NEW YORK -- Compared with the average American, rich people in the United States say they need three times as much money to live in comfort and five times as much to fulfil their dreams, a survey of wealthy families showed yesterday.
Americans who earn more than $100,000 a year -- about 2 percent of the population -- said they would need a $50,000 annual salary just to get by, said a poll conducted by Doyle Graf Mabley and the Roper Organization.
By comparison, studies of all Americans show they would need less than half that salary -- only $20,000 -- to "get by," the survey said.
A majority of the wealthy Americans polled chose owning their own business, traveling overseas and serving as a top corporate executive as the ultimate status symbols, the poll said.
Contrary to stereotypes, less than a third envisioned owning a boat, belonging to a private country club or driving an expensive car as top status symbols, the poll said.
The rich said they would need $88,000 a year to live in comfort, while average Americans said they would need $30,000, the poll said.
Also, the affluent said they would need $250,000 to fulfil all their dreams, while average Americans said their dreams would cost only $50,000 a year, the poll said.
Rich people were five times as likely to participate in political activities as average Americans, the survey said.
The top earners were six times more likely to serve on committees and seven times more likely to deliver a speech or write an article, the poll said.
About 90 percent of the affluent defined success as being a good parent, being the best at a job and having a happy marriage, the survey said.
Only 14 percent listed power as a measure of success, and 11 percent listed wealth as elements of success.
The poll of those earning $100,000 or more was conducted by telephone among 600 adults in six major U.S. cities, researchers said.
The data on the average population was based on recent monthly polls taken by Roper of 2,000 adults, selected randomly and conducted in person, a spokesman said