We showed an infographic about the rich families in the U.S. Now we will briefly describe some of the observations:
To begin, there are three distinct levels of affluence by investable assets:
- Affluent: $1 million to $5 million, with median just under $1.5 million
- Super affluent: $5 million to $25 million, with median just over $7.5 million
- Ultra affluent: $25 million or more, with median nearly $64 million
Real Estate's Importance
In general, the real estate slice is a relatively small portion of the overall net worth of the super affluent and ultra affluent. For the affluent, real estate represents a much bigger portion of their individual wealth.
Baby Boomers and Older Dominate
In all three categories, baby boomers (born in 1946 through 1964) and those who are older than boomers dominate. In the affluent category, more than nine out of 10 are are 50 or older. Relatively few members of any category are of Generation X (born from the mid-1960s to early 1980s) and even fewer are millennials (or Gen Y), those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
More Are Married
The affluent are more likely to be married than the less well off. Nearly three-quarters of those in the affluent category are married, as are about 80% in the super affluent and ultra affluent categories. By contrast, 56.4% of all people 18 or older in the U.S. are married, according to U.S. Census data.
Multiple Generations in the Home
This may be a surprise - affluent households are also more likely to have multiple generations in the home. Among the affluent, 43.9% have two generations at home, while 14.1% have three. And the super affluent and ultra affluent are even more likely to have multiple generations in their households; one in five of ultra affluent households contains three generations.
In contrast, Census data from 2011 said that just 5.6% of all U.S. households had three or more generations.
No surprise here - business ownership is an important source of wealth for many affluent families. Approximately one-third of the affluent, three-quarters of the super affluent and nine out of 10 of the ultra affluent own businesses.
But the size of those businesses varies greatly. With median annual revenue of just over $750,000, the businesses owned by those in the affluent category are small businesses. The story is very different in the super affluent and ultra affluent categories. With median annual revenue of more than $22 million for the super affluent and more than $371 million for the ultra affluent, these companies tend to be fully established, have access to capital to fund growth, benefit from professional management and have long-term succession plans.