Investors with $1 million or more say “financial planning and investing” is the No. 1 action that helped them build wealth, followed by “making a good income” and “living within my means”
What does it take to become a millionaire? New research from Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP) confirms that it comes down to practical behaviors and discipline around money.
Ameriprise surveyed 580 Americans ages 27-77 who currently have a million dollars or more in investable assets to understand how they built their savings. Eighty percent cited “financial planning and investing” as the top driver behind their ability to accumulate more than $1 million. They also said, “making a good income” (71%) and “living within my means” (69%) contributed to their financial success. Only 13 percent credited “luck” for their good fortune.
The Ameriprise study probed further to understand how millionaires view wealth. Most (85%) agreed that wealth means having a sense of financial security. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said they associate the term with “the ability to provide for myself and my family,” and 58 percent linked it to the “freedom to do what I want.”
“There is no standard definition of what it means to be wealthy, but in general, investors associate it with having the means to live life on their terms,” said Marcy Keckler, Senior Vice President of Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise. “Whether that means having $1 million, $10 million, or any other figure, building wealth requires planning, prioritization, and taking steps to protect your future.”
Data from the survey was collected as part of a largerearlier in 2023.
The deeper look at millionaires also revealed:
- Most millionaires don’t consider themselves wealthy. Six in ten (60%) investors with $1 million or more surveyed classify themselves as upper middle class, and an additional 31 percent say they are part of the middle class. Only eight percent characterize themselves as wealthy. For comparison, a quarter (25%) of those with $25,000-$999,000 in investable assets say they are upper middle class, 58 percent say they are middle class and two percent say they are wealthy.
- Millionaires’ financial priorities differ from less affluent investors. Investors with more than $1 million revealed that their top three financial priorities are “protecting accumulated wealth” (62%), followed by “saving for retirement” (43%), and “managing market volatility” (32%). Comparatively, investors with under $1 million in assets said, “saving for retirement” is their top priority (49%), with “managing day-to-day living expenses” (42%) coming in second, and “increasing income” (35%) and “paying down debt” (35%) tying for third.
“Millionaires want to protect their hard-earned wealth and they’re looking for peace of mind that they’re on track to reach their next financial goals,” said Keckler. “It’s encouraging to see so many of them taking sound financial principles to heart. Investors at any life stage or wealth level can benefit from a comprehensive financial plan that accounts for their unique goals and the inevitable bumps in the road along the way.”
About the survey
The 2023 research was created by Ameriprise Financial Inc. and conducted online by Artemis Strategy Group from January 19 to February 14, 2023 among 3,518 Americans ages 27–77. Millennial respondents have $25,000 or more in investable assets, and Gen X and boomer respondents have $100,000 or more. The sample is weighted on region and by generation on age, gender, race/ethnicity, assets, and income based on the Federal Reserve 2021 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED). To ensure sufficient response sizes for additional analysis, Ameriprise oversampled investors who identify as millennials. For further information and details about the study, including verification of data that may not be published as part of this report, please contact Ameriprise Financial or go to.
About Artemis Strategy Group
is a communications strategy research firm specializing in brand positioning, thought leadership and policy issues.
About Ameriprise Financial
At, we have been helping people feel confident about their financial future for more than 125 years. With extensive investment advice, asset management and insurance capabilities and a nationwide network of approximately 10,000 financial advisors1, we have the strength and expertise to serve the full range of individual and institutional investors’ financial needs.
Artemis Strategy Group is not affiliated with Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
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1 Ameriprise Financial Q2 2023 Earnings Release.