You can feel rich on almost any income. You may feel rich in relationships if you have very strong ties, or rich in experiences if you spend a lot of time traveling and trying new things. 

But if you had to identify the salary it would take to feel rich, though, it’s probably significantly more than you currently make.

Americans say they would need to earn $483,000, on average, to feel rich or achieve financial freedom, according to a recent Bankrate survey. That’s over eight times the national median income of about $57,200, according to Labor Department data.

It’s also a cool $250,000 more than the salary folks say would make them feel financially secure, according to the same survey.

Gen X needs the biggest salary to feel rich

The fact is, you might not know how expensive life can get — and thus how much money you’ll need to navigate it comfortably, much less luxuriously — until you’re a bit older.

That may help explain why the youngest adult generation, Gen Z, names the smallest salary that would make them feel rich. Those currently aged 18 to 25 said, on average, a $382,000 salary would make them feel like they’ve achieved financial freedom.

The other generations say these salaries qualify as rich:

  • Millennials: $444,000
  • Gen X: $575,000
  • Boomers: $521,000

Members of Gen X would need the biggest salary to feel rich, Bankrate found. Although Gen Xers are currently among the highest-earning workers, the 43- to 58-year-olds are saddled with more credit card and other personal debt than any other adult generation.

Plus, many are part of the “sandwich generation,” which means they’re balancing raising their own children with supporting their parents or other older relatives while trying to achieve financial goals like saving enough for retirement.

A ‘rich’ salary may be a moving target

Feeling rich is about more than ‘how much we have in the bank’

Ramit Sethi: Avoid these 3 toxic money beliefs to build wealth


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