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How much do you need to feel rich?

In the wake of the series of jaw-dropping EuroMillions Rollovers in recent weeks, lottery fever has gripped the UK. And while the opportunity to win a massive mega-jackpot worth more than pounds 100m has sent the inhabitants of South Wales into a ticket-buying frenzy, what does it take to feel really rich?

According to a pan-European study commissioned by The National Lottery', undertaken among more than 4,500 people from eight countries, almost a quarter of the UK population (24 per cent) claim they would need pounds 25m or more to feel exceptionally wealthy. When it comes to the amount of money people think they need to feel rich, the research into current attitudes towards wealth in Europe - and the status symbols that go with it - revealed that a further 17 per cent of UK adults wanted pounds 100m or more.

Expectations in this country may be high, but not as high as in Switzerland, where 25 per cent of people would want pounds 100m or more; in Spain, where the figure stands at 29 per cent; or Portugal, where it's a whopping 56 per cent. Overall, Portugal topped this league of nations, with 70 per cent of the Portuguese saying they needed over pounds 25m to feel rich - the UK came sixth overall. In comparison, perceptions among people in South Wales are a lot more modest, as only 17 per cent of residents claim they would need pounds 25m or more, while just 11 per cent say they would like more than pounds 100m - coming in well below the UK average.

Across Europe, everyone agreed on one thing: the ultimate, number-one status symbol is a private jet. However, while people in the UK rate first-class travel and a private pool among their top five indicators of wealth, they do not feature in the lists for residents of France, Spain, Austria and Portugal. These countries rate personal shoppers and ownership of expensive jewellery much higher.

Attitudes across Europe differ: the French prove their love of fashion, with 58 per cent stating that couture clothing is a symbol of wealth; in Switzerland, 53 per cent rate 'no mortgage' as one of the greatest signs of affluence; in Spain, 60 per cent of people claim having staff is a clear statement of wealth - while 70 per cent of Austrians think owning a big house shows you are very rich.

On a local level, what does all this mean for South Wales then?

The EuroMillions study found that all over Wales, just like the UK as a whole, private jets and fast cars came out as the most popular trappings of wealth - at 95 per cent and 81 per cent respectively.

Rather like the results for the Spanish, among Welsh respondents, more than half would feel truly wealthy if they had staff working for them (51 per cent), compared to only 41 per cent in the UK as a whole - while 48 per cent of people in Wales think that owning a holiday home is a sign of true wealth, in contrast to 36 per cent nationally.

To win the EuroMillions jackpot - which stands at an estimated pounds 120m tonight - players need to match five main numbers from one to 50 and two Lucky Star numbers from one to nine.

EuroMillions offers a greater range of prizes than any other National Lottery draw-based game.

EuroMillions costs pounds 1.50 to play and the draw is shown every Friday on Challenge TV at 9.55pm.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 17, 2006
Words:581
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