15 Subtle Signs That You’re Actually Wealthy

Discover the hidden indicators of wealth that go far beyond your bank balance.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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It’s easy to feel like you’re behind when your social media feeds are filled with friends taking lavish vacations and buying new cars. But your financial fitness may be better than you realize — even if your wallet isn’t bulging.

Contrary to how it may seem on the surface, being wealthy isn’t always signified by the stuff you have, the size of your home, or the label on your jeans. True financial freedom is harder to spot.

Once you stop focusing on traditional markers of wealth, you begin to see how rich you really are. Here are a few signs that you’re well-off that you’re probably overlooking.

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You save money

Drobot Dean/Adobe friends holding money covering faces

With 61% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, the ability to save a few bucks each week puts you ahead of most people. 

If you consistently keep more cash in your wallet with every paycheck, you’re increasing the distance between you and disaster, and you're well on your way to financial security. 

You invest

Wicitr/Adobe accountant analyzing data using calculator

Your money can work harder for you than you ever can for it. By investing, you’re putting those dollars to work, gathering interest and appreciation. 

Deciding to start investing in stocks and bonds is how many millionaires achieve their wealth, though some invest in a business (their own or those of others) to generate income as well.

You live comfortably below your means

F8 \ Suport Ukraine/Adobe happy couple spending time on couch

Ironically, contentment with your income and the ability to live within it is another sign of being well off. This liberates you from the constant need to earn and spend more. 

By spending less than you earn, you’ll ensure your wealth is long-lasting and won’t be threatened by the next economic downturn.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

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You can buy the things you want, even if you have to save

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The one-percenters have an easy time forking out for a boat or a vacation to Paris, no question about it. But if you can afford the same luxuries after a few years of mindful spending and careful saving, you’re still enjoying the same level of luxury, if not as often.

You can afford to retire on time

goodluz/Adobe female finance advisor with senior couple

Sadly, one in five Americans believe they’ll never be able to retire. If you’re on track to retire in your 60s (or retire early), you’re one of the lucky ones. The ability to stop working and enjoy your golden years is truly enviable.

You can consider other things besides money in decision-making

ako-photography/Adobe tesla steering wheel inside vehicle

Those with means can consider convenience, sustainability, style, and other factors when making purchases, not just the price. 

It’s odd, but when it’s not all about the money, that’s when you’re in the money. If money isn’t the only driver behind your decisions, you likely have plenty of it.

You spend on things that give you back time

Konstantin Yuganov/Adobe woman holding bucket of cleaning supplies

Whether it’s a housecleaner, a landscaper to mow your yard, or even a dishwasher, the fact that you can invest in products and services that aren’t necessities but save you time makes you an affluent person.

Unlike money, no person alive can ever get more than 24 hours in a day. Rich people know that time is a more precious resource than money, and they spend both accordingly.

You’re not being pulled down by debt

Nicholas Felix/peopleimages.com/Adobe couple cheering after getting debt free

Americans paid nearly $164 billion in credit card interest and fees in 2022. 

If you’ve managed to pay off any debts you’ve had, you’re at least richer than the average person. That excludes student loans, car notes, and other debt. Wealthy folks know the value of collecting interest, not paying it.

You invest in yourself

Monkey Business/Adobe senior student raising hand in class

Your library of knowledge is one of the most productive investments you can make, though it doesn’t come cheap. You're certainly well off if you can afford the money and time for good books, courses, seminars, and other learning materials.

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Your net worth is increasing

Monster Ztudio/Adobe calculator besides wooden house and pennies

Where you’re going is arguably more important than where you’ve been. If your net worth — the difference between the value of the assets you own and the liabilities you owe — is positive and growing, you’re on the right path.

You’re able to look past the price

Drazen/Adobe woman checking washing machines at store

If you can buy things with quality and price of ownership in mind (rather than getting the cheapest item that fits the bill because it’s all you can afford), that’s a sign you’re financially well off.

It’s sad and ironic that those with more money tend to get better bargains because they can make larger one-time purchases to get bulk deals or buy quality products that last.

You have peace of mind

Pixelbliss/Adobe home insurance protection concept

Knowing you and your loved ones are covered with life, health, home, and auto insurance in case disaster strikes allows you to sleep better at night. 

Insurance can protect you from a black swan event, wiping out the wealth you’ve worked hard to build.

You have a strong network

Mikolette M/peopleimages.com/Adobe multi ethnic friends toasting drinks

Another non-monetary indicator of wealth is in the people around you. If you have a strong network of friends and family to check in on you and help you during hard times, then you are wealthy.

You share time and money with others

New Africa/Adobe volunteers giving food to poor people

Perhaps the most significant sign of wealth is the ability to give it away. Giving money to a church, charity, non-profit, or other worthy cause brings meaning and purpose behind having it in the first place. And since time is money, volunteering your time counts, too.

You partake in activities that have meaning to you

Piotr Golemo/Adobe female snowboarder on mountain top

One of life’s most lavish luxuries is spending time on things that bring you joy. 

Whether you step up your travel game, enjoy woodworking, write music, or help at a soup kitchen, having the time and money to pursue things other than money is a subtle sign of affluence.

Bottom line

Sunny studio/Adobe family enjoying quality time at beach

Saving, investing, giving a little money to charity, and enjoying a few of life’s pleasures are all signs of financial fitness.

Those things aren’t easily detectable via labels and Instagram photos, but they are some of the best things money can buy.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson

Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.