The 9 levels of wealth – from rich to ultra-rich

Yeah, I think there should be an “or equivalent” there. Because if you have three houses, you’re not doing all the cleaning and maintenance for them. You’re definitely hiring people who, in total, probably amount to more than one FTE’s worth of paid help.


They rule kingdoms for centuries but we only read books about the few weeks around when they get defeated?


Ah. Where I thought you were going with your look down the ladder, instead of up, was to say that a zoom outward reveals that compared to much or most of the world, most people in “developed” countries are “rich.” Few people in the world can afford most of what most of “us” can afford.

Maybe when looked at in a broader context, the peole in all 9 of Mark’s categories are “ultra rich.”


This is definitely idiosyncratic, but to me there’s also a difference between rich (where you can do the things people with money do, like go on fancy vacations, fly business or private, drive nice cars, etc.), and wealthy (you do all those same things, but don’t have to work anymore to do them).


Is Class 2 also the same as “you eat at restaurants that don’t have prices on the menu”?

if there’s no price on the menu, you either have enough money that it doesn’t matter or you are about to have a ~Surprise~.

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I can imagine it. I haven’t been there, but I can imagine it. I have been at the level of buying store brand everything and buying lots of cheap packaged food that’s horrible for you because it was all I could afford, and I have been at the level of being able to buy healthier options and name brands and higher quality items without worrying about paying my rent/mortgage. So I can extrapolate from those two points and imagine the higher level where I wouldn’t even pay attention to the prices.

The thing is with groceries, once you get to the level of not paying attention to the prices, you’re probably still not paying an order of magnitude more for groceries than someone near the poverty line. Yeah, you probably buy a lot more ribeye, and a lot less 70% lean ground beef, but you’re going to be buying about the same amount of groceries. So once you’re in the top 1 or 2 percent, your grocery budget is statistical noise.


I haven’t paid attention to the price of groceries since my kids moved out. Cooking for two adults seems cheap compared to cooking for two adults and three teenagers!


I know a couple with three houses (in California!). They do not employ a full time person for anything, though I think they hire cleaners. One of their places is listed in Airbnb, which is how they cover that mortgage. I’m confident they couldn’t afford to hire someone full time to do anything, nor do they need to.

People who own multiple homes have them in different cities, so it doesn’t make sense to have full time staff unless you have crazy amounts of money and you can drag that person around with you, or one of the places needs year round care.

We have a house near us that is owned by a couple who spend a few months a year there. They pay the next door neighbor to help keep an eye on it and take care of things. That’s probably about two hours off his week. The funny part is he co-owns a second house with a family member, and they pay a neighbor there to do the same thing.



That’s why multiple homes is level 4 and having a personal chef or other full time staff is level 5.

It implies crazy amounts of money.


What level is “The law doesn’t apply to you because fines are nothing?”


We retired fairly comfortably a few years ago but after a lifetime of practice I get just as annoyed by an overly inflated price at the store, or deceptive packaging as I did when I was scrounging for a few bucks in college. It has to be easier to fit this scale if you were born into wealth instead of to a family of Great Depression surviviors.


I have a similar reaction to seeing very expensive but poorly constructed clothing. So many seamstresses in my family earned (and saved) money by making most wardrobe items. The Depression era canning and preserving ended with them, but not the frugality and communal survival skills. :+1:t4:


And you no longer pay attention to the cost of lawyers.


Rich people who choose to stay rich actively pay attention to prices. It’s why a lot of them seem to be cheap. Really wealthy people have people on staff to worry about prices: servants who do the grocery shopping, house and business managers to look over the bills, etc.

Personal flying style and frequency is a better gauge of things. Always flying business class is a good starting point for being considered wealthy.

There are actual levels of classification used in the financial services industry: High Net Worth Individual (HNWI – investable assets over $1-million excluding primary home); Very High Net Worth Individual (VHNWI – $5-million plus); and Ultra High Net Worth Individual (UHNWI – $30-million plus).

Once you’re into HNWI territory the government also categorises you as an accredited investor, meaning you can invest in riskier and higher reward vehicles unavailable to those with less to risk. There are also qualified investors and qualified purchasers.

However one classifies being wealthy, one thing is the same for most people:



I stopped darning socks in my 30’s, because by that time 1) they were so cheap and uniform they were easier to replace, and 2) it wasn’t worth taking the time as there were so many other possibilities instead. (TV, internet, etc.)

But I still refuse to buy clothing with rips, no/poor hems, or mismatched seams. Among other things, it pretty much guarantees that it was made by a child or otherwise abused worker.


I like this sheet. I have more of a division of wealth that depends on "would your month/year/life change with a sudden windfall (tax-free) of a sum of money ranging from $1000 to $100 million. How your family’s month/year/life changes with this windfall would indicate the “level of wealth” in which your you reside. I also tend to look at wealth from a familial/generational level rather than an individual level.

I started writing my thoughts on this kind of chart, but rather than a long wall of text post, I put it in a google doc and linked to it here:

The vast majority of Americans would be in the first 4 levels, though our media diet gives a lot of airtime to the last 3 levels.


The levels above 3 don’t really sound like they’d be worth the trouble.


Kids are insanely expensive.

  • First there’s the hospital bill.
  • Then the diapers and formula.
  • Daycare costs, its like going to a private prep school only at age 3.
  • Saving for college.
  • Feeding them for 20 (ish) years.
  • Actually paying for college.
  • When they move back home to save money. (Rent, food, car insurance…)
  • When they finally leave on their own.

I still remember entering the cost of daycare into tax software, for the tax credit schedule, and getting a waring message that the number looked high and was it correct. Yes, it was and it was super high. Like a huge pay raise when daycare ended, or it would have been if all the money hadn’t just gone to saving for college instead.

One day, we’ll hit the end of that list and wonder what all the extra cash is. And, now I miss them already and we’re not even there yet. I suppose I’ll be able to afford some ice cream to feel a little better then.

Where is pay tuition at any school on that list? Or, “donation that gets your into any school”. (I went to college with a kid rumored to only get in because of the new field house donation.)