How many Americans with $1 million feel wealthy? Fewer than you may think.


Would having a $1 million make you feel rich? For most people, it's not enough.

Only 13% of Americans with at least $1 million investable assets feel wealthy, according to a new survey from Ameriprise Financial provided exclusively to USA TODAY. Six in 10 define themselves as upper middle class, while a quarter identify as middle class.

The vast majority of the millionaires who don't feel rich have between $1 million and $5 million in investable assets, including cash in checking or savings accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and money in retirement plans. Five percent have more than $5 million in assets.

"Why would this be the case for people who have reached some financial success?" says Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise.

The fear of running out of money in retirement and their reliance on their own savings - rather than Social Security and employer-funded pension during their golden years - make it harder for even well-positioned Americans to feel financially wealthy, she says.

The survey hinted at that uncertainty.

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All millionaires, no matter how they felt about their financial position, shared the same top financial priorities: To save for retirement and protect their accumulated wealth.

"If people are relying on the nest egg they have accumulated for the lions share of their retirement savings, the number may not feel as big," she says."There's also a tax bill on your 401(k) and IRA out there looming for you."

Who feels wealthy?

Millionaires who feel upper class or less are half as likely to be self-employed or a contractor than those who feel rich - 7% versus 16%. A smaller share (39%) completed graduate school compared to their "rich-feeling" counterparts (48%), according to the survey.

Twice as many employed millionaires who didn't feel affluent valued work-life balance versus their counterparts who felt wealthy - 21% to 10%. But larger shares of wealthy-feeling Americans preferred work that's purposeful and meaningful to society - 19% versus 9%.

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One reason why some millionaires may feel good about their finances and others still feel like they're lacking may be thorough planning, says Keckler, whose company, Ameriprise Financial, of course, provides financial advise and investment services.

Seven in 10 of those who felt wealthy had a detailed financial plan, versus only 55% for those who felt upper middle class or less.

Ameriprise Financial Modern Money surveyed more than 3,000 Americans ages 30 to 69 with at least $100,000 in investable assets. Equity in homes or other assets like jewelry or artwork were not counted.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is wealthy? It's not necessarily becoming a millionaire


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