Here’s What O‘ahu Residents Think It Means to Be Rich

(Sponsored) We asked our readers what being rich in Hawai‘i means to them. Here’s what we learned from the more than 350 respondents.

We recently consulted with a financial expert to learn what it means to be rich in Hawai‘i. What we learned is that the answer is quite subjective.


“If we were to survey our clients, the answer would always be different,” says Jodie Duvall, a wealth advisor and certified financial planner at First Hawaiian Bank. “For some, it means paying off their house. It really depends on the financial goals of the family,” she says.


We also conducted a reader poll to find out your thoughts on the matter. Here’s what we learned from the more than 350 respondents.


The top three markers of wealth, according to our readers, include paying off your house, having a second home and flying first-class. This last one makes sense considering the long distances and higher costs of air travel for those who live here, especially when compared to residents of other states.

  Which of these do you think is a marker of being rich?


Owning a home valued between $2 million and $3 million made our survey respondents think of someone as wealthy. However, owning a home valued at between $500,000 and $1 million made readers less inclined to think someone was living large.


The vast majority of respondents pinpointed Kāhala as a neighborhood where only the wealthy could afford to purchase a home, with Kailua also ranked high on the list. With an average home listing price (at the time of this writing) of $4.3 million and $2 million, respectively, it’s no surprise that many readers feel that Kāhala and Kailua are within the reach of only the very well-heeled.


The largest number of respondents claimed that they’d begin to consider themselves rich if and when they started earning an annual income somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million.

  Rich professions


In terms of job titles, most of those polled associate CEOs, COOs, doctors and lawyers with having reached financial nirvana, whereas writers, editors and coaches were the least likely to inspire fantasies of getting rich.


We also asked readers to prioritize their goals. Most put their health and family time ahead of paying off their mortgage. A whopping 77.4% of respondents put their health as their No. 1 value.


Seeing the world and enjoying free time were important to many people polled, with the bulk of respondents putting travel as their fourth-most pressing goal and leisure time as their fifth, while 27% of respondents put early retirement as one of their top three priorities.

  Prioritize goals


It also seems that local residents don’t care if they drive a luxury car, with the vast majority putting that as No. 11 on a list of 12 possible items to prioritize. Having private club memberships or a daily latte were of the lowest value when weighed against the other priorities we put forth.


Only 14.7% of those who responded to our survey consider themselves to be rich, while the bulk of those who answered—85.3%—do not.