Define “rich”

Tangent from the extravagant spending thread.


Clair Huxtable said something like: Not rich is when you work for your money. Rich is when your money works for you.

What say actuarials and friends?

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I think people rarely think of themselves as rich. It’ll always just be some % more than whatever the person has.

But if I had to give an answer I’d say you can define it either through income or wealth. Through income rich is… > 250k/yr family income

Wealthy rich is … > 2m net worth

  • Not worrying about what’s on sale or what’s a premium brand
  • Paying for others but not thinking of it as a favor
  • Not thinking about whether you can afford a mid-tier purchase ($XX-$XXXX)
  • Being confused why people have debt
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Make more than the median national income in the form of passive income.


How about:
“Rich” is “If you retired today, you would be, objectively, financially secure until you die.”


Yes, 400% more than I have now (so 5x), but my past self would have said the same (although not the past self that had negative net worth, that past self would have felt “rich” (and did, for a minute) at positive net worth).

I agree with NormalDan in the sense that “Rich” is a condition of accumulated wealth (ie net worth) and NOT defined by annual income. It’s possible, even probable, that high income people are not rich because they spend all of their income.
ETA: I think NormalDan edited his post to add stuff that I don’t agree with. There’s no such thing as “income rich”

I will opine that I think “rich” is the level at which one can retire from work and live reasonably off their accumulated assets for the rest of their life. I would say that number is more like 3M net worth, but that is relative to my living in a somewhat high cost of living area.

Bob Brinker defines this: as Critical Mass:

A state of freedom from worry and anxiety about money due to the accumulation of assets which make it possible to live your life as you choose without working if you prefer not to work or just working because you enjoy your work but don’t need the income. Plainly stated, the Land of Critical Mass is a place in which individuals enjoy their own personal financial nirvana. Differentiation between earned income and assets is a fundamental lesson to learn when thinking in terms of critical mass. Earned income does not produce critical mass…critical mass is strictly a function of assets.

I wouldn’t say Brinker is a hero of mine. His logic and thoughts I often find overly simplistic. But I like his concept of critical mass as a life goal.

I see there is now a thread for this, so copying this from the other thread.

It was claimed that this dude who makes 500-600K a year isn’t rich by new york standards. I kinda disagree. This is a pretty impressive list of jobs here that he might be expected to be on the richer side.

yeah, i disagree that 250K year in family income with 2 working parents is rich at all where I live in Manhattan. this depends highly on where you live.

I think you may have read it quickly. But clearly there’s a difference between someone making 250k/yr and spending 250k/yr and someone making 50k/yr and spending 50k/yr. I guess the 250 is not rich but with an option to be rich… certainly living luxuriously.

I’d argue living in Manhattan is an incredibly luxurious thing to do.


not really. it’s a trade-off. in the po you could buy a mcmansion for less than i paid for my studio apartment. sure, i can walk out my door and do stuff, but i’m kinda an introvert anyway.

i didn’t move to manhattan because it’s a luxury. it’s because i grew up in new york and that’s where i got a job.

Why not live on Staten Island? :judge:

Then isn’t living in the city counter-productive?

You could be introverted for a lot less money in an apartment in Rahway, NJ.

because it’s a 2 hour commute and i’m afraid of driving.

and then i have to commute to manhattan for work. i don’t view wanting to live closer to work as a rationale for manhattan being luxurious just because it’s manhattan when i live in a 500 square foot apartment.


I’ve been there many many many times. The whole place smells like urine. There’s trash bags virtually everywhere, every night. Most living spaces are very small. I don’t see the appeal.


Train runs right thru town. 40 mins to Penn Station. Nice an relaxing. Can even drink on the train (even tho I know you don’t drink much)