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You Won’t Believe These 10 Millionaire Facts

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 11/24/2023 12 min read

What percent of millionaires are self-made — and can you do it yourself? What are the daily habits of successful people, and what financial goals should you have to reach financial independence within your lifetime?

These are all good questions — I think you’ll be surprised by how much the accumulation of wealth isn’t dependent on having some unreachable social status or owning Berkshire Hathaway. There are a lot of myths about millionaires that just need to go away.

As a teacher, I talk to a lot of different students.

The one thing that always surprises me is how much people put themselves down.

“Tim,” they’ll say. “I know I could never be a millionaire; I just want to earn enough to pay off my student loans or to put my kids through college.”

Well, today, I’m going to let you in on a few secrets the financial world knows about millionaires that most “normal people” don’t. Not only are millionaires more common than you’ll ever believe, there are still a huge number of opportunities out there for you to build a true generational wealth of your own.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the facts…

Fact #1: Most Millionaires Are Self-Made

Only 21% of millionaires inherited their wealth. The other 79% are self-made millionaires.

So many people tell me that they’ll never get rich because they didn’t come from a wealthy family. Well, guess what? I didn’t either. You don’t have to be Warren Buffett or Jeff Bezos to get ahead in this country.

Wealth inequality and income inequality are real things in this country. But there’s not a big difference between most wealthy people and the average person.

Most of the millionaires out there did it themselves. They didn’t rely on mom or dad to give them a helping hand — they went out and made things happen on their own.

Hell, I got my start with just over $12,000. My best student, Tim Grittani, started with far less than that. All you need is a few thousand dollars to build your first penny stock portfolio — and that’s something that anybody, anywhere, can put together if they’re dedicated enough.

Fact #2: The Average Millionaire Goes Bankrupt at Least 3.5 Times

I love this fact. Businesses use bankruptcy all the time when it suits their financials, and yet we have so much shame when it happens personally.

And I’m not saying that you should go out and file 3-4 bankruptcies to increase your chances of becoming a millionaire — just that you shouldn’t be embarrassed if it happens to you.

It nearly happened to me. Read all about how I made a fortune and nearly lost it all in my book, “An American Hedge Fund.”

You can get it here at no cost.

Be as responsible for your finances as you can, but if you happen to fail, use it as a learning opportunity that makes you better. Just because you’ve failed once doesn’t mean that your millionaire dreams are out of reach.

Fact #3: One Out of Every 11 U.S. Adults Is a Millionaire

This one is pretty crazy too. Being a millionaire seems so rare and unachievable, but the odds are you come across millionaires every day.

They may not be as flashy as me, but they certainly aren’t rare. Millionaires are out there, and they’re quite common. There’s no reason you can’t be a part of that club.

Fact #4: There Are 1,700 New Millionaires Every Day

The same goes for this fact. I’m not sharing this because I want to impress you; instead, I want you to see how attainable the idea of becoming a millionaire really is.

Look at it this way… You’re sitting here, right now, reading this article.

In the time it took you to read this section, one person became a millionaire.

Was it you? Why not? Don’t think it’s unachievable; people are literally doing it more than once EVERY MINUTE. There’s no reason it can’t be you, as long as you’re committed to studying and working hard at your chosen path to riches.

Fact #5: Half of All Millionaires Are Self-Employed

This is another fact I love because it emphasizes the fact that you don’t have to be born into money to become a millionaire. You also don’t have to work your entire life, saving penny after penny in the hopes that — 60 years down the road — your net worth will qualify you for the seven-figure club.

You can take things into your own hands. People do every day. People start their own businesses, they learn stock trading, or they find some other way to build real wealth for themselves.

Really, it’s just up to you to get started.

Fact #6: Most Millionaires Are Still Working

Only 20% of millionaires are retirees. Around 80% still go to work.

I bet you think that, if you became a millionaire, you’d retire to some tropical island somewhere and spend your days sipping fruity drinks by the water.

I’m guessing you’d be wrong.

I’m one of those millionaires that fall into the 80% that’s still working. Believe me, I have enough in my bank accounts that I could shut this website down tomorrow and never work another day in my life.

But as I’ve grown as a trader and entrepreneur, I’ve come to realize that there’s so much more to life than just accumulating wealth. I’m committed to helping others by teaching, and to giving back to the community through my Timothy Sykes Foundation. I never want to stop working because, for me, working means helping others.

I truly hope that one day – hopefully soon – you get to experience the incredible feeling of working on something you care about, even when you don’t have to.

Fact #7: The Number of U.S. Millionaires Increased 440,000% in 122 Years

In the year 1900, there were only 5,000 millionaires in the United States. In 2022, there were more than 22 million.

How cool is that? That’s a 440,000% increase in the number of millionaires in just one country, in just over 100 years. In the 19th century, American millionaires were only the elite…

In the 21st century, U.S. millionaires comprised 8.8% of the adult population!

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all the good opportunities have dried up; that all the good ideas have been taken. There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity out there — you just have to take it.

Fact #8: The Average Millionaire Is 57 Years Old 

On average, millionaires are 57 years old with $2.2 million in assets.

I’m sharing this fact with you as a cautionary tale. It’s fine that most people don’t become millionaires until their late fifties, and $2.2 million in assets is nothing to scoff at.

But wouldn’t you rather have that kind of wealth earlier in life, when you’re better able to enjoy it?

A lot of Baby Boomers reached millionaire status through careful saving and years of work. And that’s great, but I’m advocating a different approach.

Instead of pinching pennies and living a ramen noodle life, look for opportunities to grow a small amount of money quickly — then do that over and over again. Penny stock trading gives you that chance.

You’re never going to earn a 20-40% return on your money investing in blue-chip stocks or “safe” bonds. But me and my students do it every day with penny stocks.

Fact #9: The Average Millionaire Takes 18 Tries To Really Succeed

The average millionaire dibs and dabbles in 17 different businesses, concepts, schemes, enterprises, but doesn’t hit it big until the 18th try.

This is another incredibly powerful fact for me, because I hear from plenty of students who have failed at so many other money-making ideas that they’re convinced they’re doomed to be failures.

Well, guess what? You’re only a failure if you stop trying.

I’m living proof of how true that can be. Back in 2007, I lost $500,000 on a single trade. I didn’t follow the rules I had set for myself, and because I believed in the company itself, I thought I knew better than what the numbers were showing me.

I was wrong, and it sucked. It absolutely sucked. But I came away from the experience a bruised, but better trader. Really, there’s no way I’d be the trader or the teacher I am today without that painful reminder of the importance of risk management.

Again, I’m telling you all of this because I don’t ever want you to give up on your dream of becoming a millionaire. If it takes most people an average of 18 tries before they get things right, what number are you on? How many times have you tried and failed so far?

Those aren’t failures; they’re lessons. And if you’re dedicated enough to the idea of building real wealth for your family, you’ll learn how to extract wisdom from them and use them to get closer to your winning idea.

Fact #10: You Probably Haven’t Missed Your Chance 

The average millionaire doesn’t become a millionaire until age 37.

Your chances of becoming a millionaire haven’t passed you by just because you weren’t some tech startup hotshot. And if you’re older already, know that it’s not too late for you to realize your dream as well.

In my Trading Challenge coaching program, I work with everyone from college students, who are setting themselves up to avoid a lifetime of crappy jobs and low pay, to senior citizens, who are using my teachings to help them build the retirement they want — rather than the one they can afford.

It doesn’t matter who you are, when you’re starting, or how much money you’ve got in the bank. If you’re dedicated to studying hard and working your ass off, I can teach you to become a millionaire through penny stock trading.

Join me?

What are YOU doing to reach your goals? Let me know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

What proportion of millionaires are self-made?

A significant majority of millionaires are self-made. According to the book “The Millionaire Next Door,” about 80% of millionaires earned their wealth on their own, rather than inheriting it. This statistic underscores the potential for financial success through personal effort and smart financial strategies.

What is the rate of self-made billionaires?

The rate of self-made billionaires varies globally, but a growing trend shows an increase in self-made billionaires compared to those who inherited their wealth. For example, the Forbes Billionaires List often indicates that a substantial portion of the world’s billionaires made their fortunes through their own entrepreneurial endeavors, investments, and business acumen.

How many millionaires started with nothing?

While exact numbers are hard to pinpoint, a significant portion of millionaires started with little to no financial backing. Success stories abound of individuals who began their journey to wealth from modest beginnings, emphasizing the role of hard work, perseverance, and smart financial decisions in building wealth. This includes many who have made fortunes in areas like penny stock trading, where initial investments can be relatively small.

Are self-made millionaires happier?

Happiness among self-made millionaires can vary widely and depends on individual perspectives and life choices. While financial security can provide a sense of accomplishment and reduce stress related to financial constraints, true happiness often stems from personal fulfillment, relationships, and a sense of purpose. Many self-made millionaires find joy in their achievements, the journey of building their wealth, and the opportunities it provides to pursue their passions and give back to the community.

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”