If you search for images of millionaires over the web, what do you see? People in nice black suits, tall hats, and fancy cars. Maybe pictures of your favorite celebrities or athletes?
A millionaire is someone with net assets of at least seven digits— that’s assets minus liabilities. In contrast, most celebrity net worth estimates you see on Google are based on income, which is not even a factor in the calculation. To the average millionaire-wanna-be, celebrity success stories are as useless as a knitted condom.
So when I heard Dave Ramsey’s deputy, Chris Hogan is coming up with the largest survey of everyday millionaires. I got excited and acquired a free digital copy of the book.
How ordinary people built extraordinary wealth
According to the Spectrem Group, there are 11.8 million households in America with a net worth of more than $1 million. That number seems a lot, but that’s just roughly 3% of the US population.
Chris Hogan and his team completed what they claim is the largest, most comprehensive research study of millionaires in history— 10,000 millionaires in total.
That’s relatively a small subset, but I believe it’s an adequate representation of everyday millionaires— the type that would call in the Dave Ramsey radio show. Besides, that’s far more millionaires than authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko’s surveyed in the Millionaire Next Door.
Debunking the millionaire myths
In the book, Hogan shares the top three millionaire myths and tells you why they’re absolutely wrong.
Myth #1: The wealthy didn’t earn and don’t deserve their money.
79% of millionaires received zero inheritance at all from their parents. Most earned it all on their own. Nothing extraordinary happened to enhance their wealth.
Discipline and hard work are the key factors. If luck played a role, it was being born as a citizen of the United States.
Myth #2: The wealthy take big risks with their money.
Millionaires avoid unnecessary risks. 90% of millionaires interviewed have never taken out a business loan. 79% reached millionaire status through their employer-sponsored retirement plan.
They understand that it takes decades of consistent investing to reach millionaire status. The average millionaire hit the $1 million mark for the first time at 49 years old.
Not a single millionaire put buying a single stock in their top three wealth-contribution factors.
Myth #3: The wealthy have a leg up in education and careers.
Most wealthy people didn’t go to prestigious private schools. 62% of the millionaire interviewed graduated from public state schools. In contrast, 58% of the general population attended public state schools but only a 33% graduation rate.
Millionaires generally don’t have high-paying jobs either. The top three occupations are engineer, accountant, and teacher. Being a physician or a lawyer is not in the top professions!
One thing that separates the haves from the have-not is the attitude millionaires have toward money.
The common attributes of millionaires
Hogan and his team surveyed millionaires across the US and discovered that some of their beliefs and actions overlapped. Here are five specific things that these people think and do:
1. They take personal responsibility
Millionaires don’ t play the victim card by blaming the government. Instead, they own their own mess by keeping track of their personal situation. They make a clear picture of where they are financially by calculating their net worth.
2. They practice intentionality
Millionaires live on less than they make. They plan, have a written budget, and avoid debt. They drive older cars with no car payments.
3. They are goal-oriented
Most consider themselves as planners. They develop a long-term plan for their money. They set S.M.A.R.T. goals for their money, like paying off their house and saving at least 10% of their income.
4. They are hard workers
Millionaires have a very strong work ethic. A great majority enjoyed what they did for a career. Most loved their jobs and never stop learning new things. They believe that challenging themselves will make them smarter.
5. They are consistent
Being consistent requires patience and passion. Millionaires are committed to their long-term goals for the long haul. They understand the power of compound interest. As a result, most got wealthy by investing consistently in their company-sponsored retirement plans.
Other Interesting Statistics
- 89% of those surveyed have a net worth between $1 million and $5 million. The rest have a net worth of well over $5 million.
- 82% have no car payments.
- 80% are married, compared to 49% of the general population.
- 80% never borrowed money from their friends.
- 68% of the millionaires with a college degree never took out a penny in student loans.
- 52% have a graduate or terminal degree like a Ph.D., compared to 12% of the general population.
Should you buy the book?
The book is full of inspiring case studies of ordinary people winning with money. If you’re interested in reading their success stories, this book is for you.
More so, if you’re the type who still needs convincing that owning your own home and investing in your company-sponsored retirement plans is your best chance of becoming a millionaire— you should buy the book and devour it from cover to cover.
But being an avid listener of the Dave Ramsey podcast— nothing is enlightening about this book.