There are fourteen primary levels of wealth that are each distinct in their experience both mentally and financially. Most people can look at this list and identify where they are in their financial journey rather quickly. Two keys to personal finance is to number one identify where you are, and number two set goals for where you want to be. The levels of wealth can grow to be staggering when looked at on a scale of progression.
The fourteen levels of wealth:
- Hand to Mouth
- Financial Security
- Financial Peace
- Financial Independence
- Financial Freedom
In a free market and free country, people can climb to the level that they are capable of through taking smart risks and working hard once they have access to capital.
Let’s take a look at the twelve different levels of wealth.
Broke is more a state of mind than a permanent financial level. When you’re broke you have almost no money and/or your bills are higher than your income. Hard work is usually the fastest path out of being broke. Getting your income up to the level of your living expenses is the way.
2. Hand to Mouth
When you live hand to mouth your bills equal your paycheck. Your future earnings are already spent 100% due to your future payments. You have no ability to save money and live under stress as you must not miss any time from work. The two ways to get out of the hand to mouth financial cycle is to increase your income or decrease your debt (or both) enough to give you some financial breathing room between your paycheck and bills.
3. Financial Security
Financial security means you have a good job that more than covers for your monthly bills and debt payments. You feel secure in your career and paycheck and are even able to save money for retirement and maybe your children’s college fund.
4. Financial Peace
Financial peace is another level up where you have no car payments, no credit card debt, and a small mortgage payment. You have no financial stress as it is very easy to make your monthly bills. You don’t stress about your career because you know you can get another job that will easily pay your bills anytime you want. You also have an emergency fund of over three months of expenses. It is a huge mental shift where personal finances are no longer a concern and cause no stress.
5. Financial Freedom
When you reach financial freedom you have the choice of whether you want to work your job anymore. You have enough capital, investments, savings, and assets to pay your monthly bills comfortably for as long as needed. You no longer have to keep your job but are choosing to. You are free to quit whenever you want due to your financial situation. People with financial freedom usually have at least a six figure net worth.
6. Financial Independence
You choose to leave a traditional job because you can pay your bills through your investments or cash flowing assets. Your job is no longer worth your time, energy, and effort versus your net worth and other opportunities. Becoming financially independent doesn’t mean you quit working it means you quit working for other people. People that choose financial independence usually have at least a quarter of a million dollar ($250,000) net worth.
A millionaire is someone who has a total net worth of $1,000,000 or more. Anyone with a seven figure net worth or higher. This can include a stock portfolio, real estate portfolio, business ownership, or the rights to their intellectual property. Millionaires don’t usually have a liquid million dollars in their savings account, their capital is in investments. They would need to sell assets to raise large amounts of cash most the time. Their income primarily comes from the cash flow of their assets. Becoming a millionaire is a simple long-term process of optimizing investing in the stock market, owning your own home and staying out of large debts, or creating a business worth one million dollars.
A multimillionaire can lose a million dollars and still be a millionaire. People worth millions of dollars usually have created their own business or invested early in a great business and held their shares through it’s entire growth cycle. This is a level few people reach because it requires active effort in business success either in creation, investing in one, or stock picking.
A decamillionaire is someone worth $10,000,000 dollars. Anyone with an eight figure net worth. This is ten times a millionaire. These are high net worth individuals that can need wealth managers and tax advisors to manage their returns on capital and optimize their tax exposure. Decamillionaires are almost always founders of their own business or large real estate investors.
A centimillionaire is someone worth $100,000,000 dollars. Anyone with a nine figure net worth. This is one hundred times a millionaire. Most centimillionaires both founded and took a company public through an IPO (initial public offering) on the stock market. This is a very rare height to achieve as you must create a huge amount of value in business and convince people to value the equity in your business at nine figures.
A billionaire is someone worth $1,000,000,000 dollars. Anyone with a ten figure net worth. This is one thousand times a millionaire. Most billionaires achieved their wealth in just one of a few ways.
- They founded a company, took it public, and built it into a large corporation while holding a large share of equity.
- They were successful wealth managers for other peoples’ capital.
- They founded very successful hedge funds.
- They were one of the top traders in the world for decades.
- They were early employees in startups that were awarded huge amounts of shares and options. (Rare)
- They inherited it from a multi-billionaire parent.
- They married a billionaire.
- They divorced a multibillionaire.
A multibillionaire is someone worth at least $2,000,000,000 dollars. This is two thousand times a millionaire.
Multibillionaires are extremely rare and are among the top 1,000 richest people on earth. These are titans of industry and finance that built wealth through operating at the highest level of business.
A decabillionaire is someone worth at least $10,000,000,000 dollars. Anyone with an eleven figure net worth. This is ten thousand times a millionaire.
Decabillionaires are near the pinnacle of wealth and are among the top 180 richest people on earth. These are the business people that dominate industry now or at some point in the past to achieve this level of net worth. These are the best of the best at what they do in business building and deal making.
A centibillionaire is someone worth at least $100,000,000,000 dollars. Anyone with a twelve figure net worth. This is one hundred thousand times a millionaire.
Centibillionaire is a rare level of wealth only held by people that are among the top five richest people on earth. At the peak of bull markets the top ten richest people can be worth over $100 billion at the same time. People at this level almost always achieve it by founding companies that they grow into one of the most successful companies in history while holding a huge stake in the company equity.
They won their own lottery in business. Most keep the majority of their net worth in their company’s stock through its entire growth cycle.
At what level do you want to be?