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Think you'll be among the rich someday?
The wake of the global economic recession has shown a spotlight on the yawning divide between the richest Americans and everyone else -- inflation-adjusted incomes of most American workers have remained more or less static since the 1970s, the income of the rich (and the very rich) has grown exponentially. The top 1% alone control nearly 40% of the wealth.
And while the social and political effects of this inequality may be cause for concern, the accrual of wealth among the very few is of great consequence for marketers, since 10% of U.S. households "account for almost half of the consumer spending" and represent about one-third of total GDP, according to the American Affluence Research Council.
Simply put, a small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence -- particularly in categories such as technology, financial services, travel, automotive, apparel and personal care.
But just who today is truly affluent? And which group is on the path to the rich life?
A study from Digitas titled "Affluence in America: The New Consumer Landscape" finds that an individual's career choice is perhaps the most important factor in determining whether he or she will ultimately land among the affluent. The study found that one's job is both a predictor and a determinant of whether his or her household income will reach $200,000 -- the minimum threshold of affluence. This Digitas study, based on Ipsos Mendelsohn data drawn from its Mendelsohn Affluent Survey and Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer, is the basis of a new Ad Age Insights white paper, "The New Wave of Affluence."
Source: Digitas, based on Mendelsohn Affluent Survey Data; Heads of household 18+, HHI $100,000+
It turns out a major predictor of wealth is one's earning a high income in his or...