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How much money Americans say they need to make to feel rich

There’s plenty of advice out there to help make your life seem more luxurious to you on a budget. But when it comes to actually feeling rich, Americans say a high annual income is key.

When asked how much money they’d need to earn annually in order to feel rich, the majority of Americans said at least $200,000, according to the recent CNBC Make It: Your Money survey, conducted in partnership with Momentive.

Many set their sights even higher. An annual income of $1 million or more was the most popular answer, with 22% of respondents saying they need to rake in seven figures to feel rich.

High-income Americans say they’d need to make even more to feel rich

Consumers broadly agree across age groups and racial demographics on the salary necessary to feel rich. Men want to earn more before calling themselves rich, with 60% of men needing at least a $200,000 income, compared with 53% of women.

How much money you bring in right now, however, appears most likely to change your perception of how much it will take to feel wealthy. 

Of those currently earning at least $100,000 annually, 82% say they need to bring home at least $200,000 to feel rich, versus 57% of those currently earning between $50,000 and $99,999 who name the same threshold.

That number drops to just 39% of people earning less than $50,000. Similarly, 34% of those earning less than $100,000 say earning between $100,000 and $149,000 would make them feel rich.

Experience may give high-earners a better idea of how much has previously made them feel rich. Lifestyle inflation could also be pushing up their definition of «rich.» Someone currently earning $200,000 but not managing their money well might not feel well-off, for example.

Factors like family situation, personal assets and goals may also have an impact.

While everyone defines «rich» differently, being part of «the 1%» has become synonymous with being wealthy in the U.S. The top 1% of earners in the U.S. earned median annual wages of $823,763 in 2020, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

And since the cost of living varies varies greatly by location, someone who feels rich in Des Moines, for example, may not feel the same way in San Francisco.

Want to earn more and work less? Register for the free CNBC Make It: Your Money virtual event on Dec. 13 at 12 p.m. ET to learn from money masters how you can increase your earning power.

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Origen: How much money Americans say they need to make to feel rich


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