What’s Your Wealth Number?

by J. Money - Published October 22, 2019

wealth numbers

If you’re tired of thinking about money in terms of “net worth,” here’s another way you can do it and more sneakily compare yourself to others ;)

(Though you’ll still need to know your net worth # to play):

Per Bloomberg Businessweek:

“The world needs a more precise way to describe wealth. “Millionaire” is too broad, covering everyone from random pikers with a scant $1 million in net worth all the way up to people just shy of billionaire status… The language down the scale of wealth is even more impoverished. “Thousandaire” isn’t even an accepted word, let alone “hundredaire.” Yet that’s the net worth space where most of us live.

We have a solution. It’s a scale of net worth based on scientific notation, or powers of 10, which you (should have) learned in fifth grade. One million is 10 to the sixth power, so a basic millionaire is a 6 on our scale. Bezos and Gates are 11s. At the poor end of the scale, someone with $1 in net worth is a zero, and someone with 1/10th of a dollar (a dime) to his or her name is a -1.”

Here’s what this looks like in practice:

wealth number chart

As a “random piker with a scant $1 million in net worth” myself, I can’t exactly say I can afford a 2nd home by the shore, haha, but it is an interesting way of putting things in perspective for sure ;) And possibly even easier to talk about in real life than saying specific $$ amounts?!

“I’m now a 6, y’all! Woohoo!”

“What do you mean? Your looks?”

“Nah, my money! I’m a millionaire now!!”

“Why didn’t you just say you’re a millionaire now then?”

“Because I didn’t want to come off as a jerk off!”

Haha… Okay so maybe it wouldn’t work too great until it’s taken off, but I do like how much easier it is to say out loud ;) And could probably get people talking more openly about their finances too? A lot less taboo this way, yeah?

It’s also interesting how little the difference is there in the beginning of the stages vs later too… You could get from a -2 to a positive 2 in a matter of weeks if you really wanted to (and probably people do every pay day for a hot minute!), but then going from a 2 to 3, or even 4, takes a whole other level of commitment. With the main tipping point happening around #5 ($100,000) which is the hardest point to hit in my experience.

Though I do wish “Thousandaire” and “Hundredaire” would catch on more as they really do sum things up nicely! I remember years ago a blog called Thousandaire.com coming onto the scene and immediately screaming “YES!” at my computer and then linking to it all over my blog, haha… I even went on to purchase it later to try and popularize it more, but sadly it was no match for me and I later moved on to other important things… (Though happy to try again if anyone wants to join in?! I know we got lots of Thousandaires up in here who’s loud and proud!! ;))

At any rate, if you’re bored today or just enjoy adding fun new sections to your spreadsheets, plug in your net worth here and see what # you get…

I’m a #6 as mentioned and will probably stay there for life, haha, but always interesting to see where you stand compared to others, even if you just keep it to yourself.

And who knows, maybe with enough hustle we’ll all surpass that elusive #7 in no time?! According to a friend of mine it wasn’t too hard for this guy to do it!

A true story ;)

The secret of my success? Actually it was quite simple.

On the first day I bought an apple for five cents. I spent the evening polishing my apple and sold it the next day for a princely sum of $.10.

On that self-same day I promptly purchased two more apples for the sum of $.10. Thusly I spent the evening polishing my two apples and the following day sold them for the grand total of $.20.

And so it went until I had amassed a tidy sum of $4.20. It was at that time my wife’s father passed and left to us his entire fortune of twenty million dollars.

Haha… Still counts!

*****
My friend couldn’t remember where he first heard this, but he thinks it came from English playright Noël Coward years ago…

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 A. Money October 22, 2019 at 7:36 am

A Richter scale for net worth?! How logarithmic!

And about your “true story,” something’s missing. Continuing in the described fashion, the enterprising fellow would have achieved assets of $3.20 on day 7 and $6.40 on day 8. That he “had amassed a tidy sum of $4.20” would imply an interesting wrinkle and possibly a lesson to be learned. Maybe the lesson is that the Tax Man always gets his cut. Or maybe we’re to understand something about an unsustainable system. Perhaps this illustrates lifestyle bloat when the man eventually and inevitably eats some of his apples. Or a sinister twist: maybe some of those apples, doctored with a little poison, made their way to an unsuspecting father-in-law, probably as a “thank you” for that initial $0.05 investment.

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2 J. Money October 22, 2019 at 9:45 am

Haha….

So it’s not a real story then???!

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3 Josh October 22, 2019 at 8:27 am

Practically speaking, this doesn’t work well for “-1” & “-2”. You’re just talking about smaller fractions of 1, when what you’re trying to imply is -10, and -100. :/

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4 J. Money October 22, 2019 at 9:46 am

I think you’re just too smart for your own good :)

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5 Financially Fit Mom October 22, 2019 at 10:01 am

I’m a comfortable 5, but I have to say that I’ll use 5.5 the minute I’m able to!

I’d be curious to know what counts as “adult” in this example. Does that start at the age of 18 or possibly coming from “no longer a dependent” in tax returns? I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am saddened at the volume of adults in the -2 to 4 range. I know as a society we don’t save money well, but seeing it like this is really eye opening. I’d hope we’d see a shift if “adult” began post-college/move out of parents house age where hopefully kids have a better sense of finances. Though, as I type this…..I know I’m grasping at overly-optimistic straws….

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6 J. Money October 22, 2019 at 10:16 am

Remember that it’s spread across *the world* too where a majority of people are below the poverty level :( Would be interesting to see (and even more sad?!) strictly sticking to the U.S. where we HAVE all this opportunity but still squander it!

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7 Joe October 22, 2019 at 10:25 am

I’m not sure I like this scale. It gets too difficult as you progress upward. Going from $1M to $10M is tough. Good luck!

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8 J. Money October 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm

What, you don’t like a good challenge? ;)

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9 BC | FrugalWheels October 22, 2019 at 11:58 am

Interesting at least – I might have to create my own version, based on what bicycle you can afford depending on your net worth. (Millionaire status would mean a RAD electric bike with a pair of British Brompton folding bicycles attached to the side.)

This got me thinking of the home of a couple who owned a gym and founded a bicycle racing team. They had a dream bicycle garage filled with bikes and bike tools I think probably totaled more than my current house. I think only at $10 million status would I deign to have something that fancy, and I still probably wouldn’t.

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10 J. Money October 22, 2019 at 2:57 pm

Haha…

You write up that post and I’ll be more than happy to share it around ;)

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11 Amy J. October 22, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Interesting way to look at another financial number, J! I just checked my Personal Capital and I’m a solid 4.8 :) Only 18K more to save until I get to 100K in net worth and I’ll be a 5! I think it would be neat to see this based on just people in the USA vs. people in the world, also!

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12 J. Money October 22, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Woohoo – so close!!!

Keep on going – it gets a lot smoother from here! :)

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13 Pat October 22, 2019 at 4:48 pm

I need more increments…I’m around a 5.5 or slightly higher and am good with that for now.

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14 J. Money October 23, 2019 at 5:38 am

It’s funny seeing everyone throw in their own increments like that ;) Half the people who have emailed me about this have done the same!

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15 GJ October 22, 2019 at 11:30 pm

Huh, I assumed Warren Buffett was pretty close to an 11!

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16 J. Money October 23, 2019 at 5:40 am
17 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life October 23, 2019 at 12:22 am

I’m fine with my net worth as a number but I’d like some way to celebrate the in between numbers more so that it’s not such a slog from, say, $1M to $5M. Give 1.1M, 1.2M, etc some screen time too!

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18 J. Money October 23, 2019 at 5:52 am

Problems for the fortunate of us :)

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19 Becky October 23, 2019 at 1:42 pm

I like this scale! Probably because I just bumped up from a high 4 to a 5 (unless the markets drop a little and push my 401k down). My goal was to hit 6 figures in my net worth by the end of the year and I hit that in September. When I checked again in October, it had dropped just under because my 401k dropped just enough to cause the change. But I’m confident that as long as I continue paying down my debts as I have planned, that I will be over 6 figures again before the end of the year, unless the markets just crash altogether, LOL.

I honestly don’t feel like a hundred thousandaire, as I am still just scrapping by month-to-month. But a large chunk of this value is in my 401k and another large chunk is in my home value compared to what I owe on it. If I took those things out, I’d barely have a positive net worth :(

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20 J. Money October 24, 2019 at 12:58 pm

It’ll feel better as time (and debts!) pass on, I promise you :) That first major stage is the hardest and soon things will get easier and easier all the while the net worth goes up and up! You’re definitely on the right path, so keep on going!

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21 JoeHx October 24, 2019 at 3:34 pm

I’m a multi-thousandaire… which puts me somewhere on #5. Maybe around 5.3 if we’re doing logarithms.

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22 J. Money October 25, 2019 at 6:10 am

It does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? :)

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