What are the ways to measure whether you have jumped from middle class to wealthy?

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Since the early 70s we have seen the middle class steadily getting smaller.  But according to the Pew Research Center, in 2021 there are still many people, around 50% of those living in the United States, that fall into the middle-class category and many of them may enjoy playing at a Fairgo casino.

To begin with it is difficult to perfectly define class but there are some very obvious signs that distinguish between the middle class and the really wealthy.  The first distinguishing factor is the amount of income or the net worth of the person in question.  However, there are other less obvious signs.

Signs that you have moved from the middle class to the truly wealthy, upper class

You have an assortment of channels of income

One sign that you have moved into the upper class or are getting close is if you have more than one avenue of income.  This may include income from your regular employment and also from other sources.

Jeff Rose, CFP and initiator of Good Financial Cents, says “You might have rental income, dividends from investments, or profits from side business supplementing your regular job earnings.”  He goes onto say “Don’t rely solely on your day job.”  If you want to create real wealth you need to be doing a variety of things with your income.

Rose says “Look into creating multiple streams of income, like starting a side hustle, investing in real estate, or putting money into stocks.”

You have long term assets

If you consider yourself middle class, it is likely that you own your own home.  However, you might have a mortgage.  If you don’t have a mortgage or other debts and have been able to invest in other assets, these may be adding to your income in which case you may have moved out of the middle class and moved upwards.

Matthew Stratman, President of United Tax AI says “As a middle class (person), you likely have a stable income that affords a comfortable lifestyle but doesn’t leave ample surplus for major investments.  Homeownership may be your largest investment, but your home value isn’t expensive…To transition to true wealth, your net worth needs to grow substantially, perhaps into the millions, largely from assets and investments that generate passive income.”

If your net worth is over $2 million

The amount of money you earn is not the only thing that defines how wealthy you are.  Of course, it is an important factor.  But according to Brian Dudley, CFP, SVP, financial advisor, “Wealth can be described as a number or value for some, for others, it's defined as financial freedom, so that may mean that number can vary based on living needs.”

He goes on to say “National averages for incomes can depend upon your relationship and dependent status. For example, he says “A single earner may be defined as middle class with a $100,000 position in some parts of the country. However, a $100,000 earner in New York City vs. a $100,000 earner in a rural town in another part of the country are most likely living very different lifestyles based on the cost of living.”

For Dudley, there are specific conditions that need to be met in order for a person to be deemed wealthy.  He says “To be wealthy, one needs to have assets that can withstand a long-term level of living without compromising themselves financially.”

In Dudley’s opinion, “This can’t be defined by a general number.”  However, some do put a number to it. He says “In Schwab’s 2023 Modern Wealth Survey, people believe it takes an average net worth of $2.2M to be considered wealthy.”

You have created something profitable

If you have built something that steadily generates income, some kind of business for instance, it may well be that you have jumped from the middle class.  Dudley says “To accumulate wealth, you must build on something…That something could be putting money into savings and investments such as stocks or real estate or investing into your growing business, etc.  That growth needs to be consistent, as well.”

You are connected to people who are helping you.

Truly wealthy people, more often than not, are part of a team of people who think just like them.  At the same time, they will often have professionals working with them to maintain and develop their wealth and they will likely be involved in educating themselves financially.

Stratman says “Continuously educate yourself about finance, investing and tax minimization strategies, as the wealthy often focus heavily on reducing tax liabilities over time to enable greater wealth accumulation.”

Stratman goes onto say “Surround yourself with financially successful individuals you can learn from.  Seek professional financial, accounting, and legal advice to optimize your strategies and reduce taxes as much as possible – maximizing investment opportunities and minimizing tax burdens over decades can have an immense impact on wealth building.”

You have changed the way you think.

Has the way you think changed?  Has your lifestyle changed considerably?  These are questions you should ask yourself.  Kelly Ann Winget, founder of Alternative Wealth Partners says that “Wealthy people have a wealthy mindset”.

She says, “The shift in priorities around your money will lead to even more opportunity and wealth creation.  There is a reason why wealth stays in its own circle, and it is because their priorities are the same…It is more collaborative and lifting instead of competitive and ladder climbing.”  Basically, a shift in your mindset is required.

There has been a shift in how you value time and money

There will have been a change in the way you think about money and how you value time plus the fact that you will have more financial confidence.

Winget says that you “plan your time differently (when you're wealthy), meaning your focus shifts from relentless work to more relaxation and exploration. Time becomes more valuable than dollars per hour or annual income.”

Winget also added that you may have reached a point where you have begun to give back, by, for example, donating to charities.

You have more leisure time

Middle-class people usually have only a certain number of days they can take off from work and they need to request from those in charge permission for extra time.   Jania says “When you’re able to take time off without worrying about your finances or getting permission, that’s also a sign that you’ve made the leap.”

Another sign is if you are earning passive income. The truly wealthy are, says Jania “…able to make money while they sleep and they could choose not to work another day and would have various income streams pay for their life.”


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  1. CosmoLady's Avatar
    Great post!
    Also the entrepreneurial mindset cannot be taught by the education system;
    the mindset is ideally cultivated by and inherited from parents (or Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki).
    Even if they are modest,
    some resourceful and entrepreneurial parents can plant the seeds of future spectacular success in their kids!
    Updated 11-21-2023 at 10:07 AM by CosmoLady