New Survey Finds That Americans Need $2.2 Million To Feel Wealthy In 2023

Stacks of hundred dollar bills laying out
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America’s perception of wealth is undergoing a transformation, unveiling a fascinating paradox in the process.

According to Charles Schwab’s seventh annual Modern Wealth Survey, Americans have redefined what it means to feel wealthy. It turns out that the traditional notion of a staggering bank balance no longer holds the key to true prosperity. 

Let’s delve into the survey findings that shed light on this captivating phenomenon.

How much money do you need to feel wealthy? 

When asked to quantify wealth, the average American believes a hefty $2.2 million is necessary to be considered wealthy, according to the 2023 Charles Schwab survey.

In 2020 – 2022, Charles Schwab Corp. Modern Wealth Survey asked the same question, revealing that $2.6 million was needed to be considered wealthy in 2020 and $1.9 million was needed to be wealthy in 2021.

In 2022, Schwab found that the amount of money one needs for feeling wealthy was the exact same number as this year: $2.2 million.

Despite the number they say they need to feel financially well-off, a surprising 48% of Americans say they already feel wealthy right now, despite their average net worth of $560,000 – just a fraction of the lofty target of $2.2m.

Clearly, Americans are charting a new course to fulfillment that isn’t just focused on padding their bank accounts. 

Wealth Beyond Money

While financial assets are used to dominate the definition of wealth, the Schwab survey uncovers evolving mindset around what wealth actually is. Health, family, and relationships now take center stage. A resounding 62% of Americans believe that wealth lies in healthy relationships with their loved ones, overshadowing the allure of money.

The survey also found that stress-free living is a significant indicator of wealth, with seven in 10 respondents valuing peace of mind with money matters vs. having more financial abundance.

The Power of Planning

Curiously, despite feeling wealthy, the Schwab study found that most Americans have not taken the time to craft a financial plan. Only 35% of respondents have set goals and documented their financial strategies. However, those who have embarked on this journey report feeling more in control of their finances, with 70% experiencing newfound confidence in reaching their objectives. It seems that even wealth requires a roadmap.

Social media is the new “keeping up with the Joneses”

While Americans draw happiness from their relationships, the rise of social media has introduced new complexities.

Nearly half of the respondents (47%) feel wealthy when they can maintain a lifestyle comparable to their friends. Social media further amplifies this comparison, with over one-third (37%) of social media users admitting to measuring their wealth against what friends and family share online.

Moreover, social media’s influence extends beyond envy to actual decision-making, as one-third of Americans admit to making purchases, financial choices, and investment decisions based on what they see online.

In conclusion

The landscape of wealth in America is undergoing a profound transformation. The survey reveals that prosperity is no longer solely defined by financial means, but by the quality of relationships, health, and freedom from financial stress.

In other words, money isn’t everything. 

While many Americans feel wealthy, the lack of financial planning leaves untapped potential for even greater fulfillment. Moreover, the advent of social media has introduced both new uncertainties and opportunities for comparison.

As the definition of wealth evolves, it’s crucial for individuals to prioritize personal well-being and meaningful connections over material accumulation, while also developing a financial plan to unlock their true potential. 

B. Carlisle

Contributing editor at Wealth Gang. An entrepreneur at heart, he's passionate about meaningful ways to leverage technology and social media for business opportunities and side hustles.