“What Does It Take To Be A Millionaire?”

Monday, 19 Sep 2011 | 5:27 AM ET

AP-CNBC Poll reveals that only 8% of Brits think they will become a millionaire

LONDON, 19 September 2011 - For most Brits becoming a millionaire is a ‘pipe dream’ according to a new AP-CNBC poll. Indeed, a massive 91% of people living in the UK say it is unlikely that they will hit the jackpot in the next ten years.

But as CNBC launches its "Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge" this won’t be the case for one lucky person. The ten-week, online fantasy stock and currency trading competition, which is open to permanent residents in the UK, US and Australia, will give away a grand prize of US $1 million. Details of the competition can be found at http://milliondollar.cnbc.com.

The poll shows that on average, UK residents believe they need £170,000 to finance their retirement, with 44% thinking that they can manage on £50,000 or less, which is significantly less than the other countries surveyed (see other international findings).

When asked what they would do with a million* if they won it, Brits would, on average, devote over a quarter (26%) to savings or investing, with a further 25% being shared with their family.

It seems the less you have, the more you share, with more lower-income families saying they would share more of their winnings with family, compared with those who are higher earners (29% vs 19%).

Eighteen percent would be spent on buying property, 16% on spending and only 5% used to paying down debts. Charitable giving fares well, with 10% going to charity.

Other findings of the AP-CNBC poll show:

  • Australians are the most optimistic about their chances of eventually becoming a millionaire. The survey asked people about a million pounds/dollars in their local currency. Twenty-nine percent say it’s likely they’ll become a millionaire in the next decade, compared with 21% in the U.S. and a scant 8% in the UK.
  • In the US, 44% of Americans believe they need a minimum savings of $250,000 or less (approx. £158,000), with an average of $480,000 (approx. £304,000). Twenty-two percent believe the minimum is $1 million or more to retire comfortably; this compares starkly with just 4% in the UK. Australians (29%) are the most apt to see a million dollars as the minimum amount a person would need to have saved. The average amount cited is AU$650,000 (approx. £426,000).
  • When respondents were asked how they would spend a million dollars,* on average, Americans would spend 31% on saving or investing, 17% on giving to family, 14% on spending, 13% on paying down debt, 12% on buying real estate and 11% on charitable donations. Australians would devote more than either of the other two nations surveyed to saving or investing (29%) and buying real estate (22%) combined. On average, they’d give 19% of the money to family; devote 12% to paying down debt, 11% on general spending and 8% given away to charity.

* The value of a million is not the same across these three areas. As of Friday, Sept. 16, US$1 million is the equivalent of about £633,000 and about AU$964,000. Going the other direction, £1 million equals about US$1.6 million and AU$1 million is the equivalent of US$1.04 million.

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