According to Wikipedia, the “millionaire” word was first added in English in 1816.
It used to mean filthy rich. As a millionaire you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. You have a life time of security. You are free of worries. Do you remember Henry Adams in The Million Pound Note?
Not any more. A rough estimate was that one US dollar in 1816 would be worth $16.55 US dollars in 2015.
The most common definition the millionaire is a person with a net worth of one million US dollars (or any other currency units). It’s still a lot of money and it’s still out of reach for more than 90% of the people even in an affluent country like the US. But a million US dollars in 2015 was only around $60,000.00 in 1816.
Although most people are still dreaming of becoming a millionaire, It’s not even close to very wealthy today. More and more people are reaching this status, only to find that it does not go far at all. You can’t even buy a normal house in some expensive areas if that’s your only asset. You can’t live on it for too long if you are not frugal. Some people say that millionaire means the upper middle class now. Simply put, it doesn’t mean anything.
How much do you need to be feeling as rich as an original millionaire in 1816? Simple calculation implies $16.55 million in 2015 US dollars.