SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Being considered “wealthy” is somewhat a subjective term as it is depends on multiple factors, such as the area’s cost of living. But how much do you need to be just that in San Francisco, which is widely regarded as one of the most expensive cities in the United States?

To be “wealthy” in San Francisco, one needs to have an average net worth of $5.1 million, according to Charles Schwab 2022 Modern Wealth Survey conducted in February.

Out of all the major cities in the country surveyed, San Francisco’s net worth was by far the largest. The Southern California region, which includes both Los Angeles and San Diego, had the second-highest average net worth of $3.9M to be “wealthy.” New York City ranked third-highest at $3.4M.

Nine other U.S. cities were surveyed: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

What It Takes to Be “Financially Comfortable”

In San Francisco, to be “financially comfortable” meant one’s average net worth is $1.7M — the highest amount of the cities surveyed. In second place, New York City stands at $1.4M.

Five of the 12 cities studied crossed the $1 million threshold. Southern California at $1.3M, Seattle at $1.2M, and Washington D.C. at $1.1M were the other three.


Those who were surveyed were asked how much they think one’s net worth needs to be “wealthy” or “financially comfortable.” The researchers then compiled those answers from the residents, and the numbers were then averaged out to get an average net worth in said category.

To gather the 2022 San Francisco data, Charles Schwab conducted an online survey from Feb. 10-27 and sampled 750 city residents aged 21 to 75. For the national data, an online survey in February was conducted among a sample of 1,000 Americans in the same age group. More details on the methodology can be viewed here.

These numbers are based off of Charles Schwab’s sixth annual Modern Wealth Survey, which examined how Americans think about saving, spending, investing, and wealth, according to the company’s website.

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Last December, KRON4 reported what it takes to be “rich” in the San Francisco Bay Area. That story focused more on one’s annual income. This Charles Schwab study focuses on one’s net worth.