Schwab Modern Wealth Study on American Financial Sentiment

Logica Research conducted the 2019 Charles Schwab’s Modern Wealth Index study and looked at how much money Americans think is enough to be ‘financially comfortable’. The research was covered in Marketwatch and on CNBC. 

 

American’s Modern Wealth

What do Americans consider “wealthy”? According to Charles Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth Survey, it would take a net worth of $2.27 million for most to consider themselves wealthy. Just to define this further, “net worth means assets minus liabilities, so this is a picture of your total savings, including the value of your home, 401(k) and any other assets you may have, minus any debt.”
At the end of 2019, there were 11.8 million U.S. households with a net worth of at least $1 million (Spectrem Group). This is less than 10% of our population, so less than 10% of American households qualify as “comfortable” as defined in the Modern Wealth Study.
 

How People Spend

Why are so few American households considered wealthy? In the Schwab study, we asked survey respondents what they would do if they suddenly came into a $1 million windfall. Their responses shed light on why perhaps so few of us attain a status of what we consider “wealthy”:
    • 54% Spend it
    • 28% Pay off debt
    • 23% Invest it
    • 21% Save it
    • 7% Donate it

Modern Wealth by Generation

How does this look from a generational standpoint? The Marketwatch article states that for millennials, they spend more time surfing their social-media accounts than older generations and this could contribute to their financial troubles. “Social media has become the millennials’ financial Achilles Heel,” Kelly LaVigne, vice president of Consumer Insights for Allianz Life, said regarding a survey released last year.

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