These two facts are not mutually exclusive, despite the fact that they seem like they should be. The economy has not exactly been fantastic for several years now and has managed to actually wipe out the accumulated wealth of more than a few millionaires — and the number of millionaires in the U.S. will still double in less than ten years.
The Only Game In Town
I’ve got to be honest: I haven’t really noticed any problems with the economy. My business has been growing steadily since the day I opened my doors. I’m not the only one, either. There are plenty of tragic stories of lay offs and unemployment right now, but there are also plenty of stories of people using those lay offs as an opportunity to launch a new business that has brought them incredible success.
There’s a central theme at play in the stories of those individuals who have turned a lost job into a chance to chase something bigger (and who I fully expect to see on the list of millionaires in the future). They each took charge of the situation. They didn’t send out a few resumes and hope for a response. They went out and got to work. An employer no longer had anything for these people to do? No problem — they made their own work, rather than waiting for someone to assign it. In my experience, at least, it’s rare that someone makes a few million dollars by taking a day job.
There are a few millionaires who essentially hold down jobs: there are doctors and lawyers with million dollar practices. If you’re looking for a relatively easy route to a million dollars — and by relatively easy, I mean putting in 80 hours a week until you make partner — those options are certainly on the table. But it’s not a sure thing: just the student debt necessary to get started can cripple your earning prospects for the rest of your life.
Mind the Gap
There is obviously a gap between millionaires (or even people making a few hundred thousand a year) and the rest of the country. Estimates of the actual number of millionaires in the U.S. vary, but we can say with some confidence that less than 10 percent of households in the country have a million dollars in assets.
That’s not a big chunk of the population in reality. With millions unemployed and even more people underemployed, it’s easy enough to say that statistically a person will never jump that gap. That’s only true if you let it be, though.
The real picture is that most people don’t push that hard to move forward. Sure, there are certain parts of the population who face disadvantages, but there are enough millionaires who grew up in trailers or never finished high school or went through hardships that we can still see plenty of class mobility in this country. If your main priority is making a million dollars, it certainly can be done. Do you want it to happen badly enough?
Image by Flickr user ZeroOne