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Here's How Much Money It Takes to Be Considered ‘Financially Comfortable' in 12 Major U.S. Cities

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Somewhere between living paycheck-to-paycheck and owning a yacht, Americans are considered "financially comfortable" if they have a net worth of $774,000, a recent survey finds.

However, that amount changes depending on which city you live in. You'll need a net worth over $1 million to be considered financially comfortable by your peers in cities with a high cost of living like San Francisco or New York, according to financial services company Charles Schwab's annual Modern Wealth Survey

In San Francisco, the threshold for what survey respondents consider financially comfortable is a net worth of $1.7 million. That's the highest total in the survey, which examined 12 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the U.S. 

Here's a look at what it takes to be seen as financially comfortable by city in 2022, as ranked by net worth thresholds:

  1. San Francisco: $1.7 million
  2. New York City: $1.4 million
  3. Southern California (includes Los Angeles and San Diego): $1.3 million
  4. Seattle: $1.2 million
  5. Washington, D.C.: $1.1 million
  6. Chicago: $956,000
  7. Houston: $919,000
  8. Boston: $892,000
  9. Dallas: $840,000
  10. Atlanta: $771,000
  11. Phoenix: $747,000
  12. Denver: $671,000

The online survey was conducted in early February, with a sample of 500 to 750 local residents for each metropolitan area, between the ages of 21 and 75.

The term "financially comfortable" is a subjective term that will mean different things to different people. It could mean having a lot of disposable income, or it could mean simply owning a house while having enough money left over each month to save for retirement.

To help put things into perspective, the median net worth per household in 2019 was $121,700, according to the Federal Reserve's most recent data

Net worth is a measure of the value of the assets a person or corporation owns, minus the liabilities they owe.

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