Why Millionaires Consider Themselves "Middle To Upper Middle Class"

income graph

Photo: Source: Rachel Johnson, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy centre Microsimulation Model (version 0509-7). Note: Distribution excludes dependents and units with negative income

Like beautiful people who don’t think they’re pretty, many rich people don’t feel they’re wealthy. According to The New York Times, people in the top 10% of earners don’t feel like they’re making a lot.  Why? Because people who are richer than they are, like Bill Gates and Oprah, make their millions look like chump change. 

In other words, the difference in wealth between 100th percentile billionaires and 91st percentile millionaires is extraordinary.

The Tax Policy centre provided a chart of 2010 Income Percentiles to show the discrepancy (see top right).  “Those who aspire to hop from the 30th percentile to the 35th percentile would need in increase their cash income by $4,000 annually (or by about 17 per cent); those who aspire to hop from the 91st percentile to the 96th percentile would require an increase of $324,900 (or 171 per cent),” the Times writes.

They continue: “It is perhaps no wonder, then, that so many people who are statistically rich call themselves “upper middle” or even “middle class.” They are much, much richer than lots of poor people, but also much, much poorer than some very visibly rich people. From their perspective, they truly are in the middle.”

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