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What does it mean to be rich?
It depends on your age
 
Would this pile of dough make you feel rich?
Would this pile of dough make you feel rich? ThinkStock/Photos.com

When would you consider yourself rich? Would it be based on your happiness? Your stress level? Your ability to feel secure? According to a recent study by the Spectrem Group, how you answer that question could very well depend on your age.

While the majority of investors in the study — a whopping 84% — said that wealth meant "greater security," the results differed by both age and net worth. Older respondents (those 61 and up) were far more likely to report that being rich meant having greater security, while younger investors (listed at 40 and under) are less likely to view the rich as having greater security, but are more likely to associate wealth with more happiness and fun… and less work.

Corporate executives, on the other hand, were more likely to associate being rich with an increase in stress. And when it comes to income, wealth level or lifestyle, millionaires (those with net worths of $1 million to $5 million) typically defined wealth strictly in terms of net worth — while less affluent investors were more prone to define wealth in terms of income and lifestyle.

So what's it all mean? As Robert Frank of CNBC notes, "…Americans have a pretty good sense of what wealth can — and more importantly — cannot buy. Yes, it brings a certain form of security and fun. But it also brings more responsibility, stresses and complications. Wealth doesn't erase life's problems: it just replaces them with more expensive ones."


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