'Wealth Calculator' Tells How Shockingly Rich You May Really Be

woman in pile of moneyYou guys, I just got the shock of my life. I tried out an online tool called the Wealthometer, created by Harvard assistant economics professor Maximilian Kasy. It measures where you fit in the U.S. distribution of wealth. Are you one of those top one-percenters hogging all the wealth of our country? Or are you struggling near the bottom? The answer may surprise you -- it sure stunned me.

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So here's how it works.

You start by picking your nation. Where am I again? Oh yes, America.

wealthometer

Then you take a guess where you'll end up on the scale. I picked smack dab in the middle.

wealthometer

Then you enter your assets and your debt. If you own your home, how much is it worth? How much do you owe in credit cards, mortgage, student loans, etc.?

wealthometer

Hit "calculate" and voilà -- wait, what the hell?!?

wealthometer

Hot dog, I'm way over at 85 percent! I'm officially wealthy! I quit! Good-bye, Stir staffers. It's been nice knowin' ya. I'm off to enjoy living off my vast wealth, for I am Wealthy McWealthia. Mwahahahahaha!

I'm kidding.

Okay, a little context here. The thing is, 17 years ago my then-husband and I invested in a 450-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. (Yes, 17 years -- I am "wealthy" and old.) We made a lucky bet. Despite the financial crash and recession, that property has more than quadrupled in value. Even after my divorce and the redistribution of assets, I am sitting on a good bit of equity. 

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I'm living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, so my money doesn't go far. And almost none of my wealth is liquid, which means it's not immediately accessible. Also, did I mention my home is 450 square feet? The average American home is 2,600 square feet. I'm not exactly living large.

Also, this measures how much you own and owe, not your income. I totally still need my job.

All that said, though, this is a good kick-in-the-pants reminder for me to feel grateful for what I have. I am fortunate to have a safety net or two. It's humbling to see that in such stark terms. 

So -- do you dare take a peek and find out where you land? The Wealthometer awaits. After that first calculation there's another one related to taxes that's a real jaw-dropper, but I'll let you explore that yourself.

Where did you fall on the wealth scale? Was it where you thought you'd land?

 

Image via Jason Stitt/Shutterstock

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