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Quit Whining, You're Still Rich

By Dian Vujovich

There’s no denying that between the big-time slides in the stock and real estate markets along with the recent investment scandals a lot of stuffing has been whipped out of many portfolios. Anyone who has lost 30, 40, 50 percent or more of their assets isn’t happy. But are they broke? Hardly.

Step out of your world for a moment, look at the big picture and what you’ll see is that while people are uncertain about the future, the vast majority of the working are still working and have an income; the retired still retired. In both categories, while their nest eggs and portfolios aren’t what they used to be, they aren’t at zero either. Half of $25 million, for instance, is over $12 million. That’s doable and will even grow— provided it’s invested wisely.

A year ago, the Millionaire Corner published the results of a survey they’d taken. They asked a number of affluent households, i.e., those with investable assets of $500,000 or more, how much money it would take to be considered rich. Forty-five percent answered at least $5 million; 25 percent thought $25 million; and eight percent figure $100 million.

As we all know, and don’t need a survey to tell us, having $1 million doesn’t hold the rich cache—or promise for a comfortable financial future— it once did. That said, it’s still not chicken feed.

Last March, Barron’s ran a story about the amount of money it would take to be considered rich (link).

Anyone with a net worth of $25 million to $50 million— were considered “Beer & Pretzels rich.” Those would be the folks who aren’t likely to run out of money and living the good life. There were 125,000 households that fell into that category, based upon 2006 figures from Northern Trust and Federal Reserve statistics.

Have between $50 million and $500 million and you’d be considered a “Wine & Cheese” millionaire. That meant you’ve probably stopped flying commercial and considered being a serious philanthropist. Forty-nine thousand U.S. households fell into that select group.

The really really fat cats were the “Caviar & Champagne” millionaires. They numbered 1,400 and had $500 million or more. That’s enough money to do whatever again and again and again.

I don’t know what category your portfolio puts you in this year, but if it’s in any of those for god’s sake, stop whining. Count your blessings and good fortune.

After all, it’s not the amount of money that someone has that makes him or her truly rich. It’s the examples they set, what’s in their hearts and the compassion they have for others.

Funny, those with few or no assets generally know that. Looks like the poor really are the rich.

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