Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What is considered "rich"?

I read with interest an article at MSN entitled, "Are you rich? Here's how to tell." The so-called "rich" live mainly on the coasts:

By Obama's definition of rich, the top 20% of households in San Jose, Calif., San Francisco and Washington, D.C., would be targeted for higher taxes. But in 32 other cities with a lower cost of living, households in the same upper quintile would qualify for tax breaks, because they earn less than $200,000, Obama's cutoff point. In six remaining cities, average incomes for the top 20% are between $200,000 and $250,000; these households, Obama says, would see neither a tax cut nor a tax increase.

I don't think living in these places qualifies one as "rich" on $250,000. As the article points out, a family of four would need $718,989 to be classified as "rich" in NYC. I used to know lawyers and other professionals when I lived in Manhattan who made $100,000 or more in the 1980's. None of them was living all that well. They mainly had a one bedroom apartment with no doorman and could go buy beer as they pleased. Doesn't seem all that rich to me. You can do that in Knoxville on $30,000 a year easy. What do you think, is $250,000 rich?


Blogger KG2V said...

I know over here in NYC (Not Manhattan, but Queens), 200k for a family of 4 doesn't go that far - watch your budget, pinch your pennies, and every other year, you might get to go away for a 6 night domestic vacation

9:14 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger uncle ken said...

'Rich" can be thought of as having more assets than expenses. Being rich is more an indication of successfully managing one's life than any particular income level. There is nothing evil inherent in an abundant life.

Using the term "rich" to denote those making more than $200,000 PA is playing the wealth envy game. It comes from the same mentality as The Big Lie: there is a only fixed amount of money and therefor those who are rich are responsible for other's poverty, whether nations or individuals.

Doesn't work that way. There is no "pie" to carve a piece of. Your being wealthy does not keep me poor. The corollary is also true: Making the rich poor will never make the poor rich.

Just my $0.02 worth :-) uk

9:19 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger flambeaux said...

I will make a little over $200k this year to support my family of 5. I would say that that makes me solidly middle class. I live about ~20 miles from Manhattan. I cannot afford to buy a house on my salary, but it does allow my wife to stay home with the kids. But I would say that in terms of material things I had a much better lifestyle when I made ~$90k out in the midwest.

My main problem is taxes. I am right in the federal government's wheel house because I make enough that most of the Bush tax credits are phased out. I cannot contribute to a Roth IRA account either. My pay stub tells me that thus far I have paid about $60k in income/SS/Medicare taxes. Our local sales tax rate is around 8%, and there are numerous tolls to be paid just to get around.

Needless to say, I will be looking for an opportune moment to escape from this workers' paradise.

9:20 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

In the greater (?) Maysville, KY area, $250,000 annual income would definitely make you "rich." There would be only a few houses, etc. you couldn't afford. You pretty much have to buy a farm to pay over $300,000 for a place to live.

In Cincinnati, 60 miles away, $250,000 per year would be upper middle class and you'll get half the house for the same amount of money. Plus, you get traffic jams, higher taxes, etc.

9:53 AM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even in Knoxvegas, if you're making 30K a year, you'd have to be paying on a mortgage that is at least 20 years old to have a payment low enough to afford beer at your leisure.

10:35 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Brett Rogers said...

Defining "rich" in terms of income and not in terms of assets is silly. In fact, I could argue that it is a mirage to protect the wealth of those who have it.

They say that if you want to change society, you start by re-engineering its words... I'm sure that "rich" is only one word getting its revision. What other words are undergoing cosmetic surgery these days?

10:38 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger javadoug said...

I'm rich

I feel rich, or enriched, with this bounty of chestnuts! Even though I make a moderate middle class income, less than $100K per year, I feel rich! It is a subjective thing. Don't get me wrong, I support the FairTax, and do not believe in Obama's socialism. It's just that I feel rich. But that feeling would certainly subside if the socialism expands and ruins what's left of our grand capitalist economy.

Every year we collect chestnuts from trees at Northmoreland park. My daughter just loves to do this with me. We each get a bag, and try to fill them up. It's a fun contest to see who can gain the most. And of course there is sometimes a little cheating, one of us will steal a few nuts from the other's bag. Money can't buy this kind of fun :)
I truly am blessed and enriched :-))

These are chestnuts from Chinese Chestnut trees, which are smaller than American Chestnut trees in height and breadth. The American Chestnut tree has suffered a huge decline because of a blight brought in 100 years ago with the introduction of the later. Hardly any really big American species are left, although there still are quite a few small saplings that can try to resist the blight. If the American Chestnut Foundation succeeds in restoring the American Chestnut, I will feel richer still!

10:43 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

...mirage to protect the wealth of those who have it.

Your meaning escapes me.

10:49 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger smitty1e said...

Why should we let the Fed fret "rich"?
Repeal the 16th Amendment, say I.

11:07 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:31 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Heather said...

I like a friend's definition. You’re rich if you have enough money that you don’t want to take a government handout. In other words, if you’re happy with your life and think you can take care of yourself without the governments help, you have too much money.

11:31 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

I am rich in that I live the greatest nation on Earth, bar none.

I am rich because while I earn less than $100K, the taxes I pay (local, state & federal) leave me precious little as a single-income earner for a fam of 4.

And I will be considered rich if the Bush tax cuts are left to expire, as every tax payer in the US will have their taxes increase.

11:31 AM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging from the head lines on the Drudge report, the extreme left libs are a bit pissed at the big "O" for not being as far to the left (at this time, anyway) as he campaigned he would be.

You just can't trust those politicians.

11:33 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Brett Rogers said...


My meaning is that those most wealthy in America, speaking purely in terms of assets, don't have their assets taxed. By framing taxation of the rich in terms of income, those assets are protected.

I would love to see a chart that shows the asset-based wealth of those in Congress and their income and taxation and juxtapose that against the proposed taxation of $250,000 income earners, such as those who have commented here. My bet is that slightly upper-middle class folks pay a higher percentage of their wealth in taxes compared to those in Congress, and that by structuring it in that way, Congress protects its own wealth.

11:36 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I define "rich" as this: $35 million liquid. If you have that kind of money, you're rich.

As for myself, well, I made about $75,000 last year. But then the condo I live in is paid for, the truck I drive is paid for, I don't carry credit card debt, so my living expenses were minimal. Not to mention that my family owns the company I work for, so my net worth is much higher than my income statement.

To me, it's not about being "rich" or having a million dollars. It's about being financially independent. By any stretch of the imagination, a debt slave is not rich. But a free man with a modest income is.

By the way, according to the Millionaire Next Door, the average income of most millionaires--that would be those whose net worth is over $1 million--in this country is around $60,000 a year. Their worth is in their assets and investments (mostly in their own businesses), but their lifestyles are modest.

If that's rich, I'll take it over being a broke, over-leveraged poser any day.

11:50 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger ak said...

I work in book publishing, where most salaries are somewhere in between "McDonald's employee" and "part-time grade school substitute teacher." So $250,000 sounds great to me. In my area, that would get me an Arts & Crafts bungalow and a healthy savings account, which are the only things I really hanker for anyway.

11:51 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Wayne said...

The situation on the other side of KY from DADvocate is similar to his description. I bought two acres and a decent house on my salary, which is only about a fifth of that $250k. If I were pulling down even $100k, I would have been able to buy the entire 60 acre hillside that my two acres were separated from to make the parcel my house sits on.

11:57 AM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I don;'t believe Obama used the word rich but rather those making over a certain amount. Of course the cost of living is higher in some places than in others, but for the federal govt to tax the people, they can not go state by state and city by city to determine cost of living etc...that would create...the very large govt you object to. It costs more for me where ai live in my state than it does in other places within myh state...Should that also be considered, ie, you live in North Jersey and commute to NY, so your cost is not has high as living in Manhattan...why complicate what is already complicated...or are we just trying to take yet another poke at the Obama plan?

12:20 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Mike said...

In the metro DC area, $250K a year, if well spent, would qualify you pretty quickly as upper-middle class. If you live in the suburbs, you could easily afford to buy a nice house on that income. It wouldn't make you rich, but it would put you very high up there in the middle class at the very least. In fact, you could easily own a very respectable townhouse in cash with that income with 6-7 years here.

12:27 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Todd said...

Rich is whatever Obama needs to call it in order to take in the money the government wants. Today that is over $250K but by the end of next year? Who knows. It could be $120K or even less.

12:55 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger flambeaux said...

"why complicate what is already complicated...or are we just trying to take yet another poke at the Obama plan?"

I want to complicate it because it is a complicated subject. Obama and ilk like to throw numbers like 250k around because in Peoria that sounds like a king's ransom. Midwesterners might be fine setting the cutoff at that level because you can live a very upper middle class lifestyle on 250k/yr in the heartland. Meanwhile, up here in the northeast, our cost of living is probably 2x what the folk in the middle of the country pay. So we get squeezed again.

My problem with Obama's plan is that it is dishonest. He calls for a "tax cut" for the low income people who qualify for the refundable tax credits already pay little to nothing or even get a check in the mail (no, not a refund for overpayment). If we're "all in this together", how is it right that almost half the population do not pay taxes over and above the payroll taxes? (which are to support programs which will ultimately benefit them disproportionately anyway).

You have the half of the people who don't pay to support government voting to constantly increase its size and power, and then the rest of us who do pay under a greater burden every year. As the old saying goes, democracy always turns into 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

1:09 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger uncle ken said...

The old saying continues...

""Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
Benjamin Franklin

1:26 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Brett - Your point is probably very true. The Kennedys would be a good example.

1:39 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


"or are we just trying to take yet another poke at the Obama plan?"

Look, the campaign is over. The trolls that were dispatched to argue on blogs that didn't bow to Obamamania are no longer needed. I know your life is sad and empty without the election and your trolling to keep you busy, but you surely can find other hobbies to satisfy the emptiness.

1:44 PM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why so vicious, Helen ("your life is sad and empty" ... etc.)?

He seems like a sincere person who just made a point that you disagree with.

On edge because your lunch ticket, I mean husband, may have less net income for you to spend after taxes?

Or is your underwear just too tight?

1:52 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Brett Rogers said...


I've heard the argument made that everyone should participate in taxation so that it is unpalatable to everyone equally. The example given is the poor... there is a fairly large percentage of the poor who pay nothing in net taxes.

Is the same true of those "rich" in assets? And is that why the proposed tax plans for those earning more than $250,000 per year doesn't really sour the rich on our president-elect? Because their "income" is such a small part of their wealth that it makes the tax negligible for them?

If "spreading the wealth" is on the table, let's not restrict it to "spreading the income." Then we might actually have some agitation among those who support plans to redistribute. Who knows - they might even think private property is worth protecting again!

2:13 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

Sure $250,000 is rich. If you're not happy with your spending power, save up and then move.

I know quite a few couples who went from CA to MN. With the thousands they were paid and saved, they had a very nice downpayment on some MN land. And since they were educated, they could relocate and still work (though at lesser than CA salary, due to the lower cost of living.)

Work and Save! Where there's a will, there's a way. And if you're not happy where you are at, move! We have so many options, of course sitting around complaining and being unhappy is one too...

2:21 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

Warning: generic "you" ahead...

And if you were making $100,000 in NY in the 80s, and all you could think to spend it on was a doorman and beer, well heck, that's what you get for not enriching your life with a good solid liberal arts education! Lots of better things that 100K could have been spent on -- or saved! -- to better enrich one's life, no?

2:23 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

I am fabulously rich. I have a great marriage, wonderful kids, and some really cool friends.


2:40 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Tether wrote: "He seems like a sincere person who just made a point that you disagree with."

You are new.

I can say that because those of us who have been here for awhile have lived with nathan and his posts and know what to expect.

But you are new, so you wouldn't know that.

Unless you are Nathan that is.



2:45 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger flambeaux said...

I am working and saving Mary. I have no debt. As I said I do not own a home. And I will eventually move someplace where I'm not subject to so much tax. But $250k income is not rich where I live. It is a comfortable living, but it's not like I am jetting off on vacation all the time (never, much to my wife's chagrin). As Brett says, income is not the same as wealth.

2:53 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Mister Wolf said...

Boy, this entire place is a mess...

So instead of replying to any one person, I shall use a more generic response.

I believe that when everyone is taxed at a lower rate that not only are the people, in general, are richer...but the government would get more tax revenue and there will be more jobs. Why? Because of the Laffer Curve(which I believe we are on the right side of the curve). Also, on defining rich by location...my father(an economist/corporate exec with extensive demographic knowledge) could probably be able to do it for all large urban areas in a single day. Of course the government would require two dozen people to do the same job.

3:00 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger vivictius said...

I've noticed with the democrats I am always poor when they want a vote but rich when it comes to paying taxes or actually getting anything for my tax dollars.

On the plus side, being a single engineer, my income is more then a bit higher then my expenses.

3:05 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

Rich is having enough assets and savings to not have to work while maintaining a life style most people would consider desirable.

More specifically, if you having enough that don't have to work, can afford a 2000 square foot house in a nice neighborhood, can afford to buy a new car every three years and could vacation four times a year to an exotic locale, you're rich.

Even more specifically, a person with $2 million in interest bearing assets is rich (not super-rich, but rich.)

My concern with using tax brackets is those who have wildly cyclical income. Or have worked for many years below pay grade and are now being rewarded.

3:55 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

Why so vicious, Tether?

4:01 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

Work and Save!

Yes, but why? you are aware that there will, at some point in 2009 a home owner bailout will be put forth and passed.

I have been working and saving. And paying taxes. And I guaran-damn-tee you that I will not be eligible for that bailout. But I'm sure I'll help foot the bill for it.

When you reward foolish behaviour by protecting those who engaged in said behaviour from the harsh consequences of that behaviour, all you're doing is insuring that the foolish behaviour will continue. Another couple of years, they'll be back with their hand out again. Nothing will have substantially changed.

Unfortunately, at some point the chickens will come home to roooooooooooost. China and the OPEC countries will stop lending the US money because they won't believe we'll be able to pay it back.

The bailouts to this point comes to a staggering 7+ trillion dollars. If bailout after bailout is allowed to continue, working and saving is a fool's errand.

4:27 PM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roman Wolf:

I would say this blog is no more a "mess" than the cost of living in various places around the country.

It varies that much. A house purchased 20 years ago for 60K has a 450 a month payment and is close to being paid off. That same house on the market today would sell for 300K and have a 1200 to 1800 a month payment - if not more. My income has doubled in 20 years, but housing has risen 4 fold.

Between barber shops and motherf******, I'm having a good time today, though. Give the dems enough rope.........

4:31 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Alex said...

Why so vicious, Tether?
4:01 PM, December 09, 2008

A Nathan sock puppet?

4:32 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

My life is anything but empty and if the election is indeed over then why not note and keep tabs of all the silly things being said about Obama?

If I take a position that is not in keeping with those commenting here, then is dismissing and dissing me a mature way to respond rather than arguing about what I might say?

In Calif, those living in S.F. need lots of money to get by; in the rural areas of N. Ca, much less. But taxers are based on stated figures and do not consider cost of living. That is reality. So the figure of 250, 000 may not be the same for all people, finally, but it is a figure arrived at in the Obama tax plan. Warren Buffett, no mean slouch when in comes to income, noted on TV that he gets away with lots of money under current (Bush) plan, and that the lady that cleans his office pays a greater share of her income than he does.
is a troll someone who does not agree with you?

6:40 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger Alex said...

Nathan - I hope you enjoy living in Californiastan with your socialist economy. That one-party rule sure is working isn't it?

6:43 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger . said...

"Rich" as we think of it is merely an adjective to describe one person's financial position as opposed to another's.

It is kinda like being asked, "Do you spend much time reading blogs on the internet?"

"Define much," is the proper reply.

To a ten year old relying on the Bank of Mom and Dad for money, his 15 year old big brother flipping Rotten Ronnie burgers is "rich."

If the fit hits the shan during this economic crisis and the world's fiat money systems go to zero, someone holding 50 gold coins will very likely be considered "rich" because he may very well become the richest man on the block. Someone with a paid off house but zero income will also be considered "rich" compared to those living in Obamavilles.

My parents are "rich" compared to me, but Warren Buffet wipes his ass with the paltry assets of my parents.

Trying to declare who is rich and who is not is akin to the Marxist crap-talk used in sexual harassment definitions: "That which would make a reasonable woman uncomfortable." (Define reasonable, and then define uncomfortable... and then really pull your thinking cap on tight and define "reasonable woman.")

As for me, I am not "rich" but I hope to soon be "rich."

I have always dreamed of having my own little hobby farm. I have spent my entire thirties wheeling and dealing, and jockeying around with my assets that I created from sub-average paying jobs. I have now created quite a pretty little nest egg that delivers me a modest income, and I have a good chunk of "wealth" (not money) insulated from the economy and its shenanigan rulers, waiting to be deployed... with itchy trigger fingers...

I seen an 80 acre property with a year round creek and an old but liveable mobile home (needed work) that was foreclosed and sold for a mere $85,000. Yo! Too bad I missed that one! But there will be more.

If the government would get out of the damn way and let the market correct itself properly, I will find myself my farm. A better house I can build later. (Stack-block/passive solar and highly energy efficient).

Once I have my farm, then I will be "rich."

I live in Canada where we pay 47% of our income in taxes, and it infuriates me to no end.

So, when I buy $1,000 worth of beef over the course of a year with my take home pay, I am actually paying $2,000 of real wealth.

But, a cow that I have on my little farm, well, I don't have to give the government 47% of my beef that I butchered. If I have 5 cows and one bull, they also aren't going to tax me on the 5 calves that are born in the spring either - they only tax me when I convert it into cash. (A friend of mine who also bought a small farm, worked for another farmer for a few months and got paid only in cows - to start his own herd - something I heartily endorse).

Yup, cows, chickens, a horse or two (screw the expensive tractor - its not gonna be a big farm), a big garden, a root cellar... a watermill on the creek for energy, heat from the woodstove... all things I can do myself and create real wealth without having the government stick its grubby little fingers into, and redistribute to other little grubby fingered fellow citizens...

Most everyone I know eats food... and most everyone I know pays for it. I could easily generate a good $750/month in extra income via family and friends if I played my cards right, to supliment my current investment income. That could easily total up to the equivalent net take home pay of a meager $30,000/yr job. (Gee, think of all the social programs I could qualify for! Why, I might even get some of the money BACK that they stole from me, if I wanted to be a jerk).

Yeah, it's not a lot of money at all - but, with no mortage, no food bills...

What's the big deal to get a low-stress part-time job at a gas station if one needs a little extra beer money? For all that matters, why not spend $200 on materials and set up a Ruckus Juice stand on the property, and quit buying booze altogether?

Want something expensive? Get a good paying job for 6 months, buy your trinket, and quit.

I want to buy a property and spend my energy building a home that becomes a place of economic production, the way things used to be - once upon a time, in the foggy past.

A comfortable home and a full belly of food I would derive satisfaction from creating, that would be "rich" to me. The ability to control one's own time and direct it at one's own interests (like writing) is "rich" to me.

Once I realized that it is too toxic to marry in the West, all of my desire for money, cars and trinkets has disappeared. Those are just tools to get women. Don't want to get women? Don't need the tools to get them - that is also "rich."

Now, if the government would just get the hell out of the way and stop stealing the wealth of those who have been prudent, sold their houses before the crash, erased all of their debts, and manouvered themselves to be able to capitalize on the rules of the game which they set forth (before they willy-nilly changed them at the last minute)...

I am forty in a year and a half and if I can spend the second half of life according to my rules...

Then I will be rich.

7:39 PM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:02 PM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:04 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger . said...

Lol! Tether, dollars to donuts says you're still lurking.

Poking fun of people's looks is the sign of an extremely small mind.

I have never seen anyone here trying to court Dr. H, and she simply looks like a human being to me. Holy strawman argument.

I'll never forget the resentment I felt towards women who ridiculed me for my thinning hair when I was younger... and now that I am older and bolder about it, (and zipped it all off) they like me for it... but, I'll never forget the resentment I felt towards the asshats who tried to belittle me for, well, me.

I don't care what you think. People like you are asshats for attacking and belittling people's natural life process. And that has nothing to do with being a mangina. That has to do with the recollections of how much I wished that those people who attacked & belittled me on similar basis's as yours... well, those people are still on my shit list, even though I am 1000% more confident today than I was those years ago.

Btw, it wasn't all women who launched attacks against my looks when I was younger, either. Many a vain man took glee in trying to knock me down without justification as well. I notice a lot of those guys are now wearing hats everyday... and I am not nice to them about it.

11:45 PM, December 09, 2008  
Blogger ak said...

"And she isn't even as good-looking as that old black-and-white picture, although that's something that doesn't really matter here and something I shouldn't say."

Oh, but you managed to say it, twice, didn't you? Over the Internet, right, tough guy?

11:52 PM, December 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tether, you may not have much respect for a PhD. in psychology, but it's a cinch your ass is pegged by anyone who has one.

6:00 AM, December 10, 2008  
Blogger Doom said...

I do not believe those who actually need to work for a living can be rich, per se. If they are earning a lot or little, but could quit and go back to their estate(s) with no negligible difference in a lavish lifestyle, they are rich. But most of those are so incurable tax free, and the left knows it, that they will not be touched. Ask any Kennedy.

Then again, I do not believe in more than minor taxes, which should lead to greater representation. As is, the poorest pay a higher share through various and sundry user taxes, purchase taxes, property taxes, and such (per income) and receive less representation for that. The proposal by the left is to increase those taxes while decreasing the representation from those paying.

What can be expected of such people though.

7:01 AM, December 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tether, you may not have much respect for a PhD. in psychology, but it's a cinch your ass is pegged by anyone who has one."


I don't know exactly what that means (although it sounds vaguely threatening), but a Ph.D. in psychology is apparently WHERE IT'S AT, brother.

P.S. Frankly, I agreed with most of those opinions, including the one about the laughable disparity between a Ph.D. in physics and one in psychology. Except for experimental psychology (statistical observations) and maybe some cognitive behavior stuff (which can be learned in a few days), psychology is utter crap and psychologists are arrogant pretenders.

10:54 AM, December 10, 2008  
Blogger Kim du Toit said...

"Rich" is a geographically-dependent term, anyway.

A salary of $45,000 a year is almost below the PDL in Manhattan, but a respectable salary in, say, Biloxi MS.

And any attempt by politicians to define "rich" is simply a way to identify those who can be fleeced the most or the easiest.

And, of course, there are a million different (and subjective) definitions, from "Anyone who has more money than I have" to "Someone who has never had to work for a living" to "One who has assets / net worth in excess of their debt by [fill in the amount]".

The proper question, Dr. Helen, if I may be so bold, is: "When would you consider yourself rich?"

I would consider myself rich if I owned outright a primary residence in the U.S., a secondary residence in [somewhere outside the U.S.] and a means to travel between the two whenever I felt like it.

Others may vary; your mileage may differ.

1:00 PM, December 10, 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Rich is a relative term. The question is what you feel like you want and need.

I like a term like financial independence, but again it is relative.

For me being rich is the ability to own a nice house, drive a decent car, enjoy a nice meal and travel without having to worry about money.

1:49 PM, December 10, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, love the handle. You certainly do make yourself one.

2:37 PM, December 10, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jack -- well said, beat me to the punch. That's why debates on who is "rich" can go around in circles till the sun goes dim; there's no fixed metric by which one can conclude "ah, I'm (you're) now rich."

Financial independence is a much better metric, but again, that too is relative. The point at which one becomes financially independent is a function of the sort of lifestyle you want to lead; if you want to live in a luxury pad overlooking Central Park, "financially independent" looks a lot different than a cozy 4br/3ba in the northeast burbs of Atlanta.

A good working definition of rich: do Democrats turn up their noses at you and want to raise your taxes? ;)

9:08 AM, December 12, 2008  
Blogger Steve said...

There's an old saying that goes, "Rich people have cash - Wealthy people have cash flow." As has happened repeatedly in history, a person can become rich literally overnight (i.e., inheritance, lottery), but succomb to not knowing what to do with the money. Eventually, they find they have none of it left. Whilst, a financially astute person can make wealth with nothing by purchasing assets that create a stream of income.

But what IS rich, really? Is it a standard, hard-coded figure (like $1,000,000)? Or is it relative?

Kiyosaki uses a simple formula to define "financial independence" (which could correlate to being "rich", or better, being "wealthy"):

P > E

Where P=Passive Income and E=Expenses. We all have expenses, but "Passive Income" is income received from not using your personal resources (per se) to derive income. Such as royalties from a book, income from OWNING a business (not working FOR the business), and rental income from real estate owned.

9:38 AM, December 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:54 AM, December 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that I spend hours a day of anxiety-ridden calculations as to whether I'm rich and a real man. And all of the other stuff that society and women demand of me.

2:54 PM, December 12, 2008  
Blogger smitty1e said...

Hence the value of a spiritual baseline for life accomplishment, as opposed to fretting about these crappy mortal standards.

5:46 PM, December 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Frankly, I agreed with most of those opinions, including the one about the laughable disparity between a Ph.D. in physics and one in psychology. Except for experimental psychology (statistical observations) and maybe some cognitive behavior stuff (which can be learned in a few days), psychology is utter crap and psychologists are arrogant pretenders."


There are some areas in modern society that prey upon people's wishes and desires.

Broad areas of psychology constitute one such area. Another area is financial advice on investing - lots of people who DON'T TRADE THEMSELVES are cleaning up by providing books, tapes and seminars on "technical analysis" and the like.

It's kind of like a degree program that was ACTUALLY offered around 400 years ago at a University in Amsterdam on Alchemy. That's right, no one had REALLY turned lead into gold, but people WANTED to be able to do that, so there was actually a series of courses on it. Just like today, when someone is selling stock market advice on short-term trading. Or someone is charging lots and lots per hour to investigate your deep soul via "analysis" or talk therapy.

Psychologists are NOT big on objective tests of their theories. But a few tests have been done - Rorschach tests are particularly stupid, with results no greater than chance.

I have a great deal more to say, but it's not going to fit in one post. It would be nice if Helen would provide an entire thread on this subject - given that it's one of the stated areas of the message board - but I have a suspicion that she wouldn't really like to face it (given her stated occupation).

9:42 PM, December 12, 2008  
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