Millionaires’ money

Date posted: October 15, 2010

Many people aspire to have more money, and being a millionaire is sometimes held up as the ultimate goal. But there are some misperceptions about millionaires, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.

“I think one of the assumptions is that millionaires overwhelmingly have inherited their money – they haven’t really worked for it. Well, the evidence — if you look at the data — shows that that’s simply not true. Only 20 percent of current millionaires have inherited their wealth. The other 80 percent have actually gone out and earned it.

“Half of millionaires are self-employed, and that sort of makes sense. A lot of them have their own companies. But again how did they get the knowledge and wisdom to start a company and prosper? Well, it’s because they have gone to college — 80 percent of millionaires are college graduates. So there’s a big tie there.

“I think also there’s a misperception about maybe how hard millionaires work -– if you are a millionaire, maybe you don’t have to work very hard. Well, again, the data doesn’t indicate that. Most millionaires actually do work -– in fact, 80 percent of them do so, rather than being retired or simply enjoying their money.

“And then in terms of — and this is a little bit of trivia – in terms of the top car brand owned by millionaires, well you might think they are going to drive exotic foreign-made cars. Actually the top car brand driven by millionaires is Ford.”

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