Over a four-year period, a man by the name of Thomas C. Corley interviewed 233 well-off individuals. 'Well-off' people being those with a net worth high into the millions.
After asking each of them 144 questions and analysing the data over 18 months, Corley identified trends and patterns in how they accumulated their wealth, their saving and spending habits, among a host of other intriguing observations for the everyday bloke looking to chase their paths to success.
Interestingly, patterns did exist, and they came in the form of three common ways to double-comma bank balances.
Just short of 22% of the study sample size. They had zero debt. They broke even with their standard of living from invested savings. Over an average of 32 years, these individuals would accumulate a wealth of roughly $3.4 million USD. They all had these five things in common.
- A low standard of living
- Modest income
- Said income exceeded their standard of living
- Saved 20% or more of their income for many years.
- Smartly invest those savings over time.
The best at what they did - virtuosos in their field or profession. They made up approximately 27% of the study and usually worked for large, public corporations. Stock-based wealth was a primary factor for many, though others were entrepreneurs or small business owners with profitable enterprises. Over just 20 years they would, on average, see a worth of $4 million USD.
The wealthiest group of the study, but also those who took significant risks to get where they were. More than half - 51% - of the study turned their dream into a reality. In just 12 years, the average worth of these individuals was $7.4 million USD.
Corley says that the point to all of this is that there's more than one way to skin a cat. If you don't have a dream, or you're not one to take risks, then there are other ways of becoming rich. Alternatively, become exceptionally good at what you do and the money will flow from there. If you're not a saver or a virtuoso, you better shoot for the stars.
The one common denominator from the study, shared equally between all three types of millionaires, is that almost none of them woke up rich. It takes years of hard work for any of these three avenues to pay off.
I'll leave you with the parting wisdom of Danny Ocean. Think of life as 'the house.'