The Dimensions of Wealth


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When you think “wealthy”, what comes to mind?

Do you think, Warren Buffet-type rich?

Do you think retiree-type rich?

Or, do you think of someone in between?

I guess the point I’m getting to is that there are many levels, or degrees to wealth.

How many?

Well, I’ve been studying the rich since 2004 and according to all of the data I’ve accumulated on the wealthy, here’s my educated assessment of the various dimensions of wealth:

Uber Wealthy – Over $100 Million

The self-made people in this category got there one of three ways, according to my research:

  1. They Created Something the Masses of People Wanted or Needed – These would be the Entrepreneurs who pursued some dream represented by a product or service that they believed would be of value to many people. .
  2. They Were Corporate CEOs – These are the CEOs of major publicly-held corporations who received the lion’s share of their income from stock-based compensation.
  3. They Are the Top of Their Field – They are world-class professional athletes, actors, musicians, software engineers, entrepreneurs, etc. They have a well-known brand and their herd of customers or clients is numbered in the millions.

The Uber-Wealthy can afford to live in the world’s most affluent communities. They can afford very expensive Country Clubs. They can buy yachts, airplanes and beach-front homes. They can fly to Paris on a whim. They can hire people to run their businesses.

Their passive income (income from existing investments) generates more annual income then they spend in a year supporting their lifestyle. They use their passive income to take significant financial risks, without batting an eye, as such losses would not affect future passive income streams.

Near-Uber Wealthy – $50 – $100 Million

Their story is very much like that of the Uber-Wealthy. They do have certain limitations, however, that limits the scope of their spending.

Their toys are similar, albeit, watered-down versions of the Uber-Wealthy.

They have to be more circumspect when taking financial risks, as their passive income is limited due to they scope of the wealth they’ve accumulated. Any investment of their principal (their core wealth which generates their passive income), as opposed to their passive income, must be scrupulously analyzed, as a loss of that principal could impair the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to.

They are, therefore, equally interested in strategies that help them grow and preserve their wealth.

Respectably Wealthy – $10 – $49 Million

These millionaires made their money one of three ways:

  1. Stock Compensation – They were senior executives who worked for publicly-help corporations and received the bulk of their wealth in the form of stock compensation. It took them about twenty years to accumulate their wealth.
  2. Virtuosos – They have certain unique skills or knowledge that sets them apart from everyone else. People are happy to pay them a premium for their exceptional services or products.
  3. Dreamers – These are entrepreneurs who pursued some dream and succeeded. They could be highly successful small business owners, but most are mid-sized business owners who make millions a year in income.

These millionaires can afford maybe one expensive toy and live in the most affluent communities. They may have two or three homes in different well-heeled places.

They are cautious with their investing – they cannot afford to take significant risks with their wealth. They can travel pretty much where they want, so long as they continue to preserve the wealth they’ve accumulated.

Borderline to Moderately Wealthy – $2 – $9 Million

They made their money in a similar fashion as the Respectably Wealthy, with one additional wealth type – the Saver/Investors.

The Saver/Investors are in the Borderline Wealthy category. They managed to live off of 80% or less of their income and over the course of 32 years or more, they saved and prudently invested their savings.

This joint category of millionaires are the bell-curve – they represent 95% of all of the “wealthy” who exist in the world. And they also happen to be the category of millionaires who were the primary focus of my Rich Habits Study.

They may have a second home, a vacation home. They may belong to a local Country Club. They can afford leisure travel a few times a year. They are cautious with their wealth, focused more on preserving it than growing it.

I’m not sure the purpose of this post, other than to better define what wealth truly means. As you can see, wealth is not one thing. It is many things, with numerous dimensions.

My mission is to share my unique research in order to help others realize their dreams and achieve their goals. If you find value in these articles, please share them with your inner circle and encourage them to Subscribe. Thank You!

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Tom which wealth dimension do you fall under?

    • Borderline but moving into Moderately Wealthy. I was raised in a family with many Poor Money Habits. I dug myself quite a hole until 2009, when I began adopting some of the Rich Habits (Live off 80% Net, Dream-Setting, Rich Relationship Building, Daily Aerobic Exercise, Daily Self-improvement Reading, Avoid Toxic Relationships and Create Multiple Streams of Income). At the time I became my own guinea pig (2009), I was $1.6 million in debt with a negative Net Worth and with only source of income. I am relieved to report that my debt is now down to less than $500K and my income has tripled (about $300K now). My last Personal Financial Statement (2018) had my Net Worth at just over $3 mill, mostly due to the growth of my three businesses. For me, the Rich Habits that had the best ROI = #1 Dream-Setting and #2 Create Multiple Income Streams.

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