Do You Live In A Wealthy Zip Code?

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Wealthy zip code

It’s hard to believe, but another year is about to come to an end. As opposed to running another post on New Year’s Resolutions I thought I’d talk about wealth. Crazy, talk about wealth on a personal finance blog I know, but I digress. 😉

We’ve all likely read the articles about how the upper class has a massive upper hand on the rest of us. I’ve also read ones about how if you’re not in the upper class that you’re pretty much screwed with relation to really getting ahead financially. I don’t know that I necessarily believe that, though I do completely agree that there are inherent challenges if you’re not managing what you have appropriately. Meaning, it goes back to the ideal that it’s not how much you make but how you manage it that can make the real difference.

Anywho, I saw this infographic over at the other day and knew I wanted to run it as it presents some interesting numbers about what wealth is, generally speaking. Not surprisingly it shows that the top 1 percent holds nearly 35 percent of all privately held wealth. Also not surprisingly, it shows that nearly 75 percent of all consumer debt is held by the rest of us – or the bottom 90 percent.

Another interesting thing I liked about the infographic was its depiction of how wealth is allocated in the States. Generally speaking, real estate makes up the majority of wealth for those not in the top 1 percent. In fact it had the breakdown as follows for the “Average” American in the following order: Real Estate, Investments, Banks, and Cars. Looking at where Mrs. Frugal Rules and I are, we’d flip investments in the stock market and real estate as our highest two categories.

The other thing I found interesting was the numbers on millionaires and wealthy zip codes. I guess the numbers really don’t surprise me on that front either. While I don’t know how scientific it is, apparently Omaha has the most millionaires per capita (thanks Warren!) so I can use that as encouragement. 😉

Anyway, I know numbers like this can open up a can of worms in terms of discussions so I’m interested to see what you think. 🙂





What stood out to you most on the infographic? How would you rank how your wealth is allocated? Are you in a “wealthy” zip code?



Photo courtesy of: AAG

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • I am surprised that 92% of Americans receive no inheritance…None. I would not have guessed it to be that high. I think that tells us that a) people’s savings and investment rates are not where they should be and b) people are really lacking when it comes to adequate life insurance.

  • Not shocked to see real estate be such a high percentage of most folk’s net worth.

    A mortgage payment is in effect a forced retirement savings account for many people. For the average, lower middle class person… a paid off house + social security is what will see them through retirement in relative comfort.

  • Like you, I think it is harder for the middle class to get ahead, but not impossible. I’m surprised people in the middle class have so much of their wealth tied up in real estate.

  • Totally looked up that NYC zipcode for top wealth- midtown east/ upper east side, not surprising.

  • I am in a fairly well-to-do zipcode which totally skews my perception of how I rate my own performance.

  • Amos says:

    Its no surprise to see big guys moving ahead financially at a bigger rate than the normal middle class people. But this doesn’t mean the middle class cant be able to build their wealth, what matters is the exposure of resources that are available.

  • Kathy says:

    Too many articles demonize the wealth by inferring that they are actively trying to hold down the 99%. I don’t believe that to be true at all. I wish the graphic you displayed would have gone a step further to show the amount of taxes paid by each class. The top 1% pays something like 38% of all taxes and the top 5% pay over 50% of all taxes. So the popular payment of their “fair share” philosophy is certainly being met, in spite of divisive rhetoric uttered by certain people in government. To answer your question, I don’t live in a nationally recognized high zip code but I do live in the wealthier side of my community.

    • I would generally agree Kathy. I know it’s easy to demonize the “Wealthy” and know in large part it really isn’t true. I think that can often occur when in reality a lot of it goes back to the priorities and focus. I would’ve liked to see a tax section as well.

  • Mark says:

    I too am surprised at how few people inherit anything. 90% seems so high it must be some mistake. I mean, not even a car or some jewelry? And more than half of households own their own homes. Are those homes sold before the owner dies? Otherwise, you’d think a decent percentage of folks would inherit those homes.

  • I think what I got out of that is a burning desire to be richer! 🙂

  • Interesting stats. Thanks for sharing! I know here in my rural ag-centered community there are way more millionaire net worths than most people would realize thanks to ag real estate and farming equipment.

  • Actually, I’m somewhat surprised that the wealthiest 10% still has 26% of the consumer debt. I would have assumed that this would have been much smaller. Am I reading it wrong?

    • Nope, you’re reading that right Thomas. That Top 10% represents a lot of people. I know I’ve spoken to more than my fair share of people who would fit in that category though are still carrying some form of consumer debt. Unfortunately having money doesn’t guarantee being smart with it. 😉

  • We are in a wealthy zip code and it’s tough to be frugal minded in a wealth zip code. The funny thing for me the last year or so is how our choices are starting to impact our friends. At various dinner events, I always seem to draw a crowd of people asking about money saving tips. I don’t care how much money you make, we could all stand to save money and make smarter money choices.

    • That’s a good point Shannon. When I lived in Chicago in high school and part of Chicago the area I lived in had the #3 per capita in the country at the time. We certainly didn’t belong towards that end which just meant we sort of stuck out like a sore thumb. I could not agree more either – it all goes back to making wise money decisions regardless if you’re making $50k a year or $250k a year.

  • Not a bad infographic, but am I missing the link to go see the rankings by zip code? I’m not sure how to check whether I’m in a wealthy zip code?

    I know that the county my parents live in is very wealthy, mainly because the cities in the county are made up of middle to upper-class citizens. Not sure about my current zip code, would have to check (if there is a way to check?).

  • I’m not surprised so much wealth is tied up in real estate. That’s very common in my neck of the woods. I was born in a super wealthy area but these days I live in a lower middle class neighborhood in a city that is definitely mid-market. It’s not super fancy, but I love it!

  • Jason @ Phroogal says:

    It is more difficult for lower and middle classes to move up the income ladder but it is doable. It also makes a lot of sense that real estate for the most part accounts for majority of the wealth of those not in the 1%.

  • Cynthia says:

    The lack of inheritances doesn’t surprise me. Nursing homes are receiving the wealth of the middle class, in my opinion. My aunt has been in a nursing home in the Midwest for 40 months and has spent $325,000.00 to date.

    My uncle is dead, so she’s had to convert all (including home) her assets to cash to pay for her care. Once she has nothing, then and only then will Medicaid pay for her nursing care.

  • jefferson says:

    The financial picture of middle-class America really is scary, when you step back and look at the numbers.

    Just tens of millions of people with no savings and a large debt load.

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