How much money it takes to be considered rich

To feel financially comfortable in the United States requires $1.4 million (R20 million), according to a recent survey of 1,000 people by banking and brokerage firm Charles Schwab.

Moreover, the net amount needed to feel wealthy is an average of $2.4 million (R35 million).

A number of respondents (18%) defined wealth as being able to afford anything they desired, while 17% cited wealth as being in a “loving relationships with family and friends”.

The survey asked people to choose which of the below statements came closest to their definition of wealth:

When asked what makes a rich daily life, majority of respondents cited ‘spending time with family’ as the most rewarding element.

Owning a home featured prominently in terms of material elements, as did entertainment in the form of a Netflix or music streaming subscription.

Nearly half of (49%) of respondents said that saving and investing is the key to wealth, with another 40% choosing ‘hard work’. One in 10 people cited luck.

For wealth researchers, the world’s richest are labelled ‘high net-worth individuals‘ (HNWIs), and the barrier for entry into that elite group is $1 million – which equates to around R14 million at current rates.

This measure of net wealth is also one of the metrics used by South Africa’s big banks when they look at taking on ‘rich’ clients.

The table below outlines the various requirements needed to access private banking in South Africa, as well as an average value based on the numbers.

Bank Annual salary needed Monthly salary needed Investable assets
FNB Private Wealth R1 500 000 R125 000 R15 million
Nedbank Private Wealth R1 500 000 R125 000 R5 million
Standard Bank Signature R1 100 000 R92 000
Investec Private Bank R800 000 R66 700 R20 million
Absa Exceller R750 000 R62 500
Average R1 130 000 R94 100 R13 million

Taking the above into consideration, the value to be considered a HNWI in South Africa is more or less on par with the $1 million used by researchers, in that the average ‘rich’ person who qualifies for private banking, would either have a monthly salary of R94,000 a month – or net assets worth R13 million.

The highest wealth tax bracket in South Africa is 45% of taxable income for earners above R1.5 million annually.

Career site emolument.com conducted a poll among 1,555 professionals in which it asked: How much do you need to feel wealthy?

Country Annual income above which most professionals feel wealthy –

  • UK £370,000 (R6.8 million)
  • US £370,000 (R6.8 million)
  • France £310,000 (R5.7 million)
  • Switzerland £208,000 (R3.8 million)
  • Singapore £149,000 (R5.7 million)
  • UAE £139,000 (R2.6 million)
  • Italy £113,000 (R2.1 million)
  • India £25,000 (R462,000)

Read: Here are 23 of the richest people in South Africa

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How much money it takes to be considered rich