“So, how did you get as wealthy as you are?”
In our latest wealth segmentation series study, Financial Behaviors and the Investor’s Mindset, we asked Millionaires with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million (not including primary residence) what factors led to the creation of their wealth. They were given the choice of 11 factors, and were allowed to select as many as they felt deserved notice as a wealth creation factor.
“The first question one might ask a wealthy investor is ‘How did you acquire your wealth?’,’’ said Spectrem president George H. Walper Jr. “While hard work and education are the most popular answers, it is revealing to see how many other choices are selected, and how many investors credit factors that involve good fortune.”
“Hard work” is the answer most often selected, and 96 percent of Millionaires credited hard work as a factor in their wealth. That, of course, means 4 percent did not credit hard work as a reason for their financial success.
When the investors were segmented by age, only 80 percent of Millennial investors (under the age of 36) said “hard work’’ was a factor. However, for all investors over the age of 36, at least 94 percent gave credit to pure effort.
Segmented by occupation, 100 percent of Senior Corporate Executives and 100 percent of Business Owners credited hard work for their financial success.
The benefit of a good education goes a long way toward creating success in any field, and the same is true when it comes to gathering wealth. Eighty-six percent of investors credited their education for their wealth level (which again means 14 percent did not).
Again, the youngest investors were less likely to select “education’’ as a factor, with only 80 percent giving a nod to those that taught them how to do what they do to make money.
Two other factors were selected by at least 80 percent of Millionaires. “Smart investing’’ was selected by 81 percent of Millionaires, including 85 percent of Baby Boomers but only 40 percent of Millennials, while 80 percent of investors noted ‘frugality’’ played a role. Occupationally, only 63 percent of Professionals (doctors and lawyers) selected “frugality”.
Only one other factor out of the 11 was selected by at least 50 percent of Millionaires. “Taking risk’’ was noted by 63 percent of Millionaires, including 71 percent of Gen X investors (between the ages of 36 and 51) and 85 percent of Business Owners. Like with “frugality’’, only 54 percent of Professionals selected “taking risk”,
So, if there are Millennial Millionaires who don’t credit hard work, education, smart investing or taking risks for their wealth, what do they give credit to?
Sixty percent of Millennial Millionaires selected “inheritance’’, well above the 31 percent of all Millionaire investors. Forty percent selected “family connections” (to just 8 percent overall), and 40 percent selected “luck” (to just 33 percent overall).
Interestingly, Millennial Millionaires did profess to one factor involving effort more than other investors did. Forty percent of Millennial Millionaires selected “running my own business’’ was a factor, while only 19 percent of all investors did so.
Overall, 39 percent of Millionaires selected “decisions made for me by my financial advisor”, including 55 percent of World War II Millionaires (over the age of 70), and 62 percent of Senior Corporate Executives.