How much money do you need to own to be considered rich?

Defining what it means to be “rich” is subjective and depends on many factors. However, there are some general guidelines that can help determine if someone’s net worth and assets would be considered wealthy.

What is the Definition of Rich?

There is no definitive dollar amount that officially qualifies someone as rich or wealthy. According to surveys and expert analysis, here are some general benchmarks for defining rich:

  • Top 1% richest Americans: $10.4 million or more in net worth
  • Top 5% richest Americans: $2.4 million or more in net worth
  • Top 10% richest Americans: $1.2 million or more in net worth

So a net worth of around $1-10 million or more could be considered reasonably wealthy by most standards. However, “rich” is still a subjective term.

What Net Worth is Considered Rich By Age?

Wealth accumulation takes time, so the bar for “rich” is lower for younger people. Here are some guidelines by age group:

  • Under 35: $500,000 or more in net worth
  • 35-50 years old: $1 million or more in net worth
  • Over 50: $5 million or more in net worth

Of course, these figures are just rough benchmarks. Individual definitions of rich vary greatly.

Income Needed to be Considered Rich

Looking at net income instead of net worth, here are some general income guidelines to be considered rich:

  • Top 1% income in U.S.: $750,000+ per year
  • Top 5% income in U.S.: $300,000+ per year
  • Top 10% income in U.S.: $150,000+ per year

So an annual income of low-to-mid 6-figures or more could generally be viewed as rich, depending on cost of living.

What Net Worth Percentile is Considered Rich?

Looking at wealth distribution another way, here are net worth percentiles and corresponding dollar amounts:

Net Worth Percentile Net Worth Amount
Top 1% $11 million
Top 5% $2 million
Top 10% $1.2 million
Top 20% $500,000

So being in the top 10-20% of net worth could generally be viewed as at least “wealthy”, if not “rich”, by most people’s standards.

What Level of Wealth is Considered Rich?

Categorizing levels of wealth, the spectrum goes something like this:

  • Wealthy: $5 million to $30 million net worth
  • Very Wealthy: $30 million to $100 million net worth
  • Rich: $100 million to $1 billion net worth
  • Very Rich: $1 billion+ net worth

So a net worth of nine or ten figures is generally considered rich by any definition. However, a more modest wealth of several million can still be viewed as quite financially comfortable.

What Assets Make Someone Rich?

More than just income and net worth levels, the specific assets owned can also determine rich status. Assets commonly owned by the wealthy include:

  • Multiple homes, especially luxury real estate and vacation properties
  • Fancy cars such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc.
  • Boats and yachts
  • Private planes and jets
  • Luxury collections such as art, wine, watches, etc.
  • Significant ownership stakes in successful companies
  • Large investment portfolio including stocks, bonds, etc.

Owning several of these “rich person assets” outright could imply wealthy status even with a more modest net worth.

How Much Money is Considered Rich in Different Areas?

Cost of living varies widely in different geographies, so wealth definitions differ by location:

  • Major cities like New York and San Francisco: At least $5 million net worth to be considered rich
  • Expensive areas like Los Angeles and Miami: $3-5 million net worth to be rich
  • Mid-sized cities like Chicago and Houston: $1-3 million net worth to be rich
  • Smaller towns and rural areas: A few hundred thousand could be considered rich

In very high cost of living areas like Manhattan or Silicon Valley, even a net worth of $10 million or more may not be considered extremely wealthy.

Is Income or Net Worth More Important to Being Rich?

For determining if someone is rich, net worth or wealth is generally more important than income. High-income earners who spend everything they make may have a moderate net worth. Conversely, some who earn a modest income accumulate significant assets over time to become rich.

However, a high income of several hundred thousand per year or more is often required to build multimillion-dollar wealth over time. So high earners have an advantage in becoming rich, though not assured.

Can You Be Rich Without a High Income?

While unlikely, it is possible to become rich without a sky-high income:

  • Building a successful business and owning a large portion of its equity
  • Inheriting wealth from family members
  • Investing early in assets that significantly appreciate like real estate or growth stocks
  • Marrying into a rich family
  • Winning the lottery or having other windfall gains like legal settlements

However, for most who were not born into wealth, a high income of at least mid-six figures facilitates building multimillion-dollar net worth over time.

At What Age Can You Become Rich?

Although possible to become rich at any age, in reality it often takes decades to build substantial wealth. Some typical timeframes:

  • 30s-40s: Reach basic financial security and first million
  • 50s-60s: Wealth peaks from career, investments, business ownership
  • 70s-80s: Gift and inherit wealth from older generations

While situations vary greatly, age brings experience and opportunities that allow significant asset accumulation over time for many people.

How Can I Become Rich?

Some top strategies for becoming rich include:

  • Having a high-paying professional career like doctor, lawyer, executive
  • Starting a successful business
  • Investing wisely early in assets like stocks and real estate
  • Living below your means and saving/investing a large percentage of income
  • Receiving a large inheritance

For most who were not born rich, the two most viable paths are building highly profitable businesses or investing prudently over decades.

How Many Millionaires Are There in the U.S.?

Current estimates on the number of U.S. millionaires include:

  • Total millionaire households: Over 15 million
  • Millionaires comprising the top 1% wealthiest Americans: About 1.4 million households
  • New millionaires per day: Around 700

So around 15 million American households (5-6% of the population) have a net worth over $1 million. A much smaller fraction, around 1.4 million households, are in the top 1% with over $10 million net worth.

How Many Billionaires Are There in the U.S.?

Current data on American billionaires includes:

  • Total U.S. billionaires: Over 700
  • New U.S. billionaires minted per year: About 60-70
  • Total global billionaires: Around 2,500 worldwide

So approximately 700-800 Americans have current net worth over $1 billion. This elite group comprises the wealthiest 0.0002% of the population.

Is Being a Millionaire Good Enough to Be Rich?

Having a net worth of $1 million was considered quite wealthy a generation ago. However, inflation has eroded this benchmark. Here are current perspectives:

  • Millionaire status signifies financial security more than vast wealth today.
  • $1 million net worth is respectable but not rich, especially for older people.
  • For younger adults under 40, $1 million+ is a solid start and can be life-changing.
  • In high cost areas, a $5 million+ net worth is likely needed to be considered truly rich.

While still a significant achievement representing the top few percent, one million dollars does not necessarily mean “rich” by contemporary standards in most places.


Defining being “rich” is subjective, but some general guidelines exist based on net worth, income, assets owned, and wealth percentiles. While a definite dollar figure is elusive, multimillionaire or billionaire status likely meets any definition of rich. For most people not born into wealth, becoming rich requires high earnings and/or prudent investments over decades. Regardless of the exact figure, building substantial wealth is a financial achievement that improves living standards and options.

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