Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Justin Fox

How to Get That Affluent Feeling

It's clear that many people still don't consider themselves well off even when making more money than the majority of their fellow Americans.
Weighing wealth.

Weighing wealth.

Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

People have strong opinions about what constitutes affluence. Last week I ventured that U.S. households with six-figure incomes generally make the cut, given that they make up the top quarter of the income distribution. I heard back from lots of readers who disagreed, and lots who agreed. It seems like a topic worthy of further consideration.

Obviously, where you live -- and how much housing costs there -- makes a huge difference in whether $100,000 a year feels like affluence or not. So do other factors such as your debt load, your assets, the size of your family and your age. Household income is a broad measure that misses a lot.