The typical middle-class household made $2 million from homeownership over the past decade, showing it’s still the best way to build wealth

At least in terms of building wealth (if you’re middle class).

Younger households with middling incomes who bought a home within the last 10 years have been able to enjoy massive wealth gains, with housing wealth across nearly 1,000 U.S. cities increasing by over $8 trillion since 2010, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Middle income households-turned homeowners enjoyed the biggest wealth gains, as on average, these households saw their wealth grow by over $2 million.

The main reason behind these homeowner wealth gains is the rapid rate of home value appreciation in the U.S. The NAR estimates that 86% of the wealth homeowners built during this period comes from home appreciation, with the median sales price of a home rising at an annual 8.3% between 2011 and 2021.

Some metro areas saw middle income residents’ wealth increase much faster than others, normally due to population or job growth in the city in question, NAR found.

Best middle income housing markets

NAR said the metro areas where middle-class homeowners saw the biggest wealth gains over the past 10 years are:

  1. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (+ $103,690)
  2. Austin-Round Rock, Texas ($61,323)
  3. Nashville-Davidson-;urfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn. ($55,252)
  4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas ($53,421)
  5. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas ($52,716)

But while most metro areas saw household wealth grow for middle income homeowners, 58% of cities according to the NAR, it declined in cities that have seen their housing markets explode over the last decade. Los Angeles and New York topped the list with big declines for middle income households, despite housing wealth increasing overall.

And while household wealth for middle income earners grew overall, the same could not be said for lower income homebuyers. Low income households make up 27.2% of all homeowners, but enjoyed only 4% of the wealth gain.

A changing housing market

The prospects of building wealth through homeownership is enticing to young households ready to make their first big purchase. For millennials, who have aged into prime homebuying age and are now the single largest demographic looking to buy a home, this is more applicable than most.

But for millennials and even younger Gen Z homebuyers in 2022, buying a home has become a nearly impossible feat.

While younger generations are flooding the homebuying market, the pandemic and remote working options have made homeowners less willing to sell. And combined with a historically low inventory of new homes for sale, supply has been unable to keep pace with demand over the past year.

The high competition for new homes has priced many young homeseekers out of the market, as older generations looking to downsize have been able to leverage higher incomes and more years of real estate savvy to win out on bidding wars.

The result has left many millennials either unable to buy a home and begin building wealth, or unhappy with a rushed purchase and readying to sell early before seeing any big benefits from appreciation.

For those who are homeowners during this turbulent period for housing, home appreciation rates are better than ever. Median home values are now 20% higher than they were in January 2021, according to Zillow, an online real estate marketplace.


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Three Reasons to Seek Wealth, That Have Nothing to Do With Greed

If you act with integrity and do so in order to be of maximum service; there is no limit to what you can do.

We live in strange times when it comes to the pursuit of wealth and happiness. The shadow of 80s yuppyism and the corruption that led to the 2007/8 financial crash looms large to this day, and the prevailing narrative around wealth is confused at best. A lot of people struggle with articulating the reasons why they would seek a life of wealth as a result.

We allow politicians and other interested parties to tell us that being rich is bad. That seeking means above above necessity is just greedy and robs someone else of what they need. Meanwhile, in-between flailing 30-second dance routines and makeup tutorials, ‘influencers’ extol the virtues of crypto currency, skincare products and just being fabulously wealthy.

It all points to a culture that doesn’t really know what it wants anymore. The old guard who are in charge, wish to instill a community spirit and wholesome values (to give them the benefit of the doubt). Meanwhile; Gen-Z want to shake their ass on Tick-Tock and get paid for it by a multivitamin company.

The aspirational lifestyle has shifted, but to what exactly? And where do you fit in?

You’ve possibly found yourself in the dilemma of wanting to accrue wealth, improve your living standards and enjoy life; but not wanting others to think you shallow or greedy. The apparent navel-gazing, ‘influencer’ lifestyle that involves documenting your every move doesn’t appeal. You just want to offer value and be recognized for it. You probably feel torn between two poles, and subsequently frozen in inaction. There is another way.

Here are three reasons to seek wealth, that have nothing to do with greed or notoriety. You can use them as motivation and to inform your intentions, as you seek wealth for yourself and your loved ones. I took inspiration for this article from a recent episode of my podcast, featuring the excellent Hannah Chapman. You can check out the full conversations here:

1. You don’t want to be desperate

Making decisions from a place of desperation is a one way street to depression. Despite how some people might seem to get off on their self-proclaimed victimhood: neither you nor they actually want to feel like you aren’t in control of your life. If you have to take a job stacking shelves, or cleaning houses – you’re not going to feel in control and very soon the resentment for your life will set in.

To be clear: I am not throwing shade on those jobs at all!! I’m a big believer that ‘job-shaming’ goes on far too much and needs to stop. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone and we should stop trying to convince people that it is. The issue here is not the nature of the job itself, but that you had to take it.

If you have to make decisions based on a lack of funds, you’ll never be able to do what you truly want to. You will also be living in a state of stress and lack. Being immersed in that energy 24/7 is a trap and will keep you locked in to a cycle of resentment.

2. Break free of the ‘feast & famine’ rollercoaster

This is especially obvious for the self-employed and entrepreneurs, but it holds true for any of us really. You should seek wealth in order to create stability and avoid the cycle of feast and famine.

Independent contractors will know how this feels: you land a contract/job for a decent sum of money. Instantly, before it’s even hit your account, you’re spending it on several different things.

You’ve already created a plan for giving it away!

The ‘famine’ periods stoke this need to satiate our spend-lust, when funds finally do come in. We end up saving nothing for a rainy day or our future, and the cycle starts over again.

Once more: this will lead to resentment and stress, not great mindsets from which to manage your business. And by “your business” I am also referring to people in a job because, despite working for someone else, you are still conducting business on your behalf. You have a reputation to uphold and a career to build.

If you are an entrepreneur or otherwise self-employed; start a habit of financial planning. You need to get smart about putting money away for tax, your pension, future uncertainty etc… If you work for someone else and they offer a generous pension scheme, health plan and so on: you can still adopt this mentality. See a portion of your wages, however small, as being there to further stabalize and insulate you from fluctuating finances.

Now more than ever, we should all be aware of the temporary nature of our incomes. No matter how ‘tenured’ you might feel in your current situation, the rug can be pulled under dire enough circumstances.

3. Take yourself out of ‘decision overload’

You’re not the best at everything. Sorry. None of us are. Why then, do we so often try to manage our lives, businesses, relationships by ourselves?

We all have a zone of genius, but many of us are kept from being in it by insufficient wealth. We end up fighting all of the fires, lurching from one problem to another, without giving any one issue our proper attention. That’s why we need to help of others, and that’s also why we need to have the wealth to pay for it.

We are so used to being able to google things and find “free” advice online, but this is a misnomer. It’s a false economy. When you are able to hire people to make those decisions for you and solve those problems that are most aligned with their zone of genius, you are free to spend more time in yours!

By doing this, there is no end to the progress you can make. My good friend and mentor Greg s. Reid told me a story once about a billionaire who became the world champion at Wii Tennis. Why? Because he had honed his zone of genius so well, that he was incredibly valuable. With his resources he employed others who could bring their own genius to his business. He therefore had so much spare time that he could become the world champion at a computer game.

You don’t have to be the world champion of Wii Tennis, but the point is: by having to make all the decisions, you will find yourself very quickly backed into a position of overload, overwhelm and shut down. You’ll be bogged down so much, that the work people actually pay you to do will suffer, and your value/stock will drop.

Having the resources to outsource those decisions and that work to the best people, will enable you to do what you do best and allow you to charge a premium for your time, by bringing your zone of genius to serve someone else.

I could go on. There are so many reasons to seek wealth, that have nothing to do with personal greed. It all comes down to intention and why you are seeking that wealth. If you act with integrity and do so in order to be of maximum service; there is no limit to what you can do.

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First United promotes Kelly C. Effland to Wealth Advisor

BERKELEY COUNTY — Keith R. Sanders, senior vice president and senior trust officer, and Jennifer L. Jones, vice president, senior wealth advisor and team leader, with First United Bank & Trust, are proud to announce the promotion of Kelly C. Effland to wealth advisor, serving Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland and Berkeley County.

Effland has seven years of local financial services planning. She began her financial services career as a relationship manager in Winchester after graduating from Shepherd University with a bachelors’ degree in business administration, with a concentration in financial planning. From there, she progressed through various trust and investment roles and most recently served as an associate wealth advisor in Hagerstown.

Effland is a Certified Financial Planner.™ She also holds Series 7, Series 63, Series 65 and Maryland Life and Health Insurance licenses. Most recently, she held the position of wealth advisor associate.

“We are very excited to announce Kelly’s promotion to wealth advisor as a part of the First United Wealth Management team. Her financial services knowledge and her ability to create relationships will continue to serve her, our customers and the community extremely well. Congratulations Kelly!” Jones said.

Effland is active in the community. She is the current treasurer for the Junior League of the Eastern Panhandle, attends chamber of commerce functions in various counties and is active in a local GenNext chapter for young professionals.

Effland resides in Hagerstown with her husband and two children. In her free time, Effland loves anything outdoors, especially hiking with her dogs. She also enjoys spending time with friends, watching movies and traveling. Her office is located at the Riverside Community Office at 1990 Monocacy Boulevard, Frederick, MD 21701 and she can contacted directly by calling 301-662-4507.

First United Corporation operates one full-service commercial bank, First United Bank & Trust. The bank has a network of community offices in Garrett, Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties in Maryland, as well as Mineral, Berkeley, Harrison and Monongalia counties in West Virginia. As of Dec. 31, 2021, the Corporation posted assets of $1.8 billion. First United’s website can be located at


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A million new millionaires were created in U.S. last year, and the richest got richer, report says

  • The roaring stock market and crypto gains created more than a million new millionaires in the U.S. last year, according to a new report.
  • The number of Americans with $1 million or more in investible assets surged to a record 14.6 million in 2021, according to a report from wealth research firm the Spectrem Group.
  • The wealthiest Americans got richer, too, as they were able to afford to make higher-risk investments that turned into strong returns.

The roaring stock market and crypto gains created more than a million new millionaires in the U.S. last year, according to a new report.

The number of Americans with $1 million or more in investible assets surged to a record 14.6 million in 2021, up from 13.3 million in 2020, according to a report from wealth research firm the Spectrem Group.

The growth rate of over 10% was the strongest in years, boosted by trillions of dollars in wealth created by the stock market, crypto and other assets.

“It was the strongest year ever for millionaire creation in all segments,” said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group.

The wealth surge was strongest at the top. The number of Americans worth $25 million or more surged by 18%. There are now a record 252,000 Americans worth $25 million or more, up from 214,000 in 2020. By contrast, the number of so-called “mass affluent” investors — or those with between $100,000 and $1 million — grew by about 2%.

The stock market was by far the largest engine of wealth creation for millionaires and the wealthy in 2021. The S&P 500 gained 27% last year, while the Nasdaq was up 21%. The wealthiest 1% of Americans gained over $3 trillion in stock-market wealth in 2021, according to Federal Reserve data.

Crypto and other assets — such as NFTs, collectibles and real estate — also gained in value, adding to the wealth of the wealthy. The total market cap of crypto assets, despite wild swings in prices, gained $1.5 trillion last year to over $2.3 trillion, according to CoinGecko.

Values of private-equity and venture-capital investments also surged. Since the wealthy can afford to put more of their money in investments, especially those with the highest risks and rewards, ultra-millionaires benefitted more than the mass affluent in 2021.

“The wealthy have the greatest exposure to the broadest investments,” Walper said. “It wasn’t just traditional liquid markets that did well last year. It was also alternative investments, real-estate investments and crypto.”

The wealth gains at the top also widened the wealth gap in the U.S. The share of wealth held by the top 1% grew to a record 32% last year, according to the Fed.

Wealth experts say it’s unlikely that last year’s gains will be sustained in 2022, given soaring inflation, rising interest rates and a potential economic slowdown. Stock market declines have already started trimming the paper fortunes of investors. The Nasdaq is down 14.5% for the year, while the S&P is down 8.4%.

“Every day changes, so it’s hard to predict where the year will wind up,” Walper said. “But the first few months of 2022 have already painted a different picture than 2021.”

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