18 Signs You’re No Longer Middle Class But Rich

We’ve all dreamt of being wealthy. While some have been raised with a silver spoon from birth, others are so accustomed to the middle class that they may not even know they’re already rich. If you’re getting this sort of nudge, here are 18 signs that tell where you’re at.

Earning At Least $407,500

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Let’s start with the clearer economic signs. Investopedia’s analysis of 2023 shows that the top 1% of American citizens make an average of $407,500 annually. This is for individuals, though, and when it comes to households, this number goes up to $591,550. Making these means you’re making at least 7 times more than the average person.

You Pay at Least 35% Tax

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Another direct indicator is the amount of tax you pay. If you’re having to deal with a 35% or 37% tax on your income (at least $105,664, as Nerdwallet shares), then you’re basically rich. It’s important to note, however, that the super-rich billionaires actually pay less tax than the average American due to very smart financial moves.

You Experience a Changing Mindset

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Now, for the less obvious signs. Many say wealth is in your mindset, and rightfully so. When you start making a lot of money or when you get accustomed to a high-class social environment, you start looking at opportunities differently. You look at money as a tool to create wealth, and you also use your networks for collaboration instead of competition, InsiderFinance explains.

A Passive Income Stream

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If you have more than one income stream, then you’re in society’s upper class. Of course, this income should be substantial and should also passively come from investments in businesses, stocks, or real estate. On the flip side, if you’re doing a second or even third job just to make ends meet, this isn’t passive or rich enough.

Having Long-Term Assets

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The rich usually have disposable income to spend on the luxuries they like and the endeavors that give them even more money. Having enough disposable income to lock into a high-ticket, long-term investment makes you one of the lucky few who can call themselves rich.

Money After Investments

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You’re also wealthy if, after investing in a $1 million property, you still have enough money to go on vacations and even stack up your retirement savings account. A lot of people are typically left with so little wiggle room after an investment like this that they have to reawaken the most frugal versions of themselves.

Owning a Mix of Assets

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Digging even further, the rich also have more than one asset they’re invested in. Rather than just having their money in a condo in Beverly Hills, they also have money in stocks, businesses, and maybe even Bitcoin. This is a way of diversifying portfolios and reducing investment risks.

A $2 Million Net Worth

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CNBC shares that “to feel wealthy, Americans say you need a net worth of at least $2.2 million on average.” Even if you don’t have an income stream that makes you feel rich, merely owning assets worth $2 million puts you among the wealthiest Americans today.

Paying Off a Mortgage Early

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Ramsey Solutions reports that the rich pay their mortgage after just 10 years, which is low when compared to the 15 years and even 30 years common with others. Yes, a lot of rich people pay for their homes in full. But they’re still advised to take a mortgage on them to enjoy greater financial flexibility.

You Live In an Expensive Neighborhood

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People who see golf courses, extravagant mansions, and exotic cars every time they go to the store are probably living in affluent neighborhoods. These are zip codes like Scarsdale, Bel Air, Loyola, and Beverly Hills that many can’t even pay rent in, and owning a home in one of these puts you among the wealthy.

Driving Expensive Cars

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We’re not talking about the $50,000 rides here—even though you may be rich and not want to spend too much. The clear signs of wealth are more apparent in the Aston Martins, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, McLarens, and luxurious Mercedes wagons, to name a few. If you own a $100,000 car, then it’s worth more than two times the average, as The Zebra shows.

Healthcare Costs Don’t Move You

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One of the most expensive necessities that comes with being American is healthcare. Many can’t pay tens of thousands of dollars for emergencies without insurance, while others can’t even afford insurance and rely on Medicaid. If these healthcare bills don’t faze you, then congratulations.

You Can Take Time Off Work

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Many can’t flex the luxury of being able to stop working without having to worry about income for three years or even three months. It’s either they get those hours in or they have to deal with unpaid bills and the landlady’s knocks at the door. For the wealthy, however, taking breaks is a lifestyle, and some may not need to work again in their lifetime.

Expensive Vacations

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If you can afford vacations to lush locations like Bora Bora, Monaco, or the Seychelles—and even stay in five-star hotels while you’re at it—you’re in the top one percent. Other people who can pay for vacations out of their income are typically stuck with options within the U.S. or less expensive locations in Europe.

Time Becomes Valuable

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One mindset you may have is holding time in higher esteem than money. You understand that time can make you money, but money cannot buy you time, so you put more effort into maximizing your use of time. The wealthy usually do this by looking for people to outsource work to, and if you find yourself making a ton of money by doing this, you’re already one of them.

You Can’t Qualify for Financial Aid

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Although there’s no exact cutoff to receive financial aid for college, people who are rich or from rich households typically find it difficult to qualify—and it’s not always about bad grades. Even if you get financial aid, you’ll also notice that it does not cover anything close to the full cost of tuition.

Going to Expensive Schools

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Now, it’s not just about being disqualified from financial aid or being able to easily afford college. You’re rich enough to go for the more expensive options like the University of Chicago, which can cost up to $80,000 per year. You may also look toward schools like the Harvey Mudd College in California or the Imperial College in London for more sophistication.

Owning a Black Credit Card

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The richer you are, the higher your credit limits, and the cards with the highest limits are usually colored black. American Express’s most luxurious card—which is the most exclusive in the world—is even nicknamed the “Black Card.” If you own other black cards like JP Morgan’s Palladium card or the Coutts World Silk card, then you’re wealthy, not just in America but across the globe.

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