Millionaires today tend to be far more in the mold of The Millionaire Next Door than The Great Gatsby. That's because a million-dollar net worth is far more common than it's ever been before. In 2013, there were a record 9.63 million American millionaires, including 1.24 million households that were sporting a net worth above $5 million, according to the Spectrem Group.
If you're already a millionaire (or you plan on becoming one someday!) and you want to know how you stack up to your peers, read on to find out what the average net worth is among millionaires and what characteristics millionaires share.
Every few years the New York Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances that offers up insight into the financial health of Americans.
The Fed's most recent survey shows that the top 10% of Americans have a median and average net worth (assets minus liabilities) of $1.87 million and $4.03 million, respectively.
That's a lot of money, but remember that the $4.03 million average net worth is skewed higher by the richest of the rich. Because the multibillion-dollar net worth of Americans like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett inflate the average net worth, it might be more useful to focus on the $1.87 million median figure for comparison. After all, that amount reflects the exact midpoint net worth of American millionaires.
Behind the numbers
Digging deeper into the figures shows that there are some interesting characteristics that millionaires share, including a high income and a tendency to lead, rather than to follow.
Those who are among the nation's top 10% income earners boast a median net worth of $1.13 million, and that's more than three times larger than people in the 80% to 89.9% percentile.
Additionally, Americans working in managerial or professional occupations boast an average net worth of $1.06 million, and that's far north of the roughly $269,000 net worth for people working in technical, sales, or services jobs.
Millionaires also tend to be older, so they've benefited from years of saving and earning compound interest, and they own homes, rather than rent. Interestingly, the average net worth of Americans who own a home is more than 10 times larger than the net worth of those who don't.
A college degree and an entrepreneurial streak also pays off.
The median net worth of someone with a college degree is 4.67 times bigger than someone who completed some college, but didn't get a degree, and the average net worth for a college graduate is $1.03 million. Meanwhile, the average net worth of someone who is self-employed is a show-stopping $2.167 million.
Tying it together
Based on the survey's results, if you're in your prime working years and want to give your net worth a booster shot, it might be time to ask for a raise or a promotion, study for a graduate degree, or take the leap into self-employment. Older Americans may find that working until they're 70 when they can receive the most from Social Security or consulting in retirement can increase their net worth, too. Regardless, investing in yourself and your potential would seem to be the key to an envy-inspiring net worth.
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