To be wealthy is to derive an income based on existing assets. My grandfather pulls in enough to support a comfortable upper middle class existence This includes: replace the car when he wants, travel when he wants, maintain 1 4,000 sq ft home in NYC area & 2 in Florida, 2 country club memberships, and bribe off life's annoyances great and small ($6,000 for hearing aids? no problem). Money it to be balanced between anchor corporations and risker plays (small cap growth potential, commodities, and options), not left to rot in an Acme Corp approved mutual fund. His neighbour barely leaves his office to maintain that. Grandad plays golf. Further, there is so much more to class than mere money. Class is as much mindset and taste as it is money. Even if we woke up without a cent in our bank accounts, we'd still have our books, our private prep school + university educations, our tastes/inclinations, norms, and our closest social circle. That works going up as well. See pro sports players, lottery winners, and the Beverly Hillbillies. The middle class collectively knows little about using money to their distinct advantage.