How Much Does It Take to Be “Rich”?

woman shopping so hard

How Much Does It Take to Be “Rich”?

The results of a recent YouGov survey show that most Americans think you need to make $100,000 per year to be considered “rich.” Assuming you weren’t one of the people interviewed for that survey, does $100,000 a year sound like wealth to you? What if someone makes less than six figures per year? Can they still be considered wealthy? How can someone with a goal of getting rich know when they’ve finally arrived?

What does “rich” even mean?

Here’s the challenging thing about defining what it means to be rich or wealthy—it’s all relative. In a recent article for CNBC, reporter Kathleen Elkins shared that, according to the 2018 Global Wealth Report, “If you have just $4,210 to your name, you’re better off than half of the people around the globe.” That report went on to show that anyone with a net worth of $93,170 or more ranks in the world’s wealthiest 10 percent. How about that? It turns out wealth has little to do with your income after all.

Yes, earning a lot of money can help you build wealth, but there’s more to it than that. We’ve all heard stories of individuals who made massive amounts of money yet wound up broke and bankrupt. At the same time, there are many examples of ordinary people who earned average salaries and somehow managed to retire with extraordinary wealth and financial stability. When you analyze their stories, you find that those who were successful focused less on their income and more on their net worth. If you want to “get rich,” you’ll need to make your money work for you instead of the other way around.

Net worth is the key to lasting wealth.

Maybe “net worth” is a new concept for you; maybe it’s not. Either way, let’s define the term for the sake of clarity. Credit Suisse, the research institute that compiled the Global Wealth Report mentioned above, defines net worth as “the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by households, minus their debts.” Simply put, your net worth is the difference between what you own and what you owe. By this definition, it’s easy to see why income is only part of the wealth equation. You might earn $250,000 per year, but if your debts and payments outweigh your income and assets, you’re just broke at a higher level.

Do you want to get rich? Start with these simple steps.

  • Follow a budget.
    Whether you make minimum wage or a CEO’s salary, it’s essential to have a plan for how you’ll spend your money. Some experts recommend zero-based budgeting where you designate where every single dollar will go during the month, starting with your basic needs (housing, food, utilities) and financial obligations (credit card payments, loan installments) and placing any remaining funds into savings. Others recommend a broader 50/20/30 guideline, which dedicates 50% of your income to needs, 20% to savings, and 30% to wants. These are only two out of many budgeting approaches. There are pros and cons to each, so take your time and find the right fit for your finances. Remember, the best budget for you is the budget you follow.
  • Minimize your debt.
    To create a substantial net worth, it just makes sense to limit your debt. If you’re starting out on your own and haven’t racked up mountains of debt, do your best to keep it that way. If you’ve made some poor financial decisions that left you saddled with considerable debt—especially high-interest consumer loans and credit card balances, create a plan for paying off those debts as quickly as possible. If you need help formulating a plan, you can find a variety of resources online. You can also see if your credit union offers debt counseling services. Once your money is no longer going to pay off debt, you’ll be able to take significant strides toward building wealth.
  • Invest in assets.
    Speaking of strides toward building wealth, investing in appreciable assets is the best way to build your net worth. The most common assets are real estate, stocks, and bonds. While real estate appreciation varies by location and depends on fluctuating market conditions, it is historically a safe investment that increases over time. Buying individual stocks is also a reliable way to grow your money, but this kind of investing can often be a high risk, high reward proposition. If you’re looking for stable growth over time (which we highly recommend), investment products like 401(k) accounts and mutual funds offer stability through diversification. Since there are so many investment options available, it’s always a good idea to consult a qualified financial advisor before committing your hard-earned money.

So, how much does it take to be rich? That answer is going to be different for everyone. Your situation is unique, which means your road to riches will be as well. Fortunately, you don’t have to plan your route alone if you’re a Great Meadow Federal Credit Union member. Our financial advisors are ready to help you find your starting point, establish your financial goals, and select the best products and tools to accomplish those goals.

Summer Tickets Giveaway


Great Meadow is pleased to give away one (1) pair of tickets to Old Dominion on July 6, 2019 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

To enter, complete the contest entry form with all the information requested. Click “Enter the Contest” and you will automatically be entered.*

*This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to Great Meadow Federal Credit Union and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for Great Meadow Federal Credit Union. No purchase necessary. Must be a Great Meadow Federal Credit Union member in good standing to qualify. By submitting your picture entry, you grant Great Meadow permission to use your name, photo likeness for uses of advertising, promotion and whatever other means deemed relevant. The one (1) winner will be determined by a random selection. The winner will receive one (1) pair of tickets to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Great Meadow is not responsible for show cancellation for any reason. Prize can not be exchanged and is not redeemable for cash. Great Meadow reserves the right to alter or end this contest at any time. All decisions made by Great Meadow and the contest judges are final. See credit union for details.

GMFCU Named Top Credit Union

Credit Union Tops Post-Star’s 2019 Best of the Region


GRANVILLE, N.Y. – The results are in, and Great Meadow Federal Credit Union was awarded the
2019 Best of the Region Award for Credit Unions. Voted by the readers of the Post-Star, the annual awards program celebrates the best businesses in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized to be the best of the best for credit unions for 2019,” said GMFCU President Ryan Roberts. “It is an honor any time we win an award, but this recognition is particularly satisfying because it comes from the community.”

GMFCU serves anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, or regularly conducts business in Warren and Washington counties. More and more people are discovering the credit union that stands for convenience, comfort and community, as the credit union recently reported a year-to-year increase of 15.2% in membership.

With branches in Granville, Comstock and Queensbury, GMFCU opened its fourth location in Fort Edward earlier this year. On May 18, they held a 100-day celebration of the new branch with a food
truck, touch-a-trucks from the Fort Edward Fire and EMT departments, inflatable obstacle courses, giveaways and more than 30 prizes.

In October, the credit union introduced two rewards checking accounts offering members the opportunity to earn interest or refunds on ATM fees nationwide.

“We believe folks deserve great rates, no or low fees, and generous perks,” Roberts said. “Even more than that, we’re thrilled by our members’ successes, and that enthusiasm is contagious. We’re excited by our growth, our member’s growth and the progress of Washington and Warren counties.”


About Great Meadow Federal Credit Union

Great Meadow Federal Credit Union was formed in 1956 and is a community credit union. The credit union serves members in Washington and Warren counties through four branches in Comstock, Fort Edward, Granville and Queensbury. Great Meadow FCU is federally insured by the National Credit Union Association and is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender.

5 Ways to Get a Great Car for Less

Car shopping

Premium styling. Flawless paint. Glistening tires. That unmistakable new car smell. Everything about a new vehicle practically begs you to buy it. When you close your eyes and think about driving your brand-new set of wheels off the lot, it quickens your pulse a little, doesn’t it? Shopping for your next vehicle is a uniquely exciting experience. Until you look at the price tag, that is.

If you haven’t priced cars recently, you may be surprised by the figures you find. According to a 2018 report by Edmunds, the average loan amount for a new car jumped to more than $32,000, and the average monthly payment rose to $558. Sure, the latest models may be nice, but facts are facts—that’s a lot of money to pay for a car.

Now, before we go any further, if you’ve been saving up for your dream car and figured out how to buy it without demolishing your budget, then by all means, go for it! But if you find yourself in the market for a new vehicle and you want to avoid overspending, we’ve got five tips to help you hang onto more of your hard-earned money.

5 Ways to Save Money When Buying a New Car

  1. Do your research.
    The last thing you want to do is show up to a car lot with no idea what you’re looking for. Lack of preparation puts you at the mercy of the salesperson. And while they may be genuinely nice people, sales professionals make their living by getting you to buy a product at the highest price possible. So, before you head to a dealership, narrow down your choices by doing your research. Thanks to the Internet, companies like NADA, Car and Driver, and CarsDirect can help you sort thousands of options by everything from location to price to trim packages.
  2. Get pre-approved.
    Once you’ve determined which vehicle fits your preferences and meets your needs, it’s smart to get pre-approved for financing. If you are a credit union member, there’s a good chance you’ll find better financing rates through your credit union than through another lender. Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll know how much you can afford, what interest rate you’ll pay, and how much your monthly payments will be. This information gives you the upper hand in price negotiations and keeps you from getting distracted by dealer tactics that focus strictly on monthly payments. Pre-approval lets you negotiate based on the most important aspect—price.
  3. Shop for incentives.
    When sales are lower than expected, automakers will often extend money-saving incentives to encourage buyers to purchase their vehicles. This is an instance where the manufacturer’s loss can be your gain. If you’re not already loyal to a particular make or model, you may be able to take advantage of dealer incentives such as discounts, rebates, and lower APR on financing. If you are loyal to a specific type of car, that can work in your favor as well, as some car companies will offer customer loyalty incentives to encourage you to keep driving their cars. To learn more about the incentives that may be available near you, click here.
  4. Ask for a lower rate.
    There are plenty of books, websites, and podcasts that offer tips and tricks on negotiating more effectively. While most of their ideas have merit, there’s one suggestion that may seem a little too simple and straightforward—ask for a better deal. In most cases, a dealer or salesperson will start negotiations with an offer that benefits them the most. Asking them to do better is part of the game. To give yourself the best chance of success, be polite and be prepared to walk away. Some dealers will play hardball, but when they have an interested buyer (especially one with pre-approved financing), most would rather sell a car for a little less than let it sit on the lot and hope another buyer comes along.
  5. Choose a used car instead.
    OK, maybe this tip isn’t exactly a way to “get a new car for less,” but it is an excellent way to save money on your next vehicle purchase. Since most new cars depreciate an average of 20% in the first year and nearly 50% after five years, buying a pre-owned vehicle is a smart way to steer clear of that depreciation. It’s also worth mentioning that in addition to their lower up-front prices, used cars usually cost less to insure. Save now. Save later. That’s a pretty convincing sales pitch, isn’t it?

When you’re ready to start shopping for your next car, we’re confident that you can handle the research portion on your own. But when it comes to the financing and pre-approval, do yourself a favor and contact us here at Great Meadow Federal Credit Union. In most cases, we can offer lower rates and more flexible terms than traditional banks or lenders. Thanks to our competitive auto financing programs, a simple phone call can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Give us a call today. You’ve got nothing to lose—except months of unnecessary interest payments!

Recreational Loans

The great outdoors isn’t going anywhere. The nice weather is, though. 

Swing by the branch then on over to your happy place while Mother Nature is still smiling down on us with sunshine. Whether you’re hitting the road, waves, or path less traveled, we’ve got you covered.

Who says you can’t also help the environment? For each qualifying Recreational Loan, we’ll donate $20* to the Friends of the IBA, dedicated to saving the short-eared owls in New York.

Rev up, set sail, and see more. Apply online today.

*A donation will be made for every new ATV, UTV, Snowmobile, Tractor, RV or Boat Loan of $1,500 or more. One donation per loan. Offer ends July 31, 2019. Rates, terms, and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness and qualifications. Restrictions apply. All loans are subject to credit approval. See credit union for details. This credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.