We know that the older you are, the higher you set the bar for what it takes to be considered wealthy. But an even bigger influence on that number can be where you live. Being wealthy in Denver doesn’t mean nearly the same thing as being wealthy in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York City.
People living in the San Francisco Bay Area—or trying to, anyway—have the loftiest definition of what net worth you need to be rich in their city; an average of $4 million, according to a report published by Charles Schwab. And if you narrow that down just to the baby boomers surveyed (ages 55 to 73), the average jumps to $5.1 million. The percentage of homes worth at least $1 million in S.F. is a shockingly-high 81%.
The Schwab survey is a national sample of 1,000 respondents between the ages of 21 and 75; for city results, Schwab surveyed between about 500 and 700 people in each location.
East Coast boomers in New York and Washington D.C., meanwhile, said it would take $3.6 million to be thought of as wealthy in their cities. The percentage of homes worth $1 million or more in N.Y and D.C. was 10.3% and 4.9%, respectively.
Away from the coasts, Denver had the lowest average dollar figure ($2 million) for what it would take to be thought of as wealthy. It scored high on another measure—the percentage of people who said that feeling personally wealthy is more about how they live their lives than about a dollar amount. More than 75% of people surveyed in Denver agreed with that, compared with 66% for L.A., which had the lowest percentage of contentedness among the cities surveyed.
And when asked what they would do with a $1-million windfall, the cities with the highest percentages of people saying they’d plow it into real estate were Houston (40%), Boston (36%) and L.A. (35.2%).