More, More, More! 72 Percent of Millionaires Say They Don’t Feel Wealthy

July 30, 2013  |  

While many determined Americans are vigorously scratching lottery tickets for a chance of living the rich millionaire life, a whopping 72 percent of those with $1 million and $5 million in assets say they don’t feel a wealthy at all, reports ABC News.

At first glance, this may just seem like the ugly side of human nature; although you may be blessed with much more than the average median household income, which is $51,500, greed keeps us unsatisfied. However, this new study, by the UBS investment firm, points to a new shift in the meaning of wealth. It’s not just about having an overflowing bank account; it’s about managing your assets in a rocky economic climate.

“Handling assets and understanding what they are is a skill very few people have,” David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning author of books concerning wealth, told ABC News. “To most people money is a stream and not a pool of assets.” And many millionaires are afraid they might lose it all.

Eighty percent of the millionaires in the study claimed that they are providing financial support for their adult children, grandchildren or aging parents. Long-term financial care for close family members is a top concern for wealthy investors. Like working-class citizens in America, they are also concerned about the unemployment plaguing the economy and possibly affecting their economic situation.

“These people have a lot of money,” said Cliff Goldstein, a personal finance associate at Nerd Wallet. “But the reason they don’t feel wealthy is because they don’t feel like they have a comprehensive plan in place to take care of all of these longer-term costs.”

Another reason why a large chunk of millionaires don’t feel rich could be the pressure to keep up with others in their wealthy circle. Wealth is largely relative. Having $5 million in New York City makes you feel poorer than if you had $5 million in Keokuk, Iowa. In New York, even with $5 million,“you’re surrounded by people who can buy and sell you in a two hours income,” compared to Iowa, Johnston added.

According to the study, most millionaires agree that the characteristic of being wealthy isn’t “never having to work again” (10 percent), or “surpassing a certain asset threshold”(16 percent), it’s not having to deal with any “financial constraints on activities,” more than half of respondents say. This means that wealthy investors don’t want to feel the pinch if they want to jet set to Maui, buy a 40-acre a summer home, or pay for their child’s education at NYU.

To feel any sense of wealth, more than $5 million in assets is needed. Sixty percent of those who make five percent of a $1 billion say they feel wealthy.

The study was an online survey that recruited 4,450 Americans over the age of 25 that own assets between $1 and $5 million.

What’s your take on this study?

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