Make $200K+, DINK, not millionaires yet

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  • The HENRYs are high earners, but not yet rich.
  • On average, HENRYs are white Gen Xers, and a good portion of them are also DINKs.
  • While HENRYs hold financial assets and earn substantial salary income, many carry debt.

Just because someone makes six figures doesn’t mean they have a high net worth — or vice versa.

Instead, there’s a group of high earners who aspire to amass that nest egg, but are still pulling away. Unlike many older Americans with a higher net worth, these workers are called HENRYs — high-earning, not-yet-rich, a term first coined over 20 years ago by Fortune’s Shawn Tully. They may one day own the assets to make them millionaires, but for now, they’re just earning high salaries.

So who are the HENRIs?

To break down the demographics of America’s HENRYs, we used the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances, released this year, to analyze Americans who earned $200,000 or more annually but had net worths under $1 million.

So who are these layered HENRIs? They are slightly older than HENRY’s wider base, mostly white, and most likely in a paid role.

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Generally, we know that they are typically millennials or younger Gen Xers. Most HENRYs are between the ages of 40 and 49, although 5.3% are 20 to 29 years old. Nearly 28% are 30 to 39 years old and over a fifth are 50 to 59 years old. The average age of a HENRI is about 46 years old.

The HENRYs are also heavily related.

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Just over 90% of HENRYs are married. As Business Insider’s Noah Sheidlower previously reported, many HENRYs are likely to be DINKs — meaning they’re in dual-income households with no children.

For some couples, being DINKS has meant the ability and freedom to travel, save and prepare for an early retirement. Our analysis of this group of HENRYs found that about 31% were married without children, a rate higher than the 20% of American adults overall, who researchers estimate may choose to go childless. Just under 60% of HENRYs are married with children.

All HENRYs hold financial assets; they also overwhelmingly have checking accounts, and the vast majority own cars and homes.

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Many HENRYs also have some debt, which makes sense since many have mortgages. Unlike their millionaire or billionaire counterparts, who derive most of their wealth from real estate, the HENRYs are likely still paying off some debt.

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HENRYs who are in debt carry an average of $319,170 in debt; just over three-quarters of HENRYs have mortgage and home equity loans, and those loans have an average balance of about $312,185.

Meanwhile, about 43% of HENRYs have education loans; they are, on average, about $74,864.

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Right now, Americans, in general, have a credit crunch. Credit card balances continue to reach record levels, and Fortune found that US cardholders have an average of $5,733 in credit card balances. HENRYs are carrying almost twice as much. Like other consumers, HENRYs carry some credit card debt and just under half carry credit card balances.

However, HENRYs tend to make their money the same way most Americans do: They work a job that earns a wage. While salaries make up the majority of the HENRYs’ income, a good portion comes from capital gains and the businesses they own.

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This is a key distinction between the HENRYs and those who might be considered wealthy. Billionaires tend to get most of their compensation through capital gains — money they make from selling assets like stocks — which are taxed at a lower rate than a normal salary.

But as the HENRYs pay down their debts and continue to accumulate real estate or stocks, they may make the transition from high income to rich — just not yet.

Are you a HENRY, or an aspiring HENRY? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

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