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Mass Affluent
American Middle Class

Are You Rich or Mass Affluent

The estimated reading time for this post is 297 seconds

Wealth is often used to describe people with a lot of money. However, there are different levels of wealth, and it’s important to understand the differences between them. 

Two terms that are often used interchangeably are “rich” and “mass affluent.” While both groups have a lot of money, they have some key differences.

What is Mass Affluent?

Mass Affluent refers to individuals who have a high net worth but not quite as high as ultra-high-net-worth individuals. According to a report by The Economist, mass affluent individuals are those with liquid assets of between $100,000 and $1 million, excluding their primary residence.

This is a large range, and the specific definition may vary depending on the source. However, the general idea is that mass affluent individuals have significant financial resources but not enough to be considered ultra-rich.

Characteristics of the Mass Affluent

The characteristics of the mass affluent vary, but there are some commonalities among this group. First and foremost, mass affluent individuals typically have a high income. 

According to a report by Spectrem Group, the median income for mass affluent households in the United States was $180,000 in 2020. This means that these individuals have a significant amount of disposable income, which they can use to invest, save, or spend on luxury items.

Another characteristic of the mass affluent is that they are often highly educated. According to a report by Phoenix Marketing International, 72% of mass affluent individuals in the United States have at least a bachelor’s degree. This means that they have the knowledge and skills to manage their finances effectively, which can help them grow their wealth over time.

In addition, the mass affluent tend to be middle-aged or older. This is because they have had time to accumulate wealth over the course of their careers. According to a report by The Economist, the average age of a mass affluent individual is 57 years old.

How Does the Mass Affluent Differ from High Net Worth?

While mass affluent individuals are considered wealthy, they are not as wealthy as high-net-worth individuals. High-net-worth individuals, also known as HNWIs, are those with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding their primary residence. This means that HNWIs have significantly more wealth than mass affluent individuals.

The main difference between mass affluent and high-net-worth individuals is the amount of investable assets they have. While mass affluent individuals may have significant liquid assets, high-net-worth individuals have even more. This means that high-net-worth individuals have access to investment opportunities that are not available to the mass affluent.

In addition, high-net-worth individuals often have a more complex financial situation than the mass affluent. They may have multiple businesses, properties, and other assets, which can make managing their finances more challenging. As a result, high-net-worth individuals often work with financial advisors and other professionals to help them manage their wealth.

Tips for Building Wealth and Being Mass Affluent

If you want to build wealth and become part of the mass affluent, there are several tips you can follow. Here are a few:

  1. Invest in Your Career: One of the most important things you can do to build wealth is to invest in your career. This means pursuing education and training that will help you advance in your field. The more valuable your skills are, the higher your income potential will be.
  2. Live Below Your Means: Another key to building wealth is to live below your means. This means spending less than you earn and avoiding debt as much as possible. By doing this, you can save money and invest it in assets that will grow over time.
  3. Diversify Your Investments: If you want to grow your wealth, it’s important to diversify your investments. This means investing in a variety of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and alternative investments. By diversifying your portfolio, you can minimize your risk and maximize your returns.
  1. Work with a Financial Advisor: If you’re serious about building wealth, it’s a good idea to work with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive financial plan and make investment decisions that are aligned with your goals and risk tolerance.
  2. Take Advantage of Tax-Advantaged Accounts: There are several tax-advantaged accounts that can help you save money on taxes and build wealth over time. Examples include 401(k)s, IRAs, and HSAs. By contributing to these accounts, you can reduce your tax bill and grow your savings at the same time.

Alternative Solutions or Perspectives

While the tips listed above can be helpful for building wealth and becoming part of the mass affluent, it’s important to note that there are alternative solutions or perspectives. 

For example, some people argue that it’s more important to focus on living a fulfilling life than on accumulating wealth. This may mean prioritizing experiences over material possessions and finding joy in the simple things in life.

In addition, there are alternative investment strategies that may be more appropriate for certain individuals. For example, some people may choose to invest in socially responsible funds that align with their values, even if the returns are lower than traditional investments.


In conclusion, there are significant differences between being rich and being mass affluent. Mass affluent individuals have significant financial resources, but not enough to be considered ultra-rich. 

They tend to be highly educated, middle-aged, and have a high income. While mass affluent individuals have significant liquid assets, high-net-worth individuals have even more and often have a more complex financial situation.

If you want to become part of the mass affluent, there are several tips you can follow, including investing in your career, living below your means, diversifying your investments, working with a financial advisor, and taking advantage of tax-advantaged accounts. 

However, it’s important to remember that there are alternative solutions and perspectives, and it’s up to each individual to determine what is most important to them in terms of wealth and fulfillment.

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