Personal Finance

It takes $2 million to be considered wealthy amid Covid-19

Key Points
  • Americans are rethinking how much it takes to be wealthy and financially comfortable amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The bar  to be considered wealthy has been lowered to $2 million average net worth, down 23% from January.
  • Meanwhile, Americans are socking away more money for emergencies.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

Covid-19 has upended much of U.S. society. And it's changing how Americans think about money.

A survey from money manager Charles Schwab finds their new mantra could very well be, "Less is more."

When it comes to how much it takes to be considered wealthy, Americans now say it's an average net worth of $2 million to achieve that status, down 23% from $2.6 million in January.

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Americans also have a changing view of what it means to be financially comfortable. When asked how much they would need to be comfortable now, respondents said an average of $655,000 in net worth. That's down 30% from an average of $934,000 cited in January.

The results come as a majority of people — 57% — said they or a family member has been financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Millennials are the cohort most likely to feel the stress of the downturn, with 41% indicating they or a family member has been affected financially. Baby boomers, in contrast, were least affected.

Coronavirus crisis is causing financial stress for nearly 9 in 10 Americans

Overall, Americans said they are more likely to save, with 40% indicating they are more likely to put aside money now than before the pandemic. Meanwhile, 36% said they are more likely to have savings to cover emergency expenses.

At the same time, Americans are also more likely to invest, with 19% saying they are more likely to invest in stocks now and 22% said they may start investing at this time.

Overall, the definition of what it takes to be happy has stayed the same as before the pandemic, the survey found. The key to being happy is relationships, according to 39% of respondents; followed by health, with 27%; money, 17%; lifestyle, 14%; and career, 3%.

The online survey included 1,000 Americans ages 21 to 75. It was conducted in two phases in January and June of this year.

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