On Being Rich, the 10% Problem.

Right now, between prosperity gospel and the Micheal Keatonesque GOP Regressive greed of wannabe Gordon Geckos and the edge of the next big thing, there are a great many people who want to be Rich.

They want the bling and the bam, the life of the hip hop mogul and sports star, the one’ of a kind car and the yachty yacht scene.

Most will settle for just being a Rich.

But what is Rich?

Rich is when you reside in the top 10% of the income and assets range.

In global terms, the median range for Americans — roughly 54,000 with perhaps as much in assets in 2017 — is rich.

In terms of the US, the point at which one enters Rich is when you have a net worth of 1.4 million dollars and an income of $170,000.00.

That is a kind of median for the US. In places like NYC or SF, it is higher, in places like Mobile Alabama or Little Rock, Arkansas it will be lower.

The people in that range do not feel rich. They don’t think of themselves as rich. A waitress barely clearing 24,000 a year does not feel as if she is rich compared to a woman doing the same job in Nairobi. They will tell you about their costs, their needs, their expenses, their struggles. They will resent you for calling them rich.

The people with double what they have will feel and say and behave the same way. Indeed, to sorta break through that barrier of denial and resentment, you have to get to the ten times level. The ones who earn 1.7 million a year and have a net worth of 14 million. Numbers that push where you look from the 10% to the 1%.

And yet, the whole thing about being rich isn’t subjective. The 90 to 99% folks may not like it, but they are rich by the objective measure of such. They are in the top ten percent, which has always been the cut off point.

But it is important to note that you cannot be rich without assets. That net worth thing. Maybe it is a house you have mostly paid off. Perhaps it is in stocks and bonds and bitcoin and other securities. Gotta have them.

You can have just assets and not be rich. Living costs money, and every trust fund baby knows that when the fund runs out, ya gotta earn a keep. Even if that trust fund is huge.

Right up until you hit that 1% mark.

That 1% Mark, btw, is at 8.4 million in net worth and right around 400,000 a year.

Variations on that are possible, of course.

Perhaps the key variation, though, is where you are. This is where a cost of living index comes in handy. One that places the median above at 100 and then tells you if an area is above, below, or at that point. Like this one, from bestplaces.net, comparing Phoenix, AZ to NYC.

Which basically triples everything (including assets) to be in the same sort of place.

A salary of $170,000 in Phoenix, Arizona should increase to $307,847 in New York, New York

Cost of Living Indexes


New York






















100=national average

Now, that might not excite you. But if, like me, you are trying to speak to the folks who enable the constant force of the 1%, you need to know who they are, and that the rich in NYC have “different numbers” than the rich in Abilene.

Because if you don’t think about that, you might think that person who is in NYC earning the median for entry into the 1% is a part of them, and they aren’t.

So, while being rich is objectively determined, it is also relative to where one is.

Note that every member of Congress is in the 1%.

Every single one. Even if their assets don’t rise to that level, because they have the assets of their offices. Which you pay for.

And realize there is something wrong with that. Truly.

But what might make them vote themselves a pay cut?