Most people want to be wealthy so they don’t have to worry about money. But what would it take to actually achieve that goal in America?
According to the 2022 Schwab Modern Wealth survey, the magic number is $2.2 million. This is up from $1.9 million, which is the average net worth Americans indicated would make someone wealthy in 2021. However, it is down from the $2.6 million people said was necessary near the beginning of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
If you assume the survey respondents are right and a $2.2 million net worth is needed to be wealthy, the big question is: What would it take to amass so much, and is this number within reach?
How to grow your net worth to $2.2 million
Since this $2.2 million number referred to average net worth, the collective value of all of your assets minus all of your debts would have to be at this level.
Your assets could include your investments, but also your homes and vehicles and other personal property. However, if you had a mortgage or a car loan, you would need to subtract all of those debts, so you would need to clear $2.2 million after repaying all you owe.
This would mean someone with a $2.5 million house but a $2 million mortgage would need assets valued at an additional $1.7 million to have enough money to be considered wealthy.
Is becoming wealthy within reach?
Amassing a $2.2 million net worth isn’t easy, which isn’t surprising. Most people are not wealthy, so it’s understandable that it would be difficult to have enough money to be classified that way.
But that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. If you invest wisely, begin investing early in your life, and make a reasonable amount of income so you can set some aside, it should be possible to amass a $2.2 million net worth. The trick is to know how much you would need to save and what your investment returns would need to be in order to end up with enough.
There are calculators on Investor.gov that can help you figure that out. To take a simple example, say you own $500,000 in other assets free-and-clear (including your home and other property). You’d need another $1.7 million saved. If you started investing at age 30 and wanted to be considered wealthy by age 60, you would need to invest around $862 per month to achieve this target if you earned 10% average annual returns. That’s doable if you have a household income of around $68,960 and you save 15% of your income.
Remember, though, that beyond investing, you’ll also want to focus on paying off your mortgage, acquiring other assets that grow your net worth, and keeping your debt to a minimum, because these factors also affect your ability to acquire the $2.2 million net worth needed to be rich.
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