people often use the word "rich" to mean someone who has a high income, regardless of their assets, cash flow or net worth. is there a more appropriate word? or is the phrase "high incoming earner" as good as it gets?

e.g. "the tax concerns of a rich person are distinct from the tax concerns of a high income individual."

update: i have accepted "lucrative", and intend to use it to contrast "lucrative people" and "rich people". i think a nice runner up is "high earner", and h.e.n.r.y. is a pleasant sidenote.

thanks everyone for the help :)

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    "upper-income", perhaps? – Zubin Mukerjee Nov 19 '15 at 19:04
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    Can you be more specific about the parameters you are looking for? Are you looking for a term from economics or political science? How will it be used? The answer could be anything from yuppie to parvenu to affluent to loaded — all with very different uses and connotations. – choster Nov 19 '15 at 19:15
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    I think he is looking for something which specifically describes someone with a high income, and not someone who is wealthy from other means. – user116295 Nov 19 '15 at 19:32
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    You might say that they are well paid or that they have a high-paying job – Jim Nov 19 '15 at 21:43
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    i have desired this word in many contexts over the years. usually in the context of personal finance. e.g. "the tax concerns of a wealthy individual are different from those of a high income individual." i shall update my answer as such. – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:48

You could use the word lucrative:

Producing wealth; profitable: a lucrative income; a lucrative marketing strategy.

This could be used to say they have a lucrative position at their job.

  • excellent answer. i am not sure why you were down-voted. this does sound a bit awkward, but i bet that rough edge could wear down quickly if the usage got momentum. – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:42
  • I think this was likely down-voted because 1. OP asks for a noun and this is an adjective and 2. The example sentence (lucrative position at their job) is not well-formed. You might say they have “a lucrative job”. But if I wish to refer to the group of “1-percenters”, for example, how do I do that with lucrative? “The lucrative jobbers??” – Jim Nov 21 '15 at 17:21
  • @Jim "those with lucrative jobs/incomes"? – user116295 Nov 21 '15 at 17:23
  • technically, i was looking for an alternative to "rich" (an adjective), although, i admit it was confusing since i also mentioned the phrase "high income earner" which acts as a noun. i shall accept this answer since it best fits my personal needs and writing style. – james turner Nov 24 '15 at 18:23

If you are referring to people who have just a high income, but not big assets:

  • High Earners, Not Rich Yet (HENRYs) are young, usually well educated, and highly paid but have not accumulated significant wealth yet.

In finance a common definition for those who have also big assets is:

High-net -worth individuals:

  • A high-net-worth individual (HNWI) is a person with a high net worth. In the western, and primarily American, private banking business, these individuals typically are defined as having investable finance (financial assets, excluding primary residence) in excess of US$1 million in constant 2006 dollars.


  • i like "henry", but i would rather have a proper word than an acronym. +1 for you, sir. – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:43
  • also, henry's are not wealthy by definition, and i would rather find a term that includes high earners of any net worth, rich or poor. – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:51
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    i suppose just "high earners" by itself is a pretty good suggestion. although, it does at least imply that the income was "earned" instead of "passive", an important distinction in US tax law. – james turner Nov 24 '15 at 18:20
  • @jamesturner - Your choice, but I am surprised by what you think is the appropriate answer to your question. I may have misunderstood it. – user66974 Nov 24 '15 at 18:40

I don't think you can find a single-word that expresses it better than "high-income earner". In specific cases you might say "high income client" or "high income businessman". If we had a better term, the financial world would be using it.


The term, which has now become somewhat derogatory, is one percenter.

To be a one percenter, your income has to be above a certain amount, which varies by state. This term solely applies to income. Meaning, you cannot be labeled as such if you only have a high net worth, you must earn more than the state defined amount.

For more info. http://www.financialsamurai.com/the-top-one-percent-income-levels-by-state/

  • This is true of the term as originally popularized by the Occupy Wall Street (and related) movement, but that hasn't stopped one percenter or the one percent from being used for wealth or other measures, including by those who might be thought sympathetic to OWS. Consider this Vanity Fair article. – choster Nov 19 '15 at 22:08
  • even if you assume "one percenter" is specifically about income, it seems odd that you would limit the scope state-by-state. but i suppose the occupy movement might lose some steam if they gave up everyone making over 35k$ per year (source: globalrichlist.com). – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:38

Consider, high incomers.

incomer [from INCOME noun + -ER]: a person who earns a specified kind or level of income. Usu. with specifying word. high incomer, low incomer, etc. Seadict.com

VAN HOLLEN: Well, there are two parts of the fiscal cliff, right? One is the sequester we're talking about and the other part is the tax piece. And what the president has said on that is very clear. That we should immediately extend tax relief to 98 percent of the American people, in fact, 100 percent based on their first $250,000 income.

Republicans have said we're going to hold middle class taxpayers hostage. We're not going to give tax relief to 98 percent of the American people, unless, very high incomers, people like Mitt Romney, get a bonus tax break. I don't think that that's a sustainable position come January 1st. CNN

  • its a decent suggestion. it seems a little vague out of context, but in context it works. e.g. "are you a high incomer?" has a very different meaning in an emergency room than a financial adviser's office. – james turner Nov 24 '15 at 18:16

It could be described as "well off" perhaps. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/well-off

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    Doesn't "well-off" mean the same as "rich", rather than referring specifically to high income? – Rand al'Thor Nov 19 '15 at 19:34
  • i considered "well off" and "well heeled" since they seem to imply high-spending, which correlates better with high income than high wealth. nonetheless, not exactly what i am seeking. – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:45

Whilst essentially a synonym for rich you might want to consider wealthy.

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    i appreciate the effort, but i did consult a thesaurus before posing my question. – james turner Nov 19 '15 at 22:45

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