Most of us dream about what it would be like to have $1 million or more. You could retire early, buy a lovely beach house in the South of France and spend your life doing things you love. Or you could use that money to help your community grow or to provide humanitarian aid. The list of possibilities seems endless, but how do actual millionaires spend their money? These millionaire statistics have some answers.

Let’s take a look at how millionaires made their money and how they use it.

Key Findings:

  • 21,951,000 people in the U.S. have a net worth of $1 million or more. 
  • Among all states, New Jersey has the most millionaire households.
  • Only 3% of American millionaires received an inheritance of $1 million or above.
  • Real estate makes up about 40% of a typical millionaire’s net worth.
  • China, Japan, Germany, the U.K., France, and Australia added together have fewer millionaires than the U.S.
  • The typical American millionaire owns just one property (43%).

How Many Millionaires Are There in the US?

Data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report shows that in 2020 there were just under 30 million millionaires in the US.

The number of millionaires increased by over 3 million just from 2010 to 2020.[1]
Trusted source
Credit Suisse Research Institute
Credit Suisse Research Institute studies long-term economic trends with a global impact.

Is a Millionaire in the Top 1% of Americans by net worth?

Having a net worth of $1 million will not put you in the top 1%. You’ll need a minimum net worth of around $11.1 million to get into the 1% of Americans by wealth.[2]

Which State Has the Most Millionaires?

New Jersey has the highest rate of millionaires, with 9.76% of households showing a net worth of $1 million or above. That means that 246,058 New Jersey households are millionaires.[4]

How Millionaires Make, Grow, and Spend Their Money

Let’s take a look at how people got to become millionaires and how they choose to invest and spend their money.

How Many Millionaires Inherited Their Wealth?

21% of millionaires received some inheritance, but only 3% received an inheritance of $1 million or above. 79% of millionaires did not receive any inheritance from their family or relatives. 8 out of 10 millionaires come from low-income families.[3]

Percent of millionaires that inherited their wealth

Did Millionaires Get Rich Thanks to Their Income?

The majority of millionaires didn’t become wealthy because of their six-figure wages. In fact, 93% of millionaires polled by Ramsey Solutions claimed they did not become rich due to their salary but rather by working hard and avoiding debt. Only 31% of respondents surveyed had a $100,000 annual income at some time in their careers. One-third never made $100,000 a year at any point in their career.[3]
Trusted source
Ramsey Solutions
Ramsey Solutions, founded by personal finance personality and radio show host Dave Ramsey, is a media company offering financial education and guidance.

Percent of millionaires with six-figure income at some time in their careers

What Percentage of Millionaires Have Liquidity?

Only 27% of millionaires have liquidity. This makes perfect sense as millionaires invest in several categories of monetary and physical assets, such as stocks, mutual funds, retirement accounts, and real estate, to protect and grow their wealth.[5]

Percent of millionaires that have liquidity

What Are the Types of Investments Made by Millionaires?

40% of an average millionaire’s assets consist of real estate. That’s partly because real estate can be a great investment and partly because US property values are very high. Many millionaires have a significant percentage of their wealth tied up in their primary residence. In California, for example, the average home value is almost $800,000, which puts an average homeowner 80% of the way toward being a millionaire!

Corporate equities and mutual fund shares (40%) are another preferred investment.[6]

How Many Properties Does the Average American Millionaire Own?

Although many people imagine millionaires owning various properties, the average American millionaire prefers to own only one property (43%), with only 8.5% of the millionaire in the U.S owning four properties or more.[7]

Does the US Have the Most Millionaires?

Research done by the Credit Suisse Research Institute states that the country with the highest number of millionaires is the U.S., with nearly 30 million millionaires and 17 million people with wealth up to $5 million! To put numbers in perspective, China, Japan, Germany, the U.K., France, and Australia added together have a total of 17 million millionaires![1]
Trusted source
Credit Suisse Research Institute
Credit Suisse Research Institute studies long-term economic trends with a global impact.

Is a Millionaire Rich?

For most of us – especially those of us who aren’t millionaires – the word “millionaire” conjures up images of spectacular wealth. But is a millionaire really rich?

Most Americans don’t think so. The 2022 Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Survey found that Americans see a net worth of $2.2 million as the minimum to be considered “wealthy”, and that a net worth of $774,000 is needed to be “financially comfortable”.

Those figures get even higher in major urban areas.

Being a millionaire doesn’t necessarily mean you have a great deal of disposable wealth, especially if you live in a high-cost environment. If your net worth is primarily in your primary residence you could even be financially stressed despite being a millionaire, especially if your property taxes are high and your income is limited!

“Millionaire” is a convenient term to describe wealthy people, but wealth isn’t just about net worth, especially when inflation is high. Income, debt, and cost of living all make a difference in defining whether a person can be considered “rich”.

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