Many millionaires have an ongoing fear of losing their wealth. As a result they feel that they're stuck on a treadmill without an idea how much wealth is needed to make them comfortable enough to jump off, according to a UBS Wealth Management America study, When is enough…enough?

Millennial millionaires, meanwhile, are even more fearful than their elders. (For more, see: Best Banks to Stash My Million Dollars.)

Climbing the Ladder

The study, which surveyed 2,215 investors in the U.S. with more than $1 million in net worth, found that more than three-quarters of millionaires (77%) grew up middle class or below. Working their way up was a conscious aim. Sixty-one percent aspired to become millionaires and almost two-thirds (65%) considered it was an important milestone to reach.

Almost three-quarters of millionaires feel like they have “made it” in life and the majority (85%) attribute their good fortune to hard work. In fact, 44% said hard work was the most important factor in becoming a millionaire.

Wealth Treadmill

The survey also found that with greater wealth comes a higher expectation for a better standard of living. More than half (58%) of millionaires reported increased expectations for their standard of living over the last decade. As a result, they keep striving for more wealth.

These higher expectations aren't without a cost, notably more stress for millionaires about their ability to maintain the lifestyle they've created. As an example, 52% of working millionaires with children at home feel like they are unable to get off the treadmill without sacrificing their family's lifestyle. (For more, see: Asset Protection for High-Net-Worth Individuals.)

“The majority of millionaires say they have worked hard to earn their wealth and appreciate the lifestyle it affords them and their families. But enough never seems to be enough — even the wealthiest continue on the treadmill to achieve a better life,” said Paula Polito, Client Strategy Officer at UBS Wealth Management Americas, in a statement.

No matter how much wealth they have, millionaires are still afraid they could lose it all with one wrong move. Half of those with $1 to $5 million are afraid that one major setback, such as the loss of a job or a market crash would negatively impact their lifestyle significantly. For millionaires who are parents and work full time, the fear is even greater with 63% feeling the same.

Price of Success

Sixty-four percent of millionaires have had to sacrifice family time to follow their dreams. Most (68%) have regrets, such as mistakes in their relationships with a spouse or family.

Wealthy parents with children find that they struggle to achieve a balance in providing the best for their children without spoiling them. Two-thirds feel that their kids take things for granted; the majority are at least a little worried that their children act entitled. (For more, see: Biggest Tax Issues Facing High-Net-Worth Individuals.)

Millennial Millionaires

Millennial millionaires are even more stressed out than older generations. Fifty-two percent are afraid they will lose their wealth entirely. They also worry that they won't live up to their potential (59%). That compares to 54% of Gen Xers and just 24% of Baby Boomers.

They also feel more pressured to keep up with their neighbors (48% for Millennials; 44% for Gen Xers; 22% for Baby Boomers and 14% of the WWII generation).

“Achieving success at such a young age means that Millennials’ wealth has a longer lifespan and therefore a greater chance of being lost, so they have to be more diligent and put in more effort to maintain their fortune and lifestyle,” said Sameer Aurora, Head of Investor Insights for UBS Wealth Management Americas, in a statement. “Millennials, more so than any other generation, are also very conscious of how their lives stack up against their peers, so Millennials tend to put pressure on themselves to earn more and compete for a higher standing in the social hierarchy.

The Bottom Line

Despite their success, many millionaires are afraid of losing their wealth and don’t know when they should jump off the treadmill. Gen Y millionaires, meanwhile, are the most fearful and insecure of the generations when it comes to keeping their wealth and lifestyle. (For more, see: A Financial Advisor's Guide to Millennial Clients.

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