GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Here's a question for you, are you rich?
Very few people “think” they are, but some new numbers may challenge your perception of wealth.
When you hear the words rich or wealthy, what comes to mind?
Million-dollar yachts? Private jets? Your own island?
It's easy to see what mega-rich looks like, the billionaires of the world, but what about the "regular" rich people?
The ones who can afford a nice car, a million dollar house, stuff like that... how much do they make?
Turns out it's a lot less than you'd think.
GoBanking Rates, a personal finance website, surveyed 5,000 Americans, asking them how much do you need make to be rich?
The average Minnesotan said it would take a million dollars a year, but what does “rich” actually mean?
It’s a word that’s difficult to define.
If you define rich as being in the top 5% of income earners, here in Minnesota your household income needs to be over $218,000 a year.
Top 20-percent? $118,000.
That may be the real rich, not the million dollars-a-year many Minnesotans expected, but why don't we see it that way?
"If you said to these people, ‘you're rich.’ They’d go no I'm not, I'm middle class," Augsburg economics professor Jeanne Boeh says.
We as Americans often talk about the class system, we measure ourselves by being in the lower, middle or upper class.
But the guidelines for each class are fuzzy at best.
"People overestimate how much money other people actually have. They overestimate what the income distribution is, they overestimate how much savings they have, they overestimate all of that," Boeh says.
Boeh says it's basic human nature that when it comes to money, there's never enough. We always need more.
A lot of that has to do with the rich and famous, celebrities, athletes and actors, who make millions and distort our view of what it means to be rich, Boeh says.
And TV families that show a "normal" American family isn't exactly normal.
"Starting with the Brady Bunch, and the Cosby family, all those TV families. Those people were really, really, wealthy and they were portrayed as like the family next door. That's not the family next door,” Boeh says.
It all makes us think we're doing worse financially than we actually are.
It's why people worry about money, get depressed about money, and why families fight.
But when you look at the actual numbers, if you make $34,000 a year, the average wage here in Minnesota, worldwide you're in the top 1%, according to the Global Rich List.
That's right, 99% of the world makes less than you do.
"We tend to forget really just how wealthy we are as a country. Just in terms of happiness, if you thought about how much you had versus how much you had versus how little you had, you would be happier," Boeh says.
Of course, the cost of living does factor into all of this and it's hard to make ends meet in Minnesota on $34,000 a year.
This story doesn't aim to discount that, but only aims to get people thinking.