Millionaires No Longer Feel Wealthy

A new study by Fidelity Investments finds that millionaires don’t feel wealthy anymore, largely because of the global financial crisis.

The study, an online poll of more than 1,000 people with investible assets of at least $1 million, excluding workplace retirement accounts and any real-estate holdings), found that 46% of millionaires didn’t feel wealthy. That is a huge jump from last year, when only 19% of millionaires said they didn’t feel wealthy.

Why, at a time when most people feel lucky to have a job, would millionaires feel unwealthy?

Mainly it reflects their investment losses. More than 40% said the reason they no longer felt wealthy was because of stock-market losses. The millionaires reported an average household income drop of 19%, along with investment losses of 19% and real-estate losses of 28%.

Not surprisingly, wealthier millionaires felt, well, more wealthy. Those with at least $1.8 million in investible assets were more inclined to call themselves wealthy.

Asked what made them feel wealthy, most said to ‘live within means with little or no debt and with spending under control.’

‘While many millionaires recognize they are doing better than the average investor, last year’s market volatility and loss of assets have forced them to reassess what the term ‘wealthy’ means to them,’ said Gail Graham, executive vice president of Fidelity Investments.

What do you think, is feeling ‘wealthy’ based more on your own gains and losses than on the finances of those around you?

Robert Frank

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