We asked 17 people on the street in New York City how much money it takes to be rich, and almost all of them said the same thing

Myelle Lansat/Business Insider29-year-old Iris Yao said health is an important aspect of what it means to be rich.
  • We asked 17 people in New York City what they think it means to be rich.
  • Some people said being rich is about having good health and feeling fulfilled, while others said it’s about being able to pay your bills without worrying.
  • What it comes to how much money you’d need in the bank to be considered rich, the answer was nearly unanimous: millions.

Being “rich” means something different depending on who you ask.

In today’s society, richness could mean financial abundance, good health, being surrounded by love, or doing something you love.

After asking people on the streets of New York City how they define being rich, we discovered that the answer can also change based on location and living situation – someone living in NYC will say something different than a Texan. But when it comes to how much money you’d need in the bank to be considered rich, the answer was nearly unanimous: millions.

And that’s not just the view of people in New York. The second annual 2018 Modern Wealth Index fromCharles Schwab surveyed 1,000 Americans about wealth. Respondents said it takes $US1.4 million in the bank to be financially comfortable; but to be considered wealthy, one would need $US2.4 million.

Between Trump’s trade war, rising FED interest rates, and talk of another economic depression, being rich and having money in the bank mean two different things to Americans, for the most part.

We spoke to 17 people around New York City to find out how they define being rich and how much they think a person needs in the bank to be considered rich.


Colleen Cain, 26

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderColleen lives in Texas and is a waitress at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

What do you think it means to be rich?

I think that it means to just have a lot of good people by your side and a lot of loving your life. Honestly that’s the best way to be rich, money is just an material thing, you know?

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

To be considered rich? Maybe a couple million.


Sherina Seale, 51

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderSherina lives in New York City and works for the police department.

What do you think it means to be rich?

Money can only buy material things. To be rich is more like your wealth, you’re healthy, that’s what I mean. You’re healthy, you’re happy within yourself and you’re just living life and making you happy, your family is well and you’re not sick, you know what I’m saying? Your health is great, that’s what being rich is about – rich in life, not the money.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

Money wise, to be rich, I would say … a good few thousand dollars, it doesn’t really have to go up in the millions because as long as you’re having enough in the bank to keep you happy, to pay your mortgage, and to pay your bills monthly, then you’re good. So it doesn’t have to be millions, it just has to be enough for you.


Adrian Amistad, 36

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderAdrian lives in Canada where he works on a car manufacturing plant line.

What do you think it means to be rich?

For me being rich is like, you need to work hard and make the most of it all so that you can achieve all your dreams and you can help your family, help the people who need your help, that’s it.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

I think millions to consider you are rich, like you have at least $US10 million or more.


Anthony Brazile, 58

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderAnthony lives in Nassau suburbs and is currently a temp.

What do you think it means to be rich?

To have more than you need.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

$US3 million.


Mike DeLuca, 35

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderMike lives in New York City and works for Ithaka.

What do you think it means to be rich?

I don’t know, richness actually feels like a much deeper question than that. I guess the answer is probably feeling fulfilled in life, feeling important and valuable in the world, knowing your place, affecting lives in a positive way, I mean that’s what richness feels like to me. If we’re talking about my wallet and pocketbook, I’ve never been rich and I imagine having billions of dollars would be pretty great but yeah, no. I guess fulfillment is just a deeper question than just money.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

Again, for me personally, enough to feel comfortable, enough to get by, to afford what I need and probably a little excess on top of that. If we want to talk about being rich in the bank; if you want me to give you a dollar amount I’ll say $US45 billion, is that an exceptional answer?


Leah Shanty-Zimm, 31

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderLeah lives in Jersey City and works for National Debt Relief.

What do you think it means to be rich?

That would depend if you’re talking about monetary richness or being rich in life. For me it would be about being rich in life, absolutely. About having the people you love, about feeling successful in what you feel, and feeling fulfilled as if you’re living a wholehearted life.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

To be considered rich these days? Probably at least half a million to $US1 million in the bank.


Charles Joseph Augustin, 21

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderCharles lives in Brooklyn and is an intern for a foundation center.

What do you think it means to be rich?

My definition of rich is the knowledge, the personality, the joy you have, and joy to spread with people, so that comes with wisdom and the people around you. If they feel like they’re gaining something just by simply by being with you, being in your company, so that’s one form of richness. Then there’s also financial richness where you just have a bunch of money to just spend to throw around, like Donald Trump. So that’s another type of richness. But I like the personality one. The you feel comfortable in your life and your life is filled with joy.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

I think about $US1 million, at least, is enough to be considered rich. If I had that right now that would be amazing, that would be great.


Shamalah Bennett, 38

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderShamalah lives in New York City and works for the state.

What do you think it means to be rich?

To be rich is to basically be financially stable where you can do pretty much anything and everything that you want and … just overall have access to assets and wealth.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

In today’s society I would say, more than millions. I mean not even; a million isn’t enough and it also depends on where you live too.


John Guerra, 49

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderJohn lives in Astoria, Queens and is in the ice cream business.

What do you think it means to be rich?

Being able to stay home everyday and doing whatever you want.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

Me? About $US25 million.


Iris Yao, 29

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderIris lives on Staten Island and recently quit her Telemark job.

What do you think it means to be rich?

Lots of money in my savings account. Besides the money in my savings account, my family, my friends, and maybe [being] healthy. Health is really important.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

It really depends I mean, maybe, at least $US1 million to $US2 million.


David Barnathin, 18

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderDavid lives in New York City and works for Blue Switch.

What do you think it means to be rich?

Whatever makes you happy I guess; until you feel happy with the amount of money you have.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

$US2 million – why not? You can buy a house and a car with that.


Elaine Millas, 20

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderElaine is from Cleveland, Ohio, and is a student at Goucher College.

What do you think it means to be rich?

My mother said that richness is about the people you surround yourself with and not necessarily about the classical definition of wealth and money, but who your friends are and just that kind of thing.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

I don’t know exactly a number but I guess enough so that you’re never really worried about anything and you can just go out to dinner every night. But I don’t have the financial literacy to know what that number is.


Joyce Ngo, 28

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderJoyce lives in New York City and works for Blue Switch.

What do you think it means to be rich?

That’s a good question – it means you have everything you need to be content. That’s what it means.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

That’s really abstract, I think you would need whatever you feel makes you feel rich.


Charlie Altuzarra, 24

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderCharlie lives in Los Angeles, California, and works for FTI Consulting.

What do you think it means to be rich?

I think it means different things to different people, but I would say it’s doing what you love to do everyday. I mean I think if you can get to a situation where you’re working on what you want to work on everyday – I think that is ultimately being rich.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

I’d say like, $US5 million, something like that.


Shauneen Cain, 57

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderShauneen lives in Texas and is a pharmacist for Kroger Pharmacy.

What do you think it means to be rich?

I think it means to be happy, healthy, surrounded by your loved ones, and maybe have a little money too.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

For me it would be, maybe, half a million.


William Trapani, 52

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderWilliam lives in New York City and works for Enterprise Engineering, Inc.

What do you think it means to be rich?

I think you should be able to buy whatever you like, you should be able to retire whenever you want, and you shouldn’t have an enormous amount of debt behind you.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

Probably $US2 million to $US3 million.


Takeisha Sinclair, 22

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderTakeisha lives in Queens and works as a paralegal for a law firm in New York City.

What do you think it means to be rich?

To be rich I would think it means more monetary, I would think in today’s word. But in my opinion… you can be rich in a lot of things but I feel like being rich in New York and just in today’s society, it just means that I have a lot of money and that’s just all there is to it.

How much money do you think you need in the bank to be considered rich?

I don’t even know, I’d say millions, not a set amount but millions, up there, hundreds of millions.

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