Americans Say They Need to Earn $128,000 to Feel Financially OK.…

This survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Empower Retirement and Personal Capital from March 23 to April 5, 2021. We surveyed 2,005 people, all of whom were 18+ and living in the U.S. The online survey has a +/- 3% margin of error and a 95% confidence level. 

Respondents were screened for age, household income, and investible household assets with an equal male/female split. 

Those participating had a minimum age of 40, a minimum $50,000 annual household income before taxes, and a minimum $100,000 combined household net worth, excluding primary residence.

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Comments (36)

Most Helpful
Jan 19, 2022 - 1:00am
K-Peezy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Beat me to it. Wasn't the last figure $77k/yr being the point of no more marginal benefit?

Also, since I can't get behind the paywall I gotta ask. Was that $128k/yr in the title for multiple income households, or single income earners?

Additionally, why does it mention participants are 18+ and then later on specifies 40+? Plus, minimum $50k/yr household income is below median income, so that seems kind of skewed to me? \_(  )_/

In the new vein of helping younger WSO monkeys: incessant questions like this is why you don't invite econ people to your parties if you want it to stay fun.

Jan 19, 2022 - 1:14am
WSO's Lawyer Made Me Change The Name of This Account, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That's exactly why you should invite econ people to your parties. You need to meet like minded individuals who are willing to ask questions and start discussions. These people can connect and perhaps join other people with the same questions and eventually organize it a group of people who seek to answer these questions.

Go, Go, Excel

Jan 22, 2022 - 5:48pm
Sequoia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

"Fake news, why not give everyone $5k paychecks every month for the rest of their lives, no need to work. UBI is only fair and we basically did it during the pandemic, I don't understand why we can't just do it forever? Screw the upper middle class and rich for being productive" 

Manchin and Cinema are the only rational Democrats left, thank the sweet lord for them or we'd have $3.5tl in additional stimulus right now. No way inflation is going to be 2.6% like the Fed projects this yr, would be utterly shocked if it was lower than 4% at the minimum, probably 5-6%

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Jan 22, 2022 - 6:15pm
PrivateTechquity 🚀GME🚀, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would bet money that inflation this year gets worse than last year's. I frankly don't buy last year's "official" numbers either because I know for damn sure nearly all of my expenses have gone up well over 10%, forget 7%. The change in gas prices alone should make it self evident that they (the government) are fucking liars trying to fudge the numbers and even when they're doing that the rates are still worse than they were during the literal height of the last recession. 


Jan 27, 2022 - 10:58am
Drumpfy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It's crazy: we always seem to run out of money when anyone other than the ultra rich or the military wants a piece of the pie.  The right wing exploded the debt for tax cuts to the rich in 2017 and there wasn't a word about inflation or the deficit. (surprise surprise, they didn't trickle down)  Most of the debt before that was from Bush's tax cuts and wars.  Even in 2021 we spent 750 billion on the military in single year and once again not a peep about inflation.  But when the Democrats suggest a bill fully paid for, over the next ten years, all of a sudden there's no money left.  Weird...


Jan 22, 2022 - 5:50pm
Sequoia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well if you're making that much, it points to one thing really -- your costs (COL / taxes). Get out of whatever high COL city you're in and move to a lower COL one, Covid has unlocked many opportunities even in the stodgy institution of finance. I know several shops that have gone 100% remote forever, and many others that are hybrid besides and even still some more that have opened offices in other cities as they don't want to lose workers who desire more freedom 

Jan 22, 2022 - 6:10pm
Teller in Branch - Personal Loans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personally it really boils down to having many mouths to feed. Stacy, chastity, faith, brandy, lola, angel, jade, candy, destiny, kitty, cherry… No, not leaving anyone behind. Now they too must WFH. I just asked what would Jesus do.

  • 6
Jan 19, 2022 - 4:45am
Drumpfy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Those participating had a minimum age of 40, a minimum $50,000 annual household income before taxes, and a minimum $100,000 combined household net worth, excluding primary residence.

This is clearly not "Americans".  It's middle aged people who are not in poverty.  What's the justification for not including young people or poor people?

Jan 20, 2022 - 12:11am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Young people probably don't know enough about the costs of things to provide an accurate answer. At my age I really have no idea how much the type of house I want costs, or what are the costs involved with kids. I just know things like food and apartment bills.

Poor people can't be accurately represented in this survey because its an online survey, and the access to internet among poorer people is not equal so it's probably better to leave out the demographic then having a biased sample.(for example more poor urban people are able to respond due to close access and use of a public library compared to rural poor people leading to an underlying error in the conclusions). 

I do agree though that the term "Americans" is deceptive and probably just a click-bait title. 


  • 1
Jan 19, 2022 - 10:45pm
Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

These polls always poll like 2500 people, assume they are not lying and then claim such high confidence intervals.

Jan 21, 2022 - 1:04pm
Smoke Frog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So at least sample 10,000.

only speaking with 2,500 and of that sample are losers who have so much free time they can sit around and take polls, makes me feel like it doesn't do a good job representing true feelings.

it's similar to those polls they always run during elections that are never right. Didn't those polls say Hilary was going to run over trump?

Jan 27, 2022 - 7:40am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jan 27, 2022 - 12:24pm
KClubs, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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