Updated: Apr 7, 2021
I'm gonna be blunt- I get extremely aggravated when I hear people say that they "can't" do something. And even more aggravated when someone tells me that I can't do something.
I have a lot of big goals for my life, some that are all over the board. And I tend to bring up these goals randomly in conversation. One goal that I have is to become a Christian Influencer, and help to change the toxic industry of social media and Hollywood. A very broad goal, but I know that as I grow I'll start to circle in on exactly what I want to do for the industry. I have no doubt in my mind that as I start to gain a following I could accomplish this goal. And I mentioned that the other day, and someone I know very well laughed at me, and told me how I can't do that. "You can't change an industry that has been this way for decades." I was pretty infuriated, to say the least. Just because it may seem like an impossible task to you, doesn't mean that it isn't possible for me. I have very big dreams for myself, and have no doubt that I can accomplish something like that. While I may just seem like a little 19 year old red head girl in your eyes, in my eyes, God put me on this earth to make a difference. He empowered me with perseverance, strength, and strong will to accomplish my goals despite the people who don't believe in me.
Think about this- there actually have been a MULTITUDE of individual people who were able to change the world. Yes, you heard me right, CHANGE THE WORLD. A few of them that come to mind include Martin Luther King, Joan of Arc, George Washington, and so many others.
Those all sound like such powerful names to us now, but think about back during their time. There was a point in time where George Washington was just a 12 year old boy, with regular friends, a regular family, and had he said "I want to help lead a revolution and start a new country that allows for independence from England" his family and friends probably would have thought he was insane. But fast forward over fifty years, Washington not only lead his people to independence, but he actually became the first ever President of the brand new country, The United States. What people may have thought was "impossible" and something that he "couldn't do," Washington did. So if George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Joan of Arc, and many others could do something HUGE, why wouldn't I be able to do something HUGE as well? There is no limitation besides our own selves, letting people who don't believe in us get to us, letting rejection get to us, and letting our own self doubt come in the way between us and a dream.
I think about this a lot. Yes, all of these people did some miraculous things that changed the world, and if you wanna change the world too, I guarantee you CAN. If you feel passionate enough about something, and feel that God put you here to do so, go for it. Focused intensity, over time, multiplied by God, equals unstoppable momentum. And if you are on the opposite side of the spectrum, and that may not be the extent that you as an individual want to go to, that is completely okay too. But my point here is, ONE individual actually can accomplish something huge. You can make a change in the world, the country, or at the very least, your own life.
That leads me to what I wanted to speak about today. Changing your own life. No matter your starting point, you have the ability to make drastic changes in your life and live the life you dream of. Have you ever dreamt of being a millionaire, but thought that it isn't possible? Millionaires all inherited their wealth. They all just relax in their fancy cars and houses while the rest of us slave away. They're evil rich people. Privileged. Ignorant. Born into it. Could never be the rest of us.
Well here's the deal. The culture has been conditioned to believe these things, through the toxicity of social media, lack of research, and paucity of believing in themselves. We have been taught to want instant gratification and entitlement, rather than hard work and dedication. When did our culture go to being indignant with the rich instead of inspired by them?
Before we answer that question, let's look at some factual evidence of what a millionaire in America truly looks like, rather than what the culture assumes.
In January of 2019, Ramsey Solutions released the results of the largest EVER study of millionaires, with over 10,000 participants. Here are just some of the statistics that they found:
1. 79% of millionaires did not receive any inheritance.
2. 8/10 millionaires invested in their company's 401k
3. The top 5 careers for millionaires include engineer, accountant, teacher, management and attorney.
This generation of American's believe that, in order to be rich, you have to have a large salary or a rich family. This study proves that these assumptions are incorrect. Those are some powerful words, but I want to dive deeper into their study and more or less regurgitate exactly what they presented. Most of this is pulled directly from their website, which I will link down below.
What was this study?
"The National Study of Millionaires is a research study conducted by Ramsey Solutions with over 10,000 U.S. millionaires to gain an understanding of personal finance behaviors and attitudes that factored into their financial success. The nationally representative sample was fielded November 17, 2017, to January 31, 2018, using a third-party research panel and the Ramsey Solutions research panel."
By using a third party panel, and a national sample of millionaires, this study was clearly conducted without bias or generalization.
Now, let's beat the cultural myths through some more facts from this study:
"Millionaires don't pay taxes"
"the top 1% of earners in this country pays 40% of the taxes. That number could go even higher with certain tax legislation about to expire. Rich people pay, and then some."
2. " Millionaires inherited their wealth"
Dr. Tom Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door, found through his research that about 20% of millionaires became that way through inheritance. The other 80% are first-generation rich. That means they started from nothing and piled up money. It's very doable.
According to the survey, eight out of 10 millionaires come from families at or below middle-income level. Only 2% of millionaires surveyed said they came from an upper-income family.
“These statistics are a great reminder that it doesn’t matter where you come from. It matters where you’re going. You can achieve big money goals even if you didn’t grow up with a lot of money. You are in control of your financial future,”
- Chris Hogan (American Radio Host, Author, and Personal Finance Expert)
3. "Millionaire's make a salary that us average people could never make."
The majority of millionaires in this survey didn’t have high-level, high-salary jobs. In fact, only 15% of millionaires were in senior leadership roles, such as vice president or C-suite roles (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.). Ninety-three percent (93%) of millionaires said they got their wealth because they worked hard, not because they had big salaries.
Only 31% averaged $100,000 a year over the course of their career, and one-third never made six figures in any single working year of their career.
“I’ve talked to a lot of millionaires, and most of them have average jobs with average pay, like teachers or firefighters. It just goes to show that how you spend and invest the money you make matters more than how much you actually bring home,” said Hogan.
4. "Millionaire's have to go to a big college"
Almost two-thirds of millionaires (62%) graduated from public state schools, while only 8% went to a prestigious private school. But the bulk of millionaires did get that piece of paper.
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of millionaires graduated from college, compared to 33% of the general population. And over half (52%) of the millionaires in the study earned a master’s or doctoral degree, compared to 12% of the general population.
“The fact that the average millionaire didn’t go to an elite school is great news for many Americans who can’t afford an expensive education. The state university or community college can provide a solid foundation for the future. You don’t need a prestigious diploma to win with money"
Overall, the National Study of Millionaires showed a dramatic difference between how Americans thinkwealthy people get their money and how they actually earn and spend their money.
“Anyone in America can build wealth. The only thing holding you back is you. Get out of debt. Save consistently. Keep your spending in check. Let time and compound interest do their magic. If you’re willing to work hard and keep the long-term goal in mind, you’ll reach the million-dollar milestone,” said Hogan.
Ok, so it's obvious that these myths have been busted. But, all that to be said, how DID these people become rich, and how can YOU do the same?
How can you do it? They did it through consistent investing, avoiding debt like the plague, and smart spending. No lottery tickets. No inheritances. No six-figure incomes.
That’s great news for Americans who’ve lost hope that they can ever build real wealth.
According to the survey, eight out of 10 of millionaires invested in their company’s 401(k) plan, and that simple step was a key to their financial success. Not only that, but three out of four of those surveyed invested outsideof company plans.
But they didn’t risk their money on single-stock investments or “an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.” In fact, no millionaire in the study said single-stock investing was a big factor in their financial success. Single stocks didn’t even make the top three list of factors for reaching their net worth.
The people in the study became millionaires by consistently saving over time. In fact, they worked, saved and invested for an average of 28 years before hitting the million-dollar mark, and most of them reached that milestone at age 49.
Three out of four millionaires (75%) said that regular, consistent investing over a long period of time is the reason for their success. So, the story about the young computer genius who developed an app that earned millions overnight is the exception, not the rule.
Even when millionaires don’t have to worry about money anymore, they’re still careful about their spending. Ninety-four percent of the people we studied said they live on less than they make, and nearly three-quarters of the millionaires have never carried a credit card balance in their lives! They also said they spend $200 or less each month on restaurants. And 93% of millionaires use coupons all or some of the time when shopping. By staying out of debt and watching expenses, they’re able to build their bank accounts instead of trying to get out of a financial hole every month.
The bestselling book, The Millionaire Next Door, identifies seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. Most of the truly wealthy in this country don’t live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue-they live next door.
Live well below their means.
Efficiently use their time, energy, & money for wealth accumulation.
Value financial independence over social status.
Not dependent on their parents once they were adults.
Their kids are self-sufficient.
Talented at pursuing market opportunities.
Pick the right occupation for them.
After reading all of this, I'm sure you're starting to see that the culture has it all wrong.
Obviously, there are wealthy people who abuse their money and power. Not every wealthy person is perfect. But we should not generalize or use our time and energy to "hate the rich." There are millionaires all around us, and it could be you, too. Use these people as an inspiration to realize that you can make a change in your life, change your family tree, and become a millionaire just as these everyday American's did. Get rid of your limiting beliefs, step outside of your victim mentality, and realize that no one is going to hand you success. God will reward hard work.
"You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you" (Psalm 128:2)