How long does it take for the average rich person to become rich?
Ten years, 20 years? How about a minimum of 32 years?
That’s how long it took the average self-made millionaire, according to my data. And let me repeat — that’s the minimum.
It took 38 years for 52% and 42 years for 21%. Only a handful, 4%, became wealthy in less than 27 years.
Let me share some of my research with you. 76% of the wealthy in my Rich Habits Study were what you would call self-made millionaires. They came from non-wealthy households. 31% of them came from poor households, and 45% came from middle-class households.
What’s even more compelling is the age in which these self-made millionaires actually rang the bell and struck it rich. Here’s the breakdown from my study:
- 1% became wealthy before the age of 40
- 3% became wealthy between age 40 and 55
- 16% became wealthy between age 46 and 50
- 28% became wealthy between age 51 and 55
- 31% became wealthy between age 56 and 60
- 21% became wealthy after the age of 60
The romanticized notion of getting rich quick always finds an eager audience. We are stimulated by stories about the young and the wealthy. The immediate success of youthful billionaires like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin play to our get-rich-quick emotions.
We obsess over stories about lottery winners — and the lottery people know it. California’s lottery catchphrase is “Imagine what a buck could do.” New York’s lottery catchphrase is “Dollar and a dream.” Australia’s got a dandy: “Live a lotto life.” There is even a popular reality TV show called “Lottery Changed My Life” about how the lives of lottery winners were changed. Immediate gratification, especially when it comes to wealth accumulation, is the rallying cry of many in the modern world these days.
Unfortunately, getting rich quickly is a rare phenomenon. It’s clear from the above data that accumulating wealth takes a very long time. It just doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, 80% of the self-made millionaire in my study did not become wealthy until after age 50.
What may be even more disconcerting to the get rich crowd is that 27% of these self-made millionaires tried and failed at least once in business. Any entrepreneur reading this who has failed knows exactly what failing means. It turns your life upside down. It often results in bankruptcy. Families fracture and life is hard, when you fail. The path to riches, it turns out, is a long lonely one, paved with many potholes and numerous dead ends.
Those few who soldier on, are seasoned veterans in the world of entrepreneurs, deserving of their own, well-deserved catchphrase: self-made millionaires.