How much money does it take to be wealthy?
This nearly $2 million target number is roughly 20 times the median net worth of US households — $97,300, according to the Federal Reserve. But it’s also lower than what most Americans (aged 21 to 75) believe it takes to be truly wealthy, according to the survey — $2.3 million.
And yet, most millennials say they don’t define wealth primarily as a number — more than three-quarters of millennial respondents said feeling wealthy isn’t about the dollar amount, but about how they live their lives.
They might be on to something. Douglas A. Boneparth, CFP and president of Bone Fide Wealth, which offers financial planning and advice to high-net-worth millennials, previously told Business Insider that wealth is relative. “I know many people who make less than $50,000 but consider themselves wealthy because of their health, family, and friends,” he said.
Money, she said, should be viewed as a way to facilitate a good life that provides things like security, comfort, freedom, options, and, occasionally, risks — not as a material to be hoarded.
This isn’t the only report to find that millennials view wealth as more than how much money is in their bank account. According to a recent Merrill Lynch Wealth Management report, only 19% of millennials and Gen Z define financial success as being rich — 60% defined it as being debt-free.
According to the report, 81% of early-adult households carry a collective debt of nearly $2 trillion. “Freedom from debt seems a low bar of accomplishment, yet it’s an elusive goal for many early adults,” the report said.
When it comes down to it, it seems that for many millennials, being rich is about having enough money to live a life they love rather than a life in debt.