The ‘middle-class millionaire’

The ‘middle-class millionaire’

Those with net worth of $1 million to $10 million reshape U.S. culture
By Thomas Kostigen, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:31 p.m. EST March 5, 2008

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Those with a net worth of
between $1 million and $10 million — that they have earned rather than
inherited — are being dubbed "middle-class millionaires," a group that
has grown on the heels of the economic boom over the past couple

Middle-class millionaires now account for 10% of the
U.S. population, according Russ Alan Prince and Lewis Schiff, who
coined the term for research purposes and a new book by that name. They
studied almost 4,000 households to better understand attitudes, values
and purchasing patterns.
Their findings include:

  • 7.6%
    of American households, or 8.4 million households are middle-class millionaires
  • The average middle-class millionaire works 70 hours per week
  • Middle-class millionaires are five times more likely than the average
    worker to say they are always available for work

  • 89%
    believes that anyone can attain wealth through hard work

  • 62%
    believes that networking, or knowing many people, is the key to financial success
  • Nine out of 10 middle-class millionaires say they made a bad career or
    business move, but almost three-fourths say that was crucial to their
    business success
  • They are five
    times more likely than the average middle-class person to continue on
    in the same business course in spite an earlier failure
  • 65% of
    middle-class millionaires characterize their approach to negotiating as
    "doing whatever you need to do to win"
  • They say they need a net worth of $24 million to feel wealthy, and $13.4 million to be considered rich.
Prince and Schiff also found that almost half of middle-class
millionaires believe a child’s academic achievements reflect one’s
success as a parent. Seventy-five percent of this group chose their
home because of its school system. And only 14% of them trust the
This separates
middle-class millionaires from the middle class in general: Only 16% of
middle-class households were ready to put their own reputation on the
lines when it comes to their kids’ academic record, according to Prince
and Schiff. More than half of middle-class households chose their homes
because it was close to work. And an almost equal amount believes the
government has their back, Prince and Schiff say.
The differences may be
stark, but Prince and Schiff see that changing. They describe
middle-class millionaires as "the rise of the new rich and how they are
changing America." The changes they see are evident in four areas: hard
work, networking, persistence and financial self-interest.
Trickle-down effect
These traits may differ from those in the middle class but their
offspring, in the form of goods and services, are making their way
"From life coaches to
luxury vacation rentals, concierge medical care to high dollar prep
course into the Ivy League [these things] are making their way
downstream, steadily becoming available to a much broader population,"
Prince and Schiff say. "What was once the province of only the super
rich is now being created and packaged for the ‘downline’ population or
for those with fewer zeros in their net worth, but similar
Collectively, the
authors say, middle-class millionaires are influencing, advocating and
reshaping the social, cultural and commercial landscape of our world.
It’s a whole new level of keeping up with the Joneses.
Take the OnStar navigation system. It began as an emergency road
service for high-end luxury vehicles. Now it’s even offered on midrange
trucks. Similar trends are occurring in real estate, vacations, airline
travel and other services.

We may have to begin adding some new class structures in America. Otherwise we may all soon belong to the same one


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