nor do skyrocketing number of families struggling to get by on unemployment and food stamps thanks to the recession.

So, to the multi-millionaires who claim that they aren’t rich, we have to ask — are you kidding me?

6 Responses to “US millionaires say they don’t feel rich – Are you kidding me?”

  1. Anonymous

    I will trade places with them for awhile, say a year and then they will feel more than rich they will feel privelaged…like they are!!

  2. Anonymous

    That says nothing about the number of those with investable assets that have pensions or other retirement accounts in addition to their so-called “investable assets.” Given the statement that many are “still worried about outliving their assets,” that suggests that these people are not using their money to buy cement mixers full of caviar, but are instead using these accounts effectively as retirement accounts.

    If you take that average Oregon income and subtract the maximum SSI benefit, you’re left with a need to supplement $33,000 per year just to be at the average level of income. If you want to retire and pay yourself an average salary after Social Security, 1 million dollars will last you 30 years. If you seek to avoid your nest egg dipping below 33%, or want to have enough to offset a 33% blow to your funds by a stock market crash, that million dollars will drop to 20 years. (Here we’re also assuming that interest earned simply offsets inflation over that period, which may not be the case at all). So to retire at 65 and have enough for a 20 year retirement, 1 million will only get you the average income over that time. How is living at an average level “rich?”

    I know former government workers that retired under the age of 65 and who will accrue more than $1 million in benefits if they live more than 20 years after retiring. Are they also rich? Should they feel rich? As was shown in The Millionaire Next Door, the average millionaire isn’t Thurston Howard III; it’s a small business owner that has learned the importance of frugality and has had to assume a very high level of risk.

    Meanwhile, the other problem this misses is that one of the major reasons why 400 individuals have more net worth than half of all Americans cumulatively is that as of 2005, 10% of all households have a negative net worth, and this has likely increased with the housing market crash. A major part of this is in college loan debt. Why is there blame being cast on the frugal wealthy (a minority of millionaires achieved their wealth by means other than saving) rather than any effort to end the rampant credit card debt accumulation among the young?

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