This is something we’ve all asked ourselves after a long hard day at work, is it possible for a regular person to become wealthy and quit their job? Well it may be easier than you think (depending on where you’re from of course), we discuss this below in more detail. 

The Average Millionaire is not What you Think

Society has us believing that the vast majority of millionaires and the wealthiest among us are born that way, their parents passed down their wealth from generation to generation and it’s almost impossible to break into that special group of people if you come from a normal background. We’ve actually discussed in detail why family fortunes tend to disappear here if you’re interested. But in summary very wealth family’s like the Rothschilds or the Rockefeller’s tend to lose wealth over time as the family grows bigger from generation to generation, there’s family disputes, the entrepreneurial spirit isn’t passed on and in the case of the Rockefeller family they’ve given significant sums of money to philanthropy. 

If we scale this down to a family with millions and not billions, it’s easy to see why generational wealth isn’t as common as it’s made out to be. 

According to the Millionaire Next Door, the average millionaire is actually a blue collar worker who typically owns a small business and lives a reasonably frugal life. Think the plumber or electrician next door to you. If you consider a millionaire to be ‘rich’ or ‘wealthy’ (as we do) then perhaps it’s easier than you think and doesn’t require a degree in medicine or rich parents after all. 

Where you Lives Plays a Role

This ones pretty obvious but the western world (and some other countries such as China) make it easier for one to become rich. If you’re born in certain parts of South America or Africa you’re not going to have access to the same education, healthcare or opportunities and it can often be difficult to migrate to a country where you may be able to start at the bottom and work your way up. The good news is the 2020s is predicted to be the decade for the ‘emerging markets’. If you’re from India, Brazil or Mexico (plus many, many more) it might be easier for you to become wealthier now than your parents before you. 

Your Job also Plays a Role

Another obvious one, how much you earn has a potential to impact if you become rich or not (shocker I know). Earnings is just one part of the story though, sure if you’re a lawyer, doctor or engineer there’s a good chance you’ll be able to save a lot more than someone working as a janitor although Ronald Read might beg to differ. Read was a janitor and gas station attendant that died with a fortune of over $8 million by living frugally and investing, not bad right? Imagine what he could have amassed on a doctors salary. 

Attitude is Everything 

If you’re from a western nation then chances are you have the ability to become rich through hard work. You’re probably rolling your eyes here but hear me out, if someone becomes a doctor they put in incredible time and effort to get there, now you may not be ‘smart enough to become a doctor’ but what about the plumber next door who is hoarding $1 million under his mattress? If you’re working the same dead end job for 20 or 30 years and wondering why you haven’t got anywhere it’s probably a mentality issue more than anything, as Warren Buffett once said ‘if you don’t find a way to make money when you sleep you’ll be working until you die’. 

If you can’t find a way to make more money then why not save as much you can and invest in the stock market for as long as you can and you will still be much better off down the road even if you don’t consider yourself to be rich. By investing $500 per month in a market index such as the S&P 500 which has an annual long term return of around 9% then after 25 years you would have half a million dollars (plus a considerable bit of change) to show for it. 

Being Rich is not Just About Money

Being rich (in terms of monetary value) is only part of the puzzle, if you can amass enough to retire early or quit your job and work part time then you might be able to consider yourself rich in a non-traditional sense. Whilst we’ve been discussing why it’s easier to become rich in the western world over less developed countries you might find a farmer in South America is much happier than someone working as an accountant in the US. Who’s the richer of the two? I guess it’s up to you to decide. 

Bottom Line

The biggest barrier to being rich seems to be Geography, as you would expect it’s much easier for someone from a developed country to become wealthy. Despite what we’re often led to believe most wealthy people are self made and discipline and perseverance are traits common among them. Stating anyone can become rich is a bit of an oversimplification but a positive attitude goes a long way and if you work hard and invest in your future you’ll no doubt be better off than you would have been otherwise.

The views expressed in this post are the authors and should not be construed as financial advice

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David is an Engineer and Finance Writer educated to masters degree level with sound knowledge in investing, the stock market and personal finance. We hope the information provided on this site can help you achieve your financial goals.

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