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What Does "Mass Affluent" Mean?

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  • Written By: M. McGee
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Mass affluent is an economic and social designation that refers to middle class people with a number of economic factors. In the most basic sense, these people need to have an above-average income, a forward-thinking economic standpoint and an above-average number of liquid assets. There is a great deal of overlap between the mass affluent and the upper middle class, but they differ in a number of important respects.

This group of mass-affluent people is commonly found in countries that have been primary economic powers for many years, such as the United States and many of the countries in Western Europe. Emerging economic powers, such as China, have generally not had enough time to generate the social class. The class comes from generations of people that have each moved forward economically, giving the affluent class the proper understanding and viewpoint on money matters.

The first important factor in belonging to the mass affluent is income. This group has an above-average income for middle-class workers, and in the United States, this is often put at more than $75,000 US Dollars (USD) per year. This is the basest of criteria—the actual income of a person is less important than how he views that money.

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The next important factor is the person’s viewpoint on economic matters. A person in the mass affluent group will constantly look forward and consider ways his or her money could do more in the future. This generally means a number of savings plans, both long-term and short-term, as well as retirement plans and stock portfolios. In most cases, the investor is more interested in long-term gains than short-term purchases. Those mass affluent is also more likely to set up an inheritance for its children.

The last major factor is the amount of liquid assets the person has. In order to fall into this category, the person needs a large amount of liquidity; in the United States, it is generally more than $100,000 USD. This money must be directly accessible, not tied up in land or large items such as cars or houses. In addition, the funds must be present after debt; people with large debt are rarely mass affluent.

This group shares a lot of space with the upper middle class. The biggest difference is in the mindset of the group. A person in the upper middle class may have crushing debt or little to no liquidity. In addition, the primary factor for the upper middle class is income; in the case of the mass affluent, the person’s income only has a minor impact on the designation.

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