Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race, Age, And Education

Everybody wants to become a millionaire. Unfortunately, not everybody's chances of becoming a millionaire are the same, partially because the playing field is not even. This article looks at historical data on your chances of becoming a millionaire by race, age, and education.

Getting to at least one million dollars in net worth is a nice milestone to achieve. However, due to inflation, you need more than $3 million to live the traditional millionaire lifestyle today.

Thankfully, I firmly believe the majority of people reading Financial Samurai and other personal finance sites will be able to achieve millionaire status.

In fact, based on the latest Federal Reserve Consumer Finance Survey, the average American household is now a millionaire as of 2022! However, the median American household has a net worth closer to $192,000. So there's still plenty of work to do.

Becoming A Millionaire Is Easier If You Love Personal Finance

If I were to guess the exact percentage of Financial Samurai readers who become millionaires in their lifetimes, I would say 65 percent. This doesn't seem like a particularly high percentage. But once you've read the statistics below, you'll come to agree that 65 percent is a home run figure.

For the remaining 35 percent, even if you don't become millionaires, you'll likely still build way more wealth if you keep on reading Financial Samurai and other finance sites than the average person who does not.

Since 2009 I've received dozens of e-mails from readers saying they've busted through the $1 million net worth figure thanks to aggressive saving and investing. Many have mentioned they wish they had discovered the personal finance world sooner. But better late than never I say!

So what about the rest of the 330+ million Americans who were fortunate enough to be born or gain citizenship to our great country? What are their chances of living the champagne dream and caviar lifestyle? Let's have a look.

How Many Millionaires Are There In America?

Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race, Age, And Education

Before learning about your chances of becoming a millionaire, let's find out roughly how many millionaires there are in America.

According to Spectrem Group's Market Insights Report, in 2021, there were roughly 9.8 million individuals with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million. There were 1.8 million individuals with net worth between $5 million and $25 million. Finally, 156,000 households (not individuals) had more than $25 million in net worth.

In other words, there are roughly 11.8 million millionaires in America, making up roughly 3.5% of the population in 2021. This count is at a record high thanks to a long bull market in stocks, bonds, and real estate.

According to Credit Suisse's latest Global Wealth Report, they estimate there are actually 22 million millionaires in America. That's an impressive 6.5% of the population. Whatever the true millionaire count is, there are millions of millionaires and growing!

With stocks, real estate, and other risk-assets doing well since the pandemic began, the number of millionaires is likely even higher in 2023. Further, I suspect the actual millionaire number is higher due to stealth wealth and plenty of unreported or underreported assets. It's easy to obfuscate the value of your own private business.

Now let's look at three insightful charts based on Federal Reserve data that shows your chances of becoming a millionaire by education, age, and race.

Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Educational Attainment

Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Educational Attainment

The chart says that the more education you receive, the higher your chances of becoming a millionaire across all races.

This makes sense since high-paying jobs often require higher levels of education e.g. lawyer, doctor, executive management, and scientist. However, thanks to free online learning and shorter specialty school programs, a college degree is slowly getting devalued.

Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire With A High School Degree By Race

  • Asians 6%
  • White 5%
  • Hispanic 2%
  • Black 1%

Without a high school degree, you practically have no chance of becoming a millionaire across all races.

Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire With An Associate's Degree By Race

  • Asians 3%
  • White 7%
  • Hispanic 2%
  • Black 1%

For Asians, your chances of becoming a millionaire are actually higher if you only have a high school degree versus an Associate's degree (6% vs 3%). Perhaps this is due to the prevalence of more Asian small business owners.

If you are Hispanic or Black, the percentage probability of becoming a millionaire does not change if you have a high school degree or an Associate's degree.

Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire With A Bachelor's Degree By Race

  • Asians 16%
  • White 18%
  • Hispanic 4%
  • Black 3%

If you are Hispanic or Black, this data should make you very wary of getting into student loan debt. Please apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible to minimize the cost of attending college.

If you are Asian or White, getting a college degree significantly increases your odds of becoming a millionaire.

Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire With A Master's Degree By Race

  • Asians 27%
  • White 38%
  • Hispanic 11%
  • Black 6%

By the time someone has a Master's degree, chances of becoming a millionaire should be similar across all races. However, the difference between the percentages between White (38%) and Black (6%) is striking.

If I was a White person, a Master's degree is exactly what I'd get. Maybe just not a Master's degree in History or Journalism if you want to become a millionaire.

Unless Hispanic and Black people are getting a Master's degrees in mostly low-paying fields, the huge percentage discrepancy seems too egregious. Put it differently, the chance of a Black person with a Master's degree becoming a millionaire is the same as an Asian person with only a high school degree.

The Master's degree percentage discrepancy between Whites and Blacks is the strongest evidence of systemic racism. I'm not talking about one person hurling a racial slur at another person.

I’m talking about things like a private club, where it was originally 100% Whites only 70 years ago. Today, the club says it is open to all races. But to get in, you need to get five letters of recommendation from existing members. If you are a minority, you will have a harder time getting this support network together.

You see the same thing happening when applying for preschools, private schools, high-paying jobs, and so forth.

People Tend To Take Care Of Their Own

Lack of diversity at the Huffington Post
If you don't fit the majority, it may be harder to get in

To explain why this huge difference exists, my theory is that people tend to take care of people who are most similar to themselves.

Thus, if the majority of people in power are White, then more Whites will benefit at the expense of other races. Therefore, the chances of being a millionaire is higher if you are White and lower if you are a minority.

When I was working in Asian Equities, the head guy based in Hong Kong was a White English chap. To nobody's surprise, he appointed White English heads at our offices in London and New York.

When the head English guy left, a Korean guy became the boss. The English heads in London and New York got laid off, and in came two Koreans to head the respective offices.

I bet if your new boss came from Tasmania, you would suddenly see a lot more Tasmanian lieutenants. If your new boss was a woman, you'll likely have more female colleagues.

Despite over 13 years of online writing experience, there is probably little chance I could land a job at the Huffington Post given I'm male and Asian. The reality is, I probably wouldn't even try to apply there based on the lack of diversity. Therefore, if a company wants to recruit a diverse group of employees, there needs to be diverse representation. Nobody wants to feel like the odd person out.

I don't think most people are intentionally racist. I just think that most people tend to hang out with and help people who have similar backgrounds. Just look around your social group and in your workplace.

Related: Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord

Your Chances Of Being A Millionaire By Age

The older you are, the greater your chances of becoming a millionaire. This is obvious thanks to compound returns. The earlier you can start investing, the better. Most of Warren Buffet's wealth came after his 60th birthday.

Everybody's chances of becoming a millionaire improves up until the age of 61. But after 61, the chances for Hispanics and Blacks to become millionaires declines.

Odds of being a millionaire grow by age

It's interesting to note the slopes for Asians and Whites are much steeper. Asians and Whites have significantly higher chances of becoming millionaires as they age likely due to a higher representation of Asians and Whites in higher-paying industries.

Another hypothesis is that Asians and Whites make up a greater representation of investors in stocks, bonds, and real estate at all ages. Given investments don't differentiate between races, investments tend to keep appreciating after the age of 61.

Equal Opportunity Is The Goal

The slope differences between races means there is different levels of opportunity. Therefore, there's been such a huge rally cry for Hispanic and Black diversity in many industries.

Equal opportunity is really all we can really ask for. The rest of our success depends on work ethic, skills, and lots of luck.

The call for diversity is particularly strong in Tech and Finance, two of the more higher-paying industries.

If you were able to join Apple as a 22-year-old 10 years ago, you'd mostly likely be a multi-millionaire by now. But look at the gender and race representation of Apple in the chart below. It looks quite similar across all the big tech companies.

Diversity at Apple is pretty terrible

However, I've also noticed there's not much of an uproar in industries that traditionally pay less.

For example, there has been no call for diversity in grade school teaching where the vast majority of teachers are female (~76%). There has also been no call for diversity in the military, where the broad majority of service people are male (~84%).

Hopefully, those who fight for diversity are also willing to fight for diversity across the board, not just at places that pay the most money. Equal opportunity is good. Equal outcome is impossible.

It's a little sad that merit-based reward is declining. But I understand the reason why. What chance does a poor kid have of competing against a rich kid with all the resources? It's hard.

Your Overall Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race

Your Overall Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race
  • Asian 22.3%
  • White 21.5%
  • Hispanic 6.8%
  • Black 6.4%

Putting everything together, the Fed data says Asians have the highest probability of becoming millionaires. This is interesting since Asians are the smallest minority, representing roughly ~6% of the American population.

Like other minorities, Asians still face discrimination. Further, it seems that test score requirements are higher for Asians to have the same chance of admittance at certain colleges.

On the flip side, perhaps it is easier to mobilize a smaller population to heavily invest in their future. Singapore and its 5.6 million population is an example. Singapore has a per capita GDP of $53,000. Now compare the difficulty of mobilizing 1.5 billion people in China with a per capita GDP of only $8,200.

Finally, U.S. immigration policy may have something to do with giving Asian Americans a head start. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program to stimulate the US economy and promote job growth. 

If you and your family can invest $500,000 in an overseas commercial venture, it's highly probable that you are already a millionaire. Thus, given the relatively small base of the Asian-American population, it may be fair to ascribe a small portion of Asian millionaires to this cohort group.

However, I also know of several Asian families who escaped difficult government regimes and arrived in America with absolutely nothing. Therefore, it's hard to generalize, since there are many different types of Asians.

Finally, perhaps there is a cultural reason due to the intense focus on education in many Asian cultures. Here are some personal insights into Asian wealth and income.

Do You Like Your Odds Of Becoming A Millionaire?

Divorce rates by race
Divorce is a wealth destroyer

The odds of becoming a millionaire in America are between 6.4% to 22.3% according to data from the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances.

I'd gladly take those odds over trying to become a millionaire in any other country. I bet the odds of becoming a millionaire in Zambia, where I lived for one year, is less than 1%. Zambia's GDP per capita is only $3,900, or 1/9th the GDP per capita in the US.

But returning to my original thesis, I believe that around 60 percent of you who consistently read personal finance sites will become millionaires in your lifetime. You will naturally take action to boost your wealth with a positive money-mindset.

60 percent didn't sound like much in the intro, but now you know that 60 percent is 2.72X higher than the highest chance anybody has of becoming a millionaire in America.

How To Increase Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire

One of the biggest goals on Financial Samurai is to help people of all races become financially independent sooner, rather than later. With interest rates so low and future investment returns likely going down, financial independence often requires becoming a millionaire.

Put it this way, $1 million only generates about $5,000 – $17,000 a year in risk-free income. The reason why is the 10-year bond yield is around 1.7% and the best money market savings rate is now only about 0.5%. As a result, investors are being pushed to take on more risk for higher returns.

Here are my recommendations for how to increase your chances of becoming a millionaire:

1) Read personal finance sites every day.

Personal finance sites do a lot of things, but most of all, they make you pay attention to your finances.

As soon as you have heightened awareness about how much you are saving, what you are investing in, your net worth asset allocation, and your retirement plan, it's only natural to generate more wealth than the typical person who is financially unaware.

Personal finance sites are often like free financial coaches, pushing you to continue instead of giving up. When you see someone day in and day out work on their finances, you can't help but want to improve your finances as well.

In addition to reading personal finance sites every day, read as many finance-related books by people who are multi-millionaires. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You simply have to follow the guidance of those who've been there before.

Not only should you subscribe to my free weekly newsletter, you should also subscribe and listen to my podcast on Apple, Google, and Spotify.

2) Run the numbers.

Becoming a millionaire is a function of income, savings rate, investment returns, and time. Therefore, you can easily run various financial scenarios that will make you a millionaire. Here are some examples:

  • Put away $350 a month and earn 6% a year, you will become a millionaire in 46 years.
  • Max out your 401k and invest another $1,000 in after-tax proceeds a month, you will become a millionaire in just 17 years if you earn 7.5% a year.

Religiously track your net worth in order to optimize your finances. You don't want to wake up 20 years from now and wonder where all your money went.

3) Do what the average person won't do to become a millionaire.

Obviously, if you want to become a millionaire sooner, you're going to have to do things the average person won't do. Here are some examples:

  • If the average person works 40 hours a week, try working 60 hours a week to see if you can get paid and promoted faster.
  • If the average person only invests in index funds, try to invest 10%-20% of your stock allocation in individual stocks. Your overall portfolio might underperform, but at least you'll have a chance of outperforming.
  • If the average person wakes up at 7 am, try waking up at 5 am for a year to work on your side hustle. Maybe an extra 730 hours a year will make you more productive.

4) Get motivated by the statistics and don't quit too soon.

What's annoying about statistics is that they can discourage you from trying. However, one of the core principles of Financial Samurai is to never fail due to a lack of effort because effort requires no skill.

If you don't like your millionaire odds, change them! 

Do not settle for what the data says about your chances. In fact, the lower your percentage chance of becoming a millionaire according to the Fed, the more motivated you should be to beat the odds. Once you do, it will be all the more gratifying.

One of the keys to building great wealth is not giving up. If you can try consistently for at least 10 years, I'm positive you are going to dramatically improve your odds.

5) Work in the highest paying industries.

If you want to be a millionaire, then you might as well seek employment opportunities in the highest-paying industries. These industries include finance, tech, medicine, law, strategy consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Generating a high income makes becoming a millionaire much easier. That said, you still have to have the discipline to save a good portion of your money. There are plenty of high income earners who end up broke due to poor financial habits.

6) Invest in the least diverse companies.

Let's say you can't join a fast-growing company no matter how hard you try. You also don't think the company will ever change its homogenous workforce. Instead of getting left behind, if it is publicly traded, consider investing in the company.

This way, you get to participate in the company's growth and have its homogenous workforce work for you!

Come up with a list of the least diverse publicly traded companies. Compare their diversity report card from five years ago and today. If not much has changed, you might be onto something. You want to invest in the companies focused on growing revenue and optimizing profits.

Companies love to talk about diversity & inclusion, but it's really hard to change established culture. If you can skillfully recognize human biases, you can increase your chances of becoming a millionaire.

Invest In Private Growth Companies Too

Millionaires love to own business and invest in private businesses. The greater the net worth, the larger the percentage of the net worth is in private business interests.

Therefore, consider diversifying into private growth companies through an open venture capital fund. Companies are staying private for longer, as a result, more gains are accruing to private company investors. Finding the next Google or Apple before going public can be a life-changing investment. 

Check out the Innovation Fund, which invests in the following five sectors:

  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
  • Modern Data Infrastructure
  • Development Operations (DevOps)
  • Financial Technology (FinTech)
  • Real Estate & Property Technology (PropTech)

Roughly 35% of the Innovation Fund is invested in artificial intelligence, which I'm extremely bullish about. In 20 years, I don't want my kids wondering why I didn't invest in AI or work in AI!

The investment minimum is also only $10. Most venture capital funds have a $250,000+ minimum.

See this great chart below that shows the net worth breakdown by levels of wealth. As the net worth grows, so do te business interests (blue bar).

Net worth composition by levels of wealth

7) Build your social network of highly motivated people.

Your parents were right. If you want to have a greater chance of success, whatever that means to you, you should probably hang out with people you think are going places. This includes marrying the right person.

Let your friends challenge you to do more. Over time, your friends will naturally become wealthier and more successful. If they are your true friends, they will want to bring you up along with them. If you are their true friend, you will do the same.

Your good friends will invite you to participate in various promising private investments. They will shoot you more enticing job leads. Some will make customer introductions. Others will help your children get ahead. The more true friends you have, the less lonely you will be.

Welcome to the world of how things have worked for centuries! Your network is your net worth. The key is to be a genuine person who is always looking to help first. No matter your race or gender, this type of attitude will build you a great network. The stronger your network, the higher your chances of becoming a millionaire if that is what you want.

8) Don't rent for life.

Although it's a nice thought to rent and invest the difference each month, most renters don't end up regularly doing so. The return on rent is always -100%.

Every month you get a place to stay with you rent money. However, you don't build any equity or have a chance to build equity. In 30 years, a renter is guaranteed to be left with no real estate equity. Whereas a homeowner, if he regularly pays his mortgage, will end up owning the house free and clear.

In the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, it was revealed that the median net worth of homeowners was $231,400. Renters had a net worth of just $5,000. In other words, the typical homeowner had a net worth 46X greater than the typical renter.

Median wealth of homeowner is 46X greater than the median wealth of a renter according to the Survey of Consumer Finances

We can argue until the cows come home why there is such a stark difference. However, just know that over the long term, you want to benefit from inflation and not get hurt from inflation.

Related: Mortgage Interest Rates By Race

At Least Get Neutral Real Estate

As soon as you find a place where you see yourself comfortably living for 5-10 years, get neutral real estate by owning your primary residence. Obviously, make sure you can afford your purchase. One home buying rule I suggest everyone follow is the 30/30/3 rule.

Over time, you will see a widening spread between the cost to rent and the cost to own due to inflation and largely fixed costs of owning a home. During this time period, you'll also be paying down principal and building equity. If the home also appreciates in value, you will have a nice tailwind towards millionaire status.

If you can't afford to buy a physical property, then you can still participate in real estate's rise by buying a publicly-traded REIT, like VNQ. Or, you can invest in real estate crowdfunding, like I have done after selling my physical rental property in 2017.

The rental property was too much of a pain to manage as a new father, so I sold it and reinvested $550,000 of the proceeds in crowdfunding. My favorite real estate platform is Fundrise. It has innovative private eFunds that contain a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate investments across the country.

Best Real Estate Investing Platforms

Fundrise: A way for all investors to diversify into real estate through private funds with just $10. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and manages over $3.3 billion for 400,000+ investors. 

The real estate platform invests primarily in residential and industrial properties in the Sunbelt, where valuations are cheaper and yields are higher. The spreading out of America is a long-term demographic trend. For most people, investing in a diversified fund is the way to go.

CrowdStreet: A way for accredited investors to invest in individual real estate opportunities mostly in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities are secondary cities with lower valuations and higher rental yields. These cities also have higher growth potential due to job growth and demographic trends. 

If you are a real estate enthusiast with more time, you can build your own diversified real estate portfolio with CrowdStreet. However, before investing in each deal, make sure to do extensive due diligence on each sponsor. Understanding each sponsor's track record and experience is vital.


I've invested $810,000 in real estate crowdfunding so far. My goal is to diversify my expensive SF real estate holdings and earn more 100% passive income. I plan to continue dollar-cost investing into private real estate for the next decade.

9) Participate in the new “permissionless” society.

There are people making big money every day without the prerequisite traditional credentials. For example, you no longer need a fancy degree to get a job in tech. You just need to know your tech.

In the personal finance world, there are some very successful bloggers who are doctors, journalists, engineers, cooks, and school teachers. Most do not have a finance background. All they did was start a site and get creative.

You don't need radio experience to start a podcast. Neither do you need broadcasting or acting experience to start a YouTube channel. Anybody can start a podcast or a YouTube channel.

Tech and the internet have created a wonderful permissionless society for historically marginalized groups. If you have kids, please teach them everything you can about the permissionless society. There are no gatekeepers.

10) Read The Best Selling Personal Finance Book

If you want to dramatically improve your chances of becoming a millionaire, purchase a hard copy of my new Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. The book is jam packed with unique strategies to help you build your fortune while living your best life. 

Buy This, Not That is also a #1 best seller on Amazon, where it's on sale. By the time you finish BTNT you will gain at least 100X more value than its cost.

After spending 30 years working in finance, writing about finance, and studying finance, I'm certain Buy This, Not That will help you create more wealth and purpose. Becoming a millionaire is within your reach with the proper education.

Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom Bestseller

You Are The Inevitable Millionaire

In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if everybody could have an equal chance to become a millionaire by race, by age, and by educational achievement. Unfortunately, the system is rigged by the people already in power who naturally take care of their own.

It's up to all of us to proactively enrich our minds with knowledge that can help us grow our wealth, regardless of circumstance.

Believe that becoming a millionaire is highly possible in your lifetime. And once you feel you're on track to get to $1 million, you might as well shoot for $3 million due to inflation.

If you keep grinding long enough, maybe you might get to a top 1% net worth of $10 million! Once you get to a net worth of $10 million, you'll be able to easily generate $250,000+ in passive income in a low-risk way.

Money does buy happiness because it helps you feel less stressed about money, especially during difficult times. Once you have enough money, make sure you do your best to preserve your capital. The last thing you want to do is go backward!

How much is your net worth? (All assets minus all liabilities)

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Readers, what do you think about the various chances of becoming a millionaire? Why do you think there is such a massive discrepancy in percentage chance for White and Black Americans with Master's degrees? Any more suggestions on how to increase your chances of becoming a millionaire?

About the Author

Sam worked in finance for 13 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that cover his desired lifestyle. He became a millionaire at 28 through aggressive saving, investing, and luck.

He spends time playing tennis, taking care of his family, and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom too.He started Financial Samurai in 2009 and has grown it to be one of the largest independently owned personal finance sites in the world with over 1 million organic visitors a month.

Join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

337 thoughts on “Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race, Age, And Education”

  1. Well, I’m a Hispanic male. I’m already 30, and I have failed at everything I’ve ever done. My chances of actually becoming successful are effectively 0.

    I keep trying to think of a reason not to just end it, but I can’t. Unless you’re successful, rich, high status, life just isn’t worth living as a man.

    Should losers just kill ourselves? As far as I can tell, the logical answer is, “yes.”

    1. Life it’s not only money and riches or status.

      Women are overrated, it’s not worth losing your life over it, think about it, you are a product of millions of years evolution, how will you throw that away over worthless lifestyle that you would end up feeling lonely anyways.

      There are many ways to enjoy life, always look for the bright side, dont get fooled by the grass is greener, think about the fact that youre one of 7 billion, and getting rich is pure luck or having a nice family.

    2. Hey man I’m sorry your broken. I’m black and 21 even though I am going to university all my efforts will not pay off in the end because of institutional racism. Good luck hopefully one day we live in a more fair world that doesn’t discriminate based on looks race or iq. have a great day.

      1. Would it not help to have a positive attitude, become the best student you can, and ensure you have an excellent work ethic rather than focusing on institutional racism? I worked for the State Dept for over 20 years, we had lots of highly qualified black officers. In fact, black applicants were given special consideration. But having a negative attitude will almost ensure failure at which point institutional racism becomes a convenient excuse for your own failures.
        Society is always going to consider iq as this is a measure of future success in the scientific world. I do not view this as discrimination much like many professional sports leagues choose the most talented players. Would choosing someone for their talent also then be discriminatory?

  2. I think you are obviously talking about race way more kindily than gender because you are a man. But make no mistake, it would be great if we all had the same chance of becoming a millionaire regardless of race, gender or age.
    Recognise that gender is a a considerable factor in your chances to become a millionaire. And yes, feminists fight for women and men to be represented more equally in the military and in schools and in all places of work. Why did you not make a snarky remark at the end of your paragraph about race like you did for gender?

  3. Justin McCarthy

    Two observations. 1) A lot of “soft” masters degrees out there. Need to control in terms of what “Masters” degrees are being secured by race. Humanities and Social Sciences vs Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, or Business degrees Etc. This will make a big difference in long term economic outcomes. 2) Imbedded in the “White” category is a sub-group, “Jewish”, that are highly represented in professionals, scientists, entrepreneurs and the wealthy. Also, there are other groups often categorized as White that are not European and are more educated and successful in the US than the average American. Basically, need more specificity in terms of which “Whites” we are talking about for accurate comparisons.

    Lastly, this has been covered, but article undercounts potential millionaires, any defined benefit pension that exceeds $50k per annum will capitalize to a million dollars in value at a return rate of 5%. Ethnic minorities are highly represented in public sector. In California, a typical police officer or fireman without a “Masters” can retire at 3% x avg of last 3 years annual salary x years of service at age 50 plus med and annual CPI increases. Average salary for a police officer is $100k. So, an officer who started at 25 can walk out the door at 50 with $75k per year, plus CPI increases plus medical. The officer would need $1.5 mil + in safe investments to match. The same basic analysis goes for any public sector employee from teacher to secretary to custodian. They would have to work longer; but easily doable. Add, social security on top if they paid into it and the universe of real “millionaires” widens. Of course, a million ain’t what it used to be.

  4. I am white and have a net worth of 3 million. I personally consider net worth to only be stocks or mutual funds. This is easy to turn into liquid cash.

    Asians have a strong work ethic and are very intelligent. I don’t want to hire anybody who thinks the world owes them something.

    1. This unfounded selective hostility on display here is why Black Americans like me need twice the amount of diligence and consistent excellence to achieve half the wealth of people who blend in with the Anglo Saxon legacy of destruction.

    2. That’s racist. What percent of all Asians do you actually know? They are no more intelligent than any other ethnicity. That’s a simple fact. Even the tests showing higher scores from places like China are skewed, because they only allow the top 15% or less to progress to the next school level. The rest go home with little education. Assuming all Asians are hard working and intelligent is harmful to the ones that don’t fit that stereotype. Kind of like the stereotype that all white people must be rich. Most are really not… and, they have every excuse in the world for why they are poor in spite of having a leg up on the rest of the world.

      Personally, I’m mixed with black and white, and both of my parents were work-a-holics when I was little. My net worth is in the 95th percentile for my age range. Far higher than theirs combined. My intelligence is high enough to have gotten to where I am on my own. While I have no problem being a work-a-holic on my own time and for my own investments, it’s certainly not required to become wealthy or be a great employee.

      That being said, aside from the harmful racist comments from you, entitled employees are an issue these days. It has nothing to do with ethnicity though.

      It must be argued that net worth really should include ALL assets. A person with a net worth of 100 million, with all of that wealth placed into rental buildings, generates far more income than you and is worth far more as well. Their wealth is in no way lessened by their money not being liquid. Why would they need it to be? They will also pay far less in taxes when liquidating their properties than you will liquidating your investments… That same person worth 100 million may only need a small amount to live on and just keep reinvesting the rest.

      The wealthiest guy I know lives in a smaller house than I do. His only splurges are his car, bathroom, sailboat, and the new very big sail boat he just bought at 60. Everything else is super simple and cheap. His net worth is at least 4 times yours. That’s just the assets I know of enough to value. No clue what’s in his stock portfolio, I just know he has one, so his worth could be far more than that. I guarantee he doesn’t need to be able to quickly liquidate investments for any reason.

      Wouldn’t having the need to quickly liquidate investments mean that someone is not doing very well? Kind of a red flag.

      I’m also curious, how old are you? What area do you live in? 3 million in a place like California might as well be 500k in the Midwest…

  5. Luis, I see your concern. However, I’m confused to where you came up with the idea of “diversification of phenotypes”? he never mentioned phenotypes in his post, and I’m pretty sure that this article has nothing to do with biology. If you’re concerned about the statistics that he talked about, those are facets of reality that he gathered from government sources. Unfortunately, as generalized as the data is (i personally wish they had more comprehensive data that included race and ethnic subcultures ) it’s really the only information we have , and it is what it is.
    I see that this topic on race and wealth has really touched on some negative emotions that make you uncomfortable on the topics of race and social inequity, and I can relate. But I question where you got the idea that FinSam was classifying Asians, and how you came to the conclusion that it’s “disgusting”. He never once mentioned he was classifying Asians as anything other than people of color. I want to emphasize that he was literally spitting facts from government sources on different race categorizations, and explaining hypothesis that connect human social behavior and real life financial outcomes for certain groups; he even gave some practical tips on how to manage these realities. I ask you to re-read his article and cite where you derived your conclusions about “phenotypes” “asians as non-colored people” “what is this silly concept of people of color vs people of non color”, and show the rest of us so we can get woked.
    I applaud Financial Samurai for even attacking the issue in a pretty balanced and realistic manner, albeit the topic can be very uncomfortable for some (as yourself). In fact, Financial Samurai even argued and acknowledged the systemic racism plagues our system.
    But as a person of color myself, I urge you to see the reality not as an attack to people of color, or a reclassification of who is and who isn’t a person of color, but more of a battlefield assessment of what certain people who belong to certain groups are up against. Life isn’t fair. Sorry Luis.

  6. Passive Canuck

    “Believe that becoming a millionaire is highly possible in your lifetime. And once you feel you’re on track to get to $1 million, you might as well shoot for $3 million due to inflation.”

    This really resonated with me as I’m getting closer and closer to the $1M mark and what once seemed like a far away pipedream is now quickly becoming reality. Might as well shoot for the moon once that milestone gets reached.

    Appreciate the content!

  7. Luis Anthony Silva

    As a person of color…To classify Asians as if they aren’t people of color is disgusting. You claim the outcome to be the diversification of phenotypes, when both Hispanics, Black’s, and Asians have the same level of diversity in context to phenotypes. Asians from Laotian to N/ Indian have the same diversification of phenotypes as Hispanics and Blacks. Yet the outcome between them is different when it comes to salary. To never consider the difference in culter between the diversification of phenotypes as a key factor for the outcome is misleading and devalues Asians as people of color(which they are). It isn’t the diversification of phenotypes that determines the outcome, it’s the culter.

    1. Luis, I see your concern. However, I’m confused to where you came up with the idea of “diversification of phenotypes”? he never mentioned phenotypes in his post, and I’m pretty sure that this article has nothing to do with biology. If you’re concerned about the statistics that he talked about, those are facets of reality that he gathered from government sources. Unfortunately, as generalized as the data is (i personally wish they had more comprehensive data that included race and ethnic subcultures ) it’s really the only information we have , and it is what it is.
      I see that this topic on race and wealth has really touched on some negative emotions that make you uncomfortable on the topics of race and social inequity, and I can relate. But I question where you got the idea that FinSam was classifying Asians, and how you came to the conclusion that it’s “disgusting”. He never once mentioned he was classifying Asians as anything other than people of color. I want to emphasize that he was literally spitting facts from government sources on different race categorizations, and explaining hypothesis that connect human social behavior and real life financial outcomes for certain groups; he even gave some practical tips on how to manage these realities. I ask you to re-read his article and cite where you derived your conclusions about “phenotypes” “asians as non-colored people” “what is this silly concept of people of color vs people of non color”, and show the rest of us so we can get woked.
      I applaud Financial Samurai for even attacking the issue in a pretty balanced and realistic manner, albeit the topic can be very uncomfortable for some (as yourself). In fact, Financial Samurai even argued and acknowledged the systemic racism plagues our system.
      But as a person of color myself, I urge you to see the reality not as an attack to people of color, or a reclassification of who is and who isn’t a person of color, but more of a battlefield assessment of what certain people who belong to certain groups are up against. Life isn’t fair. Sorry Luis.

  8. This article is one opinion, but I personally have another. I think wealth has more to do with personal choices than “systemic” issues. Work ethic, degree selection, avoiding having kids out of wedlock, living below your means, etc. I see this everyday. Over the course of an average 40 year working career, a mere $160 a month invested in the S&P 500 can make you a millionaire! There is no secret club involved. I became a millionaire mostly through my military service because I maxed out an IRA most years.

    I’m sure you can draw some wage inequality conclusions based on whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, but that doesn’t mean there are ominous forces at play. What they really need is more personal finance education in high school!

    1. The beauty of this article is it’s simplicity. It uses an objective standard, i.e. education level and applies it evenly to all demo groups. In other words, all things ‘being equal’ the group outcomes should be about the same. Not exact but reasonably similar. The fact they are not, and in the case of Black Americans hugely so, suggests there is something else impacting the low numbers. If you do not believe it is something systemic in the environment that hinders potential for certain groups – the article believes it to be unequal opportunity – then the alternative is to suggest that the deficient group ‘collectively’ and the individuals in it are deficient as a whole.. If you believe the latter then, your beliefs are – objectively – racist. Numbers are not. They are an indicator that invites us to look deeper into cause and effect. Modern investigations into this subject of ‘who-makes-money-and-who-does-not’, come to the same conclusion as this article does, i.e., that the single biggest factor in accumulating wealth (being successful?) is NOT intelligence, hard work or even formal education but instead ‘opportunity’… who you know… who supports you… who gives you a chance. Nobody makes millions by themselves and there aren’t enough hours in a lifetime for any ONE person to EARN billions. P.s Financial education in schools, Yes. Quality education for ALL – absolutely! Healthy kids? Good nutrition? Present parents? A good night’s sleep? Living wage? Quality after-school care? A society that puts ALL kids first? ALL systemic, opportunities that do not exist in many American communities.

  9. This is an interesting article. I am South American Asian, meaning Hispanic of Asian of origin and I came to the US as a teenager to study. My parents helped pay for school as a foreign student but not much beyond that. I did my share of low-paying, back-breaking types of jobs but my economic situation improved substantially once I got my degree from a State University. I went into professional sales for the corporate world for about 5 years before the tech crash in 2000 wiped out all my savings, options, etc. Tired of working for others, I started my online business and now 21 years later, I am comfortably in the top 1% in income and assets. Looking around at my friends, which are a large variety of people from different backgrounds, the one thing that makes the difference in personal economic progress is the ability to “hustle”, which comes from their cultural background or how they were raised. Education in itself and work ethic help a lot but on their own, but they won’t make people very rich unless they luck out by getting stock options in a very successful start-up. The couple of friends that I know are multimillionaires, one is an Israeli guy who taught me how to clean carpets in my college days and not owns a fairly large import company. The other is an Asian guy who grew up poor, got a degree, and end up opening a chain of dozens of restaurants. The more educated people that I know, most are ok but some still struggle at mid-life. People keep talking about racism, the glass ceiling, etc. and I am sure they are valid but culture definitely plays a much bigger role in one’s chances to succeed in this economy. And while I think awareness of these structural problems is important, I am afraid they can also be used as excuses to not succeed. Basically, giving up before they even got started.

    1. Yes sir. Hustling is what will get you wealthy, and probably sooner compared to a 401k. I’m not there yet but I started a little cleaning company after I dropped out of college. It did ok. Closed it when the pandemic started.

      But because of that, I was forced to learn how to make websites and digital marketing. I currently work in the dental field doing digital marketing for dental offices and dental assisting schools. No college degree.

      I could get paid 60-70k pretty easily, without a degree. With more experience I could earn more.

      But currently I’m looking into getting my own clients and exploring other avenues where my skills can come in handy.

      The internet and drive are great tools to get ahead. You just have to motivate yourself to do the work.

      People may be racist, sure. But money and business are not.

    2. I actually agree with you. My childhood was an odd one. I’m half black and half white. Both parents were well off when I was little. I lived in nice, white neighborhoods, went to a private school, etc. Then, my mom got hit with tax evasion, and we ended up homeless and living on the good will of other people. For awhile, we lived in a predominately black, ghetto part of the U.S. While there are some systemic issues holding back minorities, they can be worked around by becoming wealthy outside of the main system of seeking employment at white owned companies. Such as self employment and opening a business. Most of the issues within the black community start at home.

      The education was fine. So many people think that’s the issue, but it’s really not. Having been to 19 schools in 3 states between kindergarten and the 12th grade, the education was normal. Florida was a bit behind, but that was a wealthy white neighborhood’s school.

      The families were a major issue. Behavioral issues were not addressed properly by schools or families. Abuse and drug use are major issues within the community. Priorities were completely out of whack. A child must be abused, dragged to church, and then thrown out in the streets to raise itself… That’s not going to end well. Even I got into trouble with that being the norm.

      Children are constantly told they are limited by all adults in the community. You’re black so people will hold you back. You’re black so beware. You’re black, they won’t let you succeed. You’re black, no one cares about you. You’re black, so everything will be harder. But, most of that was not true. If anything, the fear instilled into children did more damage than the real world will. I was lucky, I was clearly more intelligent than most of my peers, and I was lighter skinned. So, people constantly told me nicer things like how pretty I am and how I have a chance to do big things. My peers didn’t get that positivity. No one even told me how to do big things. No one knew how. There’s no blueprint handed out or down in the black communities. I see improvement in this area now with teaching trucking and real estate investing. But, those are new.

      College was made to seem MONUMENTAL. Like you needed a miracle to have even a slight chance. When I was dating my husband, he’d been taught it was so easy and just a thing you did like taking out the trash. I thought he must be crazy to think it’s so easy. Then, I jumped online to apply for our local college thinking there was no chance. By the next morning I was accepted and enrolled… We were never taught it was that easy! Children from other cultures are.

      There were no good role models to show us any other way to live. Perhaps, the main reason why I succeeded in life was due to having opportunities to see how others lived. When my mother hung wallpaper, we were in all sorts of houses and communities dealing with people of all backgrounds. I always knew there were many other ways to live, I just didn’t know how to get to them. Other children are not so lucky.

      So, I teach my children that life is as easy or hard as you make it. I make impossible things happen every day, because we no longer trust anyone else telling us things are too hard or can’t be done. We will teach anyone about investing and how to get through life easier if they are willing to listen. But, it’s like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Everyone living in their own delusional bubble, and heaven forbid you be the one to tell them there’s anyone outside of it… But, people should all be taught and given the option to choose something else in life and how to get there.

  10. There might be systemic racism. But the issue is far more nuanced than the points in this blog post.

    African Americans are concentrated in the lowest paying college majors. And the students who are in higher paying majors like engineering are not only underrepresented but also perform worse academically.

    Another example would be doctors. You have a disproportionately low number of black doctors despite admissions standards being much more lax.

    African Americans own small businesses at a 50% lower rate and tend to have lower revenues

    African Americans invest in equities at a lower rate and take much less financial risk even when you adjust for income.

    I can get on board the argument that a people hire others who look like themselves at a higher rate. And I have heard other arguments that have prevented wealth from being accumulated by African Americans in the past which has reduced the net worths of descendants. But disproportionately graduating with the lowest paying majors, starting fewer businesses (which has been the path for minorities like Asians to accumulate wealth), and taking less risk with investments seem like pretty big counterarguments to the systemic racism idea being the main impediment to being a millionaire.

  11. Wallet Squirrel

    Great article! It’s totally interesting that age, race and education aren’t necessarily giving someone more advantages, but rather removing more obstacles in their way.

  12. The Military and GI Bill funded my education and my VA loan got me into my first home. I researched career paths that had the best pay in my area with the least amount of education required, and did that. It is all about choices, I am Mexican American btw

  13. Sam, I can’t thank you enough for all the insight that your blog provides, I’ve been putting it to good use. Today was a great day for the stock market and today is the day that I’m finally a 401k millionaire…sort of. I don’t have one account with that figure, instead, I have a 403b, 457b, TSP and a Roth IRA, which combined hits the number. I bounced around employment with civil service, military (active and reserve) and a little private sector, so ended up with multiple accounts.

    I have two huge regrets: 1) I didn’t start investing in retirement accounts earlier like my Dad kept trying to tell me (I’m 52, but I only started investing 16 years ago) and 2) I didn’t find your website earlier.

    Per your article, I guess I’m one of the 16% of Asians with a bachelors degree that hit the mark. Saving was hard, but there are two passive things that made it easier. One is that I don’t drink, quit in ’97 when I was a buck Sgt at Fort Bragg, NC. Easy to rack up a $200 dollar bar tab in a night out, so instead I put that money towards my retirement accounts. Two is that I take good care of my cars so that I can drive them for 15 years. Lots of my co-workers buy cars every 3 years. They have nice shiny cars with all the bells and whistles, but they also have constant car payments and those car payments are money could have been going into their retirement accounts.

  14. Mike from NH

    Mike from NH

    Stating percentages of millionaires by race doesn’t establish probability but rather informs the readers of current millionaires by race.

    Irrespective of anyone’s race, in America you can achieve anything in your life if your willing to work for it

    Becomes the best you can be in your respective field of employment, save as much as you can and invest the monies in a S&P 500 index fund

    Along the way build a strong character and personal brand

    Anyone can do it. Only a few have the patience and perseverance in the end

    Character matters!

    1. I’d be interested in learning more about why you think there is such a large discrepancy between races. Your reply implies that since white people have a much higher chance of becoming millionaires, then they must have stronger character. That they have the most patience and perseverance. That their character is superior. Is that what you are saying?

        1. I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. While he doesn’t address the very real racial wealth disparity, the comment is valid.

          I interpret Mikes comment as saying that the statistics don’t determine your personal fate. Even with the headwinds of race, the things that make millionaires are within all of us.

  15. Since I can’t change my: Race, Age, or Education-at my age, I’d be more interested in knowing, Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By political beliefs. Are there more democrat or republican millionaires ? And what does that say about successful socialism ?

  16. Thank You Sam for your Encouragement!

    Thank you for the GREAT advice. Very Motivating.

    From an A.A Single mom of 3 boys with an Associate’s Degree.

    On my way to achieve my goal of becoming a Millionaire through my own dedicated Diverse Entrepreneurship Program I plan to start-up in Baltimore City, Maryland.

    Remember this POST….

      1. What is the authors or publishers name I am doing a research paper and I need a to cite. I think this blog is going to be essential to my paper.

  17. Becoming a millionaire is not chance, aside from those few who do so through lottery and slot machine pay offs. People have a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting rich this way.

    Becoming a millionaire is the consequence of innate talent, hard work, and proper attitude.

    Not everyone has the innate talent. Not everyone is willing to work hard enough. Not everyone is ambitious enough, has a good plan, or is willing to delay gratification. But for those who are, the only chance involved is not getting struck by lightning too hard.

    1. Although those traits are incredibly important, there’s quite a bit of luck involved. You can have everything else, and luck can snatch everything away in an instance or hand you the world.

  18. The fact that blacks and hispanics with a college degree still have a small chance of becoming a millionaire is not evidence of systemic racism. If this were the case, Asians would not be so successful in any of the education groups. In fact, the median income for Asian families is higher than that of whites. Why is this? Because Asians tend to choose better degrees. This is the same reason that college doesn’t significantly increase black/hispanic chances of getting rich- I.E. they are less likely to choose useful degrees.

    A simple google search confirms this:

    This is the same reason women earn less money than men. Men work harder jobs and longer hours than women. Men choose better degrees than women. Women are 65% of college graduates, but still earn less money- because they largely choose worthless majors.

    White men and Asians tend to choose STEM degrees. White women and everyone else combined choose worthless degrees roughly 80% of the time (social sciences, early education, gender studies, history, English, etc.).

    An Engineer makes more money than a gender studies major. This isn’t racism, it’s how the free market works. The information on what jobs are available to each major is freely available, as are the salaries of such jobs. An inability to use google or the decision to choose an “easy major” on the part of some people cannot be blamed on “systemic racism” or “patriarchy”.

    1. A much more pertinent question can be asked – If women get paid less than men for the same job, then why dont companies only hire women?????

    2. You ask a question the right way and a statistic can tell you anything: Women/POC aren’t just choosing worthless jobs, the jobs that are deemed more “valuable” changes as gender dynamics change within a work field. For example, in most of modern history women have been nurses and being a primary care taken is in no way easy. Most recently more men have been joining this field, and within the past ten years the median wage for nurses has significantly increased. Patriarchal values make us perceive the work that women do as less valuable solely because it’s a woman doing it. In dept article about it below.

      And to say systematic racism doesn’t impact wealth is just absurd. There are so many black people in so many different fields, even if most of them were going after the “worthless jobs” (which I don’t know if this is statistically true because like I said, the jobs deemed valuable in our society depends more-so on the people fulfilling the job than the actual work getting done), black men that are more qualified that their lighter skin/non dark skin peers are still less likely to get a position solely because their blackness deems them as an intimidating applicant. Systematic racism is complex and ingrained in our society, so what you may consider to be a minorities reckless decision, first consider why they made that decision, and if they were to chose differently would they really be given a better opportunity.
      Colorism article:(Dark skin man with MBA less likely to be hired than light skin man with Bachelors degree)

    3. I know this is old, but its an opportunity to educate.

      A partial reason that Asian outcomes are better is selection bias. Along with the smaller sample size, Asians who are in the U.S. tend to come from wealthier and/or more educated families, especially more recent immigrants. Or escaping tyrant governments, which comes with its own set of motivations.

      This same pattern is seen in African communities. African immigrants and 1st generation African Americans tend to have even better outcomes than Asians in many respects.

      All this to say regardless of race, the higher the likelihood the previous generation is wealthy, the higher the chance their offspring will be wealthy. And through various means (governmental and societal), black Americans have been more limited from generating wealth than any other group, hence the worse outcomes.

      Ben and Jerry’s of all places has a good summary of systematic racism:


      – Another reason is that black wealth is lower is that a lot of the growth in tech in particular is occurring in areas of the US with low black populations (San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, etc.). Inversely, these cities tend to also have a naturally larger Asian population.

      – Asians are not a monolith. Also, much of the wealth in the Asian community is concentrated among East Asians, Indians, and Pakistanis.

      – Despite their achievements, Asians are also underrepresented in leadership positions at these same organizations they work for. One of the many ways Asians are still being discriminated against.

      Here’s a few articles:

    4. Did you actually look at the stats for the link you posted? More Black people chose Business degrees than Whites or Asians… Most of the other top majors are in every group… The main difference being more Black people studied Criminal Justice. Not exactly a low earning degree. According to your own link, Blacks and Asians chose higher earning degrees than Whites and Hispanics. Yet, Blacks still earn less. If anything, you proved more systemic bias. None of the top 10 degrees in the White category involves STEM jobs except Nursing and Biology which are comparable to the Black group. Yes, below it says they choose more STEM jobs, but that’s cherry picking facts if you’re discarding other glaring facts presented. It’s intellectually dishonest.

      “Looking at the most popular majors by racial and ethnic group, one feature that is apparent is the great deal of similarity across groups. For example, business administration, psychology, nursing, and biology are four of the top five majors for all four of the groups shown. There are some differences, however. For example, economics, finance, and electrical engineering appear on the top-ten list only for Asian students, whereas social work appears on the list only for black students. Elementary education, history, and marketing are unique to the top-ten list for white students.”

      Here’s what it says below the STEM chart, “However, relatively few students from any racial or ethnic group major in these subjects. Less than 1 percent of black students major in these subjects, about 1 percent of Asian students do, and only slightly more than 1 percent of Hispanic students do.”

      Let’s rewind to the article at hand that points out how Whites and Asians still earn more even without any degree at all… No amount of education or type of education in the Black category makes up for the fact that a high school graduate or someone with a 2 year degree has much higher odds just by being White or Asian… 1% of the population being in STEM fields is not the issue.

  19. I like your analysis as always but what about people with pensions and retired military. I have friends retired police with $50,000 plus pensions for life. Hey that’s a million bucks. I have friends retired military with pensions over $50,000 free medical ( Tri care) that’s a million bucks.
    So you need to add pensions over $40,000 to the millionaires. Lots of teachers.
    Also you need to add population numbers by race when making claims of racial issues. There are a lot more white millionaires but there a lot more white people. What about people from other countries who come here and become millionaires. Where do they fit in the numbers by race?

  20. Engineered Jo

    Your point number 9 resonated a lot with me. I actually took the leap and started my own blog. Right now it is not for making any money but rather share my experience in the construction industry. Hopefully one day it takes off and I can start making some sort of revenue from it even if it only covers domain and hosting costs. Thank you for this post!

  21. Hi there,

    I am a high school teacher (and fellow W&M grad!) and want to react to a very small point- there is a search for diversity in the teaching profession. The statistic you quote about lack of diversity in teaching only looks at gender- there is a lot of focus on attracting racial diversity in the teaching force, especially as the demographics of American students change. Individual colleges are focused on this, as are teacher training groups (like TFA). Recruiting teachers of color is absolutely a focus, even in “lower paying” work.

    (Furthermore, the teaching profession was intentionally feminized in the mid 1800s as education became compulsory. States and reformers such as Horace Mann advocated for women to be teachers because 1) it fit with their social interpretation of women’s roles as nurturers and 2) they could pay them far less than a man’s salary. The legacy of K-12 education being “lower paying” work AND a highly female-dominated profession is a direct outgrowth of this *systemic* shift!)

  22. Being a black man I have a different perspective on why it is harder for black people on a whole to reach millionaire status. My mother is from the islands but I was born in America. I grew up with black American friends. The main difference between me and my friends, who allot of them are dead or in jail or just living day to day check to check, is that they didn’t have a Male influence in the house hold. Luckily for me I had a grandfather who lived with my mother and I and a hard nosed Marine uncle who was in my life. 95% of my friends had no father or father figure in their life. No one to teach them about money or how to save. We just learned about purchasing and spending from our mothers who usually spent their paycheck before payday even arrived. Systemic racism helped this because of Gov programs that helped black mothers. If a father was in the home, you could not recieve benefits which in turn started to break up black families. There’s so many other things that help keep black people back in this millionaire race, but the number one thing is mentality. It’s so much negativity in the black community but it stems from not knowing ourselves, losing our culture, having to adapt to American culture, basically it’s a mental issue. Blacks are still going through PTSD whether other races want to believe it or not. But still it’s no excuse. If any race can do it black and brown people can also. I see the statistics of black millionaires and it motivates me to change that 1% to at least %2. I will help change this statistic!

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Is it true that there is less male influence in black households? If so, why do you think think this is so besides the government support you mention?

      Once I became a father in 2017, I wanted to spend more time at home teaching my kids instead of less time at home to hang out with friends and work. I would think most fathers feel the same way, no?

      1. Replying to the man who mentioned single parents: As a black woman, I don’t think fatherlessness is the root problem for millionaire potential. I blame Bad education and no real generational wealth. If someone comes from poverty, gang infested area, and extremely low quality schools, theres a higher chance they’ll be introduced to drugs at a young age (about 11 yrs old). Most have family and friends who sell drugs too.

        Success, they’re told, is making a lucrative career selling drugs (illegally). And they’re being taught this at a young age. Many become young addicts themselves. There are drug lords who do make it as millionaires, but not included in these estimates as successful black people….it’s a trap of course. Overwhelming majority of black people in jail is for selling drugs.

        Black children who grew up in the suburbs, and immigrant black children will have a different mentality, cause we see success as doing well in school, graduating, and getting a good job. We tend to be more focused academic smarts vs street smarts. And we aren’t being setup for criminal mentality by our family and friends.

        1. This is certainly true on the surface. But it’s also true that most black children don’t grow up in ghettos. I do believe Darnell has an excellent point about fatherlessness but I believe that’s not the whole picture either. What master’s degree you get matters far more than whether you have one. MBAs and technical degrees are worth far more and Whites and Asians are more likely to earn those than Blacks and Hispanics. I know more than one masters of social work holder who make $55k per year. A degree alone is not a good determiner of a high income… the type of degree earned matters far more. And obviously there are plenty of famous actors and athletes (of all races) who go broke because they don’t understand money. I worked with an engineer who did a short stint in the NFL. The NFL has a 100% matching investment plan but only 10% of players took part! I think exposure to the right information at a young age and teaching kids more about money can help a lot with this. One would hope anyway.

          1. I believe at least half of black children grew up in a rough neighborhood. Not exactly ‘ghettos’ but the problem is when a neighborhood becomes mostly black it gets less school funding, becomes over policed, and less upkeep. So that lowers the chances by about half I feel. And also yes! Financial education is needed. Successful money practices in America have been passed down more by white parents because of the ability to own land in the past, etc. and inheriting a paid for house from ur parents is something most black kids don’t have

      2. Yes I feel the same way. My daughter Is only 2 months old but that’s the same feeling I have now. But going back to the mental state of black people, I just feel we all have a lot of issues going on mentally. I honestly don’t have the answers but from my perspective, the black men I know who had a father or father figure tend to be more successful, less emotional, just more solid individuals. It starts in the home. But there’s alot going on in the homes that need to be addressed. Asians have a solid foundation when it comes to families and the fathers expectations from the children. We lack that for the most part. I hate to sound like a victim because I understand anyone can overcome if they really try… but I honestly believe it’s because of slavery. Mentally most black people have a slave thinking process. We think of ourselves as workers. We, for the most part don’t see ourselves as entrepreneurs or bosses. I don’t speak for all black people but this is my observation. And things are starting to change for black people! Still there’s issues that need to be addressed though.

    2. As a white person (although I live in Mexico in an area with no expats and I only speak Spanish at home) I would like some insight on your statement “Systemic racism helped this because of Gov programs that helped black mothers. ” This also applies to poor whites as well so I am perplexed as to why this would be a racist policy unless the intent of the Johnson administration was to ensure that blacks remained poor. Personally I believe the problem is not one of racism but rather one of classism. If you are born into wealth, your color is of little consequence and in today’s political correctness might even be an advantage.

      1. But they are wondering why so few black people are born into wealth. This is where systemic racism comes in.

        1. How is this systemic racism? I could ask why are so few white people living in trailer parks are born into wealth.
          You must also consider your question in regards to countries that are predominantly black. The percentage of people in those countries that are born into wealth tends to be much lower than the percentage of people born into wealth in the developed world. Is that also due to “systemic racism” or is it due to classism?
          In the end, I suspect we will just have to agree to disagree as our perspectives are undoubtedly very different.

      2. The difference is that blacks has spend far more generations being forced into poverty. Often times, even if black people did become wealthy it was stolen from them. Here are a few examples out of millions:

        Blacks were routinely forced into poverty over and over. Then black men were forced out of homes by welfare policies. Following that, black men were systemically jailed and prohibited from voting for life.

        It’s not just one thing, it was a combination of policies and actions against the black community as a whole. While there were white, single mothers who shared this one policy, white people were entirely free to move up the social economic ladder based on their own merits. Millennial black people are the first who have any real taste of that ability on a larger scale.

  23. What’s amazing to me is the size of the confidence interval for Asians relative to other races. I wonder what the cause of that is.

    1. Hi Modviz. There are a lot of generations about Asians Americans that I wanted to clear up. Many that we see in media are East Asian Americans, which have different income/education backgrounds vs Southeast Asian Americans. There is a big difference between those two Asian demographics alone. Many Southeast Asian Americans came to America escaping war (Vietnam War/Cambodian genocide, etc) instead of of the Asian immigrants now. Different generations of Asian American immigrants also play into part. Newer Asian immigrants are generally wealthier and more educated as they come from “new money”

  24. Pethias katampi

    this article has really touched my heart. And the fact that my country Zambia is mentioned makes it even worse. Opportunities in certain areas make it difficult for some people to success in life. i grew up in a grass thatched house, surrounded by poor people with full of negative thoughts. managed to finish high which was a very big issue from my neighborhood and went to college for a diploma in Business Admin. i work and am considered one of the rich guys from my home town. but i have nothing. my salary is less than $300. if i was able to get education from such kind of neighborhood which was full of negative people, being chased from school because of unsettled fees, discrimination, i will make it and become a millionaire. thanks for this awesome article.

    Mwewa Pethias

  25. It is sad but not a surprise to see that the political climate made it all the way to this awesome site. Your charts are the best answer against the so called systemic racism. Ex, if the system is designed for white people to get ahead, then why the Asians, which are one of the smallest minorities are doing so far better than all of us.

    I escaped the Cuban dictatorship, a place where the people is REALLY oppressed, my last mile to US was actually swimming, 15 years later I paid off both, my house and my parents, I do have a Master degree and I try every day to not fall into this victim’s mentality.

    Anyway, I doubt that your readers blame on others their failures since all I have seen throughout these years is people with high level of self-esteem, great work ethic and personal responsibility.

  26. Sam, I read your articles and I agree with a lot of what you post. However, as you can see from my original comment and a lot of comments from other people that their just may be another side to this story that does not fit your political narrative. I am a white male, 54 years of age who came from a blue collar family where neither of my parents went to college. My father worked three jobs just to allow my mother to stay home and raise 4 kids, put a roof over our heads and put food on the table. All 4 kids went to college and paid for it themselves. I have a degree in bachelors in engineering, a bachelors in accounting, a masters in taxation and a law degree. I paid for each degree myself and paid off my student loans. My wife is 49 years old and came from a single parent home since she was 3. She too did not have parents that put her through school and paid for veterinary medicine school on her own. I would argue that we came from white disadvantaged homes put we succeeded through effort and making good choices. The choice of the degree that you obtain from college makes a big difference on your ability to climb the corporate ladder or open your own business.

    Its important as an author to be open to other peoples opinions whether your agree with them or not. Does racism exist? Sure it does. Is it systemic, I am not so sure. Most racism rises from ignorance, and not with malice intent. You do not have to be black or hispanic to experience racism or “the good ole boys club. Do people like to hang out with other people that are like them? Sure. Does that make them a racist? Absolutely not.

    We hear on the news daily about white cops killing black men and women. But you never hear about black men and women killing other black men and women. Why? Because it does not fit the political narrative. Are there bad cops? Absolutely. Are all cops bad? Absolutely not.

    Again, it all falls back to the political narrative that is perpetuated.

    What is the point of my rant, your readers read your material because it educates them on finance and provides a conversation. My only advice is not to cavilierly dismiss the thoughts of your readers when it does not support your thesis or you may end up with less subscribers.

    Maybe, just maybe, they have a point and a further analysis of the data on degree types will provide information that will either support your conclusion or not. However, without the analysis, a terse response indicating your conclusion is correct does not benefit yourself or your readers.

    Just food for thought.

    1. Jonathan Welsh

      @KMG- “A fish never sees water as air”

      Solid assessment, however your post goes too subjective as this sounds as if you and your wife are hard workers, etc.! Nothing against that, but you also noted several areas in which you didn’t have to deal with obvious hurdles in which your minority counterparts had to overcome. For example, your parents probably didn’t need to go to college like many adults in that era and they also were relegated to the lowest paying jobs, health care, etc. due to skin color. I’m sure they nor their kids had to live in fear of terrorists (i.e. Violent white supremacists, local police, church bombings, etc.) either?

      Also, if you’re 54 (born in 1966-67..Jim Crow/Pre-civil rights baby), by the time the mid 80’s and early 90’s (i.e. Hello white flight) came around you also avoided being targeted by government policies (housing, drug laws, judicial system, indigenous reservation changes, etc.) that produced harsher penalties for people of color than whites. This also equated to LESS competition career wise for you as well. If the above objective examples aren’t systematic I’m not sure what we are missing here. This isn’t meant to take anything away from your success, it’s just a reminder to be gracious for the hurdles you didn’t have to endure along the way!

      Let’s all get educated and get away from the half told history lessons!

      Peace & Harmony

      1. Jonathan Welsh

        Also, let’s not forgot some of the studies that identify how one’s name can easily affect their earning potential (i.e. another systematic issue):

    2. All points are welcome, which is why your comment is published and free for all to read.

      I don’t dismiss your experiences. And I hope others do not dismiss my own.

      Sharing our experiences is how we broaden our minds and grow.

      I firmly believe those of us who done well should do more to help those who are struggling.

      In my mind, if we can, we must. A big reason why I keep on publishing three times a week on average since 2009 is to try to help as many people as possible with my free content.

    3. You don’t hear about black people killing black people for the same reason you don’t hear about white people killing white people. Because civilian killing is irrelevant to police brutality. Cops are there to protect and serve. They’re in a position of authority and should be fair without killing people who aren’t a danger. And to be clear police brutality happens against all kinds of people, not just black.

      1. Then why the blowback against All Lives Matter or why the title Black Lives Matter? Neither refers to police brutality in any way. Personally I believe the message should not have been related to any race but rather just police brutality.

      2. Andrea, you are spot on! I’m saddened that more progress was not made and that police can still get away with killing and torturing people in many parts of the U.S. The federal ruling that allows any police officer killing anyone as long as the officer claims they were afraid is insane when it would not apply to any normal citizen.

    4. Your whole comment is dismissing the experiences of billions while saying you don’t want to be dismissed. You might want to rethink that. I’m pretty sure everyone else knows exactly what they are experiencing first hand in life as much as you know what you are experiencing. Just because you are fortunate does not mean most people are.

  27. Jim,

    As brothers-in-arms and a fellow military officer (still Active Duty), I will be blunt and honest. I’d recommend to take a break, reap the benefits of honorable and hard work, and enjoy the precious moments with the family. Do not work just because you “feel” the need to work. As military folks, we all have that innate drive and self-initiative to achieve for excellence 100% regardless of the obstacles. Enjoy the retirement without the need to work and congrats on becoming a multi-millionaire.


  28. I think you may be oversimplifying the systemic racism. Before you can make such a claim, you need more granular information on the types of masters degrees that blacks and Hispanics obtain as compared to whites and Asians. I bet what you will find is that more bachelors and masters degrees obtained by blacks and Hispanics are the types of degrees that rack up big financial aide debt while providing limited job opportunities. I tell my kids all the time that they should only go to college if they plan on obtaining a degree that will get them a high paying job. College used to be a place where a degree almost guaranteed you a job. Now with degrees in women’s studies, African studies, gender equality, social sciences, etc., most of the degrees get you a job working at McDonalds. Its too bad that colleges have convinced kids that any degree will provide a living wage. Unfortunately this is not true.

  29. The Expostriate

    I appreciate the sentiment behind your statement: “In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if everybody could have an equal chance to become a millionaire by race, by age, and by educational achievement”

    However, if everyone were millionaires, would that just drive up prices until mid-single-digit millionaires would have the same quality of life of the people at the median net worth today? In such a scenario, you would need an 8- or 9-figure net worth to achieve FIRE.

    1. That is true. If we are all make $1 million a year or have a net worth of $10 millionaire a year, then we are all the same. To get ahead, you must outperform. To feel wealthier financially, you must have more than the average or median.

      With interest rates so low, a $10 million+ net worth may very well be necessary now to achieve FIRE.

      1. Guest17892736

        What’s nice this time around is that consumer price inflation has remained low even as rates have gone lower. Perhaps the entire world economy will Japanify as an ever increasing amount of assets held by the saver class chase an ever shrinking amount of growth/investment opportunities, of which alot will just stem from less roofs needed to house people.

        If this is the case $1 million may remain more than enough for financial independence. yes you won’t be able to compete for the housing in nice school districts or buy the latest veblen goods trends of the saver class, but compared to the spender class subsisting on basic income, you’ll be able to afford far more then canned beans and video games.

    2. I believe if we all had equal chance to be a millionaire that doesn’t mean we would all be one. Many people still would rather have an average job and do not want to take the risk of running a business or owning real estate. A lot of people just want to be comfortable and not have to worry about money.

      Also, there are several billionaires in the US. Hypothetically …If that money was redistributed and we had more millionaires instead I don’t believe that would cause much inflation. So I do support stronger monopoly laws as a way to open the door for more millionaires

  30. How about culture/habit factor among different races? Most studies in US about a lot of things only look at US only and fail to see what happens outside the US.
    You lived in Malaysia for some time and I think you’re kind of familiar with racism toward minorities in Malaysia. Despite this, they are successful in becoming middle class and many of them make the list of the richest in the country. Or in Indonesia where ethnic Chinese is only about 2% with similar state-sponsored racism.
    Chinese immigrants in Indonesia/Malaysia (usually boomers generation or before) started from almost nothing and most didn’t have higher education (only high school or less).
    They were known to work hard and save everything. They didn’t know about investing in stock/bond (of course current generation is different as they’re more educated).
    A simple example in the US is, if you want to eat at restaurant on Thanksgiving or Christmas, which type of restaurant is most likely open ? Or which restaurant is most likely to open 365 days a year ? How about BART janitor who earned 270k in pay/benefits about 4-5 years ago ? I’m sure that guy is the type of guy who just saves as much as he can (and there’s a good chance that he doesn’t have financial knowledge like this blog’s readers). Are you surprised that he’s not from the race group that make up the majority of janitors ?

    1. I couldn’t agree more as the habit/cultural habit potentially being a huge factor. But what happens when American minorities have cultural habits either stripped from them completely and/or had no cultural foundation to share based on repetitive violent assimilation (i.e. native Americans, african Americans, etc.)? Also, how about when these certain ethnic minorities become Americanized/Westernized buying into an American/Merit based dream and cultural habits that just don’t work out as well for them?

      Another comparison is the experience of an American born Chinese vs. Foreign born Chinese OR Nigerians vs. African Americans OR American born Latinos vs. Recent Immigrants. This is definitely an additional factor!

      Better question, which cultural values should be adopted by apply native Americans and African Americans who are in the relative infancy of cultural development? Hard to compare potentially hundreds or thousands of years of cultural values to those of less than 100 years, right (i.e. circa mid 1960’s as prior to this mass race murders were still prevalent)?

      1. I love this.
        First of all, I appreciate that the author pointed out systemic racism because as a black woman growing up in America I KNOW IT EXISTS! White people will always get defensive when someone mentions systemic racism so I commend the author’s courage to point it out.

        I am also a first generation immigrant, so I am aware of the major cultural differences between black immigrant people and black American people. And I think this is one of the reasons Asian people in America are so successful as a minority. The people who were able to get out of their country and come to America are far more likely to be successful when they get here. They usually have decent savings, education, support, etc. in order to even make it to America. Some came with nothing, but most had something going for them.

        I’m sure if we had stats to compare financial stability of Nigerian or Ethiopian or Caribbean black immigrant families who came to America, it would reflect more financial success among black people. Unfortunately, much of the culture and strength has been stripped away from black Americans. And the country deliberately sets them up to fail before they are even born.

    2. Hello. I am Malaysian of part Borneo native and part ethnic Chinese, and living in the US, responding the above comment. Ethnic Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia are relatively recent immigrants to Southeast Asia, mostly just the third generation. They are an economic powerhouse in the region. Their ancestors went there as economic immigrants. Many were indentured workers in the first few years; they did not go there as captured people to be sold as slaves. They had the entrepreneurial work ethics similar to most economic immigrants the world over. They came from hardships but they also came from a culture with well-established education systems for hundreds if not thousands of years. On the other hand, the natives (the majority people) of Malaysia and Indonesia were laid back rice farmers or sea-faring fishermen and did not have an education system until they were colonized by the Europeans. There has been some “racism” against the Chinese in Malaysia but it never came to the point where they were lynched or banned from eating at ethnic Malay restaurants or were relegated to sitting in the back of buses like what happened to Black people in the US just one or two generations ago. The discrimination there is very mild compared to the systematic and often violent cases of racism experienced by Black people throughout the history of the USA.

      It appears to me that recent immigrants from Africa or Jamaica to the US are better off financially. They experience the same racism. What are the factors that make them more successful financially?

      1. I have African friends in the US who immigrated from Cameroon. I met the father when he was working as a security guard at an Embassy in Equitorial Guinea. I later met his wife in China when she was working as an English teacher. The father came on a tourist visa and never went home. The wife obtained a visa through the diversity lottery. The father worked various jobs including shucking crabs until he became a legal resident. He now provides services to shutins. I asked him to answer your question. His comments follow:
        “Many of them had gone through a lot of difficulty in terms of finance. With this background they have learned how to manage and survive with little finances”
        “It could be traced from the sycho logically implications from slavery in the American”
        “The black coming from Africa to the United States does not focused on racism”
        “The black whose ancestors were brought to America as slaves and had suffered from white supremacists had that notice of racism”

        I hope this provides a bit of an answer to your question. I find the topic interesting because I am a white American who immigrated to Latin America and I do not live within expat communities.

      2. My friend sent me another comment which merits inclusion and sums up the factors perfectly

        “African black immigration understands that racism is normal and is practice every where in the world; between and within all races”

  31. Just curious, does having a million dollar even enough to retire in high cost living area such as San Francisco? For two people, I would think you would need to shoot for at least 2-3M with house paid-off?

  32. Excellent post, Sam. Thank you for trying to shed more light on the issues at hand.

    My wife works at a biotech startup. She is Asian. The majority of the leadership is White and Asian. There are very few Hispanics and black people working in mid level leadership and above. I brought this up and she stated that they never get black and Hispanic candidates for the positions they are trying to fill. Most of the positions are science, business or law related. I agree with the notion that people hire those that they feel most comfortable with but I also wonder if we are not getting black and Hispanics into the high paying fields and for what reasons.

    1. I appreciate Sam’s response below to Charlee, as this can seem a bit thought provoking but you must look beyond the surface. The most aggressive forms of racism are never really in your face other than the typical cop brutality, church bombings and modern day lynchings (i.e. james byrd jr., ahmaud arbery, g.floyd, Breanna Taylor, travon, etc.). The terror has been here since slavery ended, but it’s not just violence.

      It’s more of the “who do you know as a reference in this club” that affects hundreds or thousands at a time (i.e. Social Capital). Which can in turn make people resentful, give up, look elsewhere and/or not try at all. Luckily we are in the internet/information era where people can finally understand and learn how/where wealth is generated. Imagine not having an internet connection in a poor community.

      Also, look at the school to prison pipeline situation. This ingredient works wonderfully well in economically disadvantaged areas where residents don’t have a voice and it further prospers in areas of HIGH CRIME. Add in POVERTY(i.e. zero to minimal local opportunities) and american GUN LAWS (i.e. most gun related deaths of all wealthy countries..yes #1) and there’s your sum, right? Who’s suppose to rise from that?

      Regardless of ethnicity and skin tone, those are some hellacious barriers. Just to imagine that’s only ONE example of how our government and judicial system targets various minorities (i.e. native americans, latino & black ). So, imagine if you overcome all of those barriers , does middle management actually sound great compared to the alternative reality you’ve grown up with? Theoretically, you’ve certainly outperformed a plethora of high earning ceo’s based on your starting point, right? Or maybe you set a higher ceiling as well! Welcome back to phase 1, how does this person now gain the Social capital?

      This reminds me of Sam’s experience with wall st and what others deal with daily. You have to get lucky and/or develop the social capital as well (i.e. where’d you grow up, rich sports vs. Poor sports, where’d you vacay, country club, spring break, undergrad, mba, etc.)!! I rarely see section 8 or habit for humanity as something to brag on unless you volunteered here via teach for America.

      In conclusion, you have to ask how many really want to play the entire game and how do they develop all of the social capital tools and confidence to do so?

      Sam, you should refresh the old social capital posts and let us add what will be the new social capital tools! I highly doubt the early 2000’s and 2010’s will look anything like the late 2020’s and early 2030’s.

        1. Give me a day or two to take time and search for those posts. I believe it was an article when you were discussing what’s the best ROI in terms of your kid’s potential private education and/or daycare, etc. It lead to decent number of comments that brought up the benefits of social capital, networking, etc. that can arise from the prep school investment compared to otherwise simply taking the beefed up ROI after 15-20 years .

  33. I agree with other comments on choice of degree major being a more likely cause for your chart disparities than racism. Many years ago, I chose engineering as a major after looking at starting salaries. I was usually the only woman in my classes. My classes were filled with Asian and white men. Even in those days, there was support for minorities in engineering, because on campus I recall there was a house dedicated for us to get tutoring, tutor others, and study together. However, there just were not very many minorities students and, in my opinion, not due to racism. In those days, women, blacks, and Hispanics were just less likely to choose tech as a major. Fast forwarding to today, my son attends a large public high school. He has lots of friends of many ethnicities. I have noticed that although he is not Asian, he gravitates toward hanging out with many Asians boys. He shares a common interest with them about personal finance and stocks. My son and many of these Asian boys have a stock account and choose their own stocks. Based on my son’s experience, it seems that other ethnicities perhaps even whites are less likely to entrust their high schooler with a modest sum of investment money to control. Many of my son’s white and Hispanic friends hear him sharing stock stories (bragging about their 2 shares of AAPL or TSLA lol) with the Asian fellows and they ask him a lot of questions about investing. I tell him to be patient and answer all their questions because they may not have parents that can teach them. If someone with your knowledge taught personal finance to disadvantaged teens at every high school, the gaps would be closing. Lack of personal finance education in high school is a big problem no one mentions much. There are many factors in play with your charts so I gently suggest you refrain from assuming it is mainly racism.

    1. We’ll have to agree to disagree then about systemic or institutional racism. Please note this is different from the racism you may think of when someone calls a someone a racial slur.

      I’m talking about things like a private club, where it was originally 100% Whites only 70 years ago. Today, the club says it is open to all races. But to get in, you need to get recommendations from 5 letters of recommendation from existing members. If you are a minority, you will have a harder time getting this support network together.

      You see the same thing getting into preschools, private schools, hard to get jobs, and so forth. But maybe you won’t because you are not a minority?

      One way to try is to move your family to a country where you are a minority and try to get ahead.

  34. As always, great post Financial Samurai. Thank God I discovered your website in 2018 Sam! God bless you for sharing such great information for the rest of us for free. I am 100% sure that is why you have been blessed with financial freedom and a great family. All your posts have inspired me. I reached $1M new worth last year. The stock market and real estate has helped me get to $2M. I make most of my money in the stock market. Reading your posts has inspired me to share my ideas on investing and savings. I am an economist and like you have been in the Wall Street meat house. I am the Economy Chief just like Sam is the Financial Samurai.

  35. Emma Vinson

    Hi Sam,
    thank you for your article. It is a very complete demographic study. I believe there are still too many racists people, but most of all I think that what you said about people employing people similar to them is really true. We are humans and consciously or unconsciously very biased.
    There are many studies that show that with the same degrees or even a lower degree, it is White people that often get the job. One good academic paper on this subject is the following:
    Bertrand and Mullainathan (2004), “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination”, American Economic Review, vol. 94, no.4, pages 991-1013

    About the differences in wealth according to ethnicity, I also wanted to point out to some economic growth concepts that influence the saving/investment rate and, subsequently, wealth. First, you have a concept called time preferences. It quantifies how much of today’s consume one is willing to give up to increase future consume. This is very important as it helps to predict the saving/investment rate of individuals. It has been shown that these time preferences are, for instance, linked with the culture one’s originate from. Indeed, when our ancestors moved from a hunting/gathering to an agricultural lifestyle, they learn patience (fruits and vegetables have to grow before being harvested). They then transmitted this patience to the following generations in the form of culture. Eventually, people coming from cultures that have changed early to an agricultural lifestyle are more patient and have a higher saving rate.
    Another important concept from economic growth is the importance of status. In some cultures, one’s relative consumes (compared to other individuals) plays an important role. Therefore, people from this culture will spend more (save less), leading to a long-term smaller wealth. One factor influencing the importance of the relative status is the difficulty of raising plants in the country. It is once again a deep-rooted factor. At the time of the Neolithic Revolution, people that came from a part of the world, where it was hard to raise plants, had to collaborate with another if they wanted to survive. This collaboration leads to the building of a collective mindset as part of the culture and a really low sense of status. Subsequently, people coming from those countries (with low importance of status) are saving/investing more.

    I hope this helps to shed some lights on potential sources for differences in saving/investment and thus, wealth.

  36. FrugalBazooka

    Those of us who have master’s or higher saw the flaw immediately…having the degree as a statistical variable is one thing, what you studied to get the degree is much more important. Going back and parsing that variable would give much more insight as to why the climb is easier or harder. Master’s in Sociology = slow climb, Master’s in Business Admin…a little faster. The good news is that in our economy you can still win if you’re willing to also educate yourself about good financial habits even if your degree is not a big money shaker..

    1. Ok, so you really believe that the main reason for the massive difference is bc Blacks and Hispanics get Master‘a degrees in lower paying fields?

      If so, I’d love for you to elaborate on this, share your race and your financial position. I’ll then write a new post incorporating your belief and share the data. It’ll be a good one. Thx

      1. go look at uc school degrees awarded by race for different fields

        ideally we should take money from those like yourself who have more than $5million in savings and distribute it to the less wealthy educated black and hispanic members of our society and not increase affirmative action

        A man named Muhammed is most likely classified as “white” or “asian” and has a much lower chance of getitng a interview than a hispanic or aa person named “chris”

  37. “The Master’s degree percentage discrepancy between Whites and Blacks is the strongest evidence of systemic racism.”

    Without knowing the fields of endeavor as well as savings rates, etc. this statement is without merit. I would find it difficult to believe that a black or a white person with a master’s degree working in the same field would have such a difference in salary that only one would not achieve a net worth of one million dollars during their lifetime.

      1. There are many factors which could account for this difference. Let me mention just two to continue the conversation. What is the average age of those within a race group that have a masters degree? Obviously someone in their 50s or 60s is much more likely to be a millionaire. I suspect blacks and hispanics were under represented in masters programs in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Thus they have on average worked fewer years than their white counterparts.
        Home value is included in your networth calculations. Someone who purchased an average home in the bay area or silicon valley 20 years ago is a millionaire by default even if they have zero disposable income using this measure. I have rarely even seen a black person the times I have visited a fried in the silicon valley. In the heartland one’s home value is typically a much lower percentage of their networth.
        It would be interesting to see the statistics if primary residence were not included and age was taken into consideration.

  38. I’m disappointed by this article. If you start with the premise that 10% of the population had 70% of the wealth, then it seems obvious that the higher rate of wealth in whites is from wealthy parents paying for their child’s MBA and entering into either their own business or a part of their network.

    I definitely believe that there is systemic racism in this country, but the likelihood of a child in Mississippi or West Virginia is far less likely than one on the west Coast, New England or the mid Atlantic regardless of race.

    Harvard admissions would be a reasonable comparison. 50% of the admissions are legacy – that means that fighting for equity is really half of what you think it is.

    If your parents were not millionaires, we’re all just fighting for the remaining 30%.

    1. I highly disagree with this mainly because this article is about millionaires. And 88% of millionaires in the US are self made. The inheritance doesn’t account for as much as you’re suggesting.

  39. The explanation for fewer Asian millionaires with Master’s Degrees, compared to whites;-), is that the average age is 29 for an Asian in the U.S., while it is 58 for a white in the U.S. fwiw, 11 for Hispanic and 27 for Black.

    This is from the St. Louis Fed report…“Even more important for future income generation and wealth accumulation, the shares of 35-39-year-olds in each racial and ethnic group with at least a four-year college degree were 65 (Asian), 42 (white), 26 (black) and 16 percent (Hispanic). Attainment rates for a graduate or professional degree in 2013 for ages 35-39 were 32,15, 9 and 5 percent (in the same order)”

    There has been a concerned effort to get-and-keep Black and Hispanic populations to get college degrees, let alone advanced degrees. It isn’t happening. A big part of the ‘problem’ is the technical requirements for Medical, Legal, Engineering, Accounting, etc. degrees. The anti-STEM movement is about devaluing technical degrees (“2 + 2 = 5”) and trying to make the world accept liberal arts degrees as worthwhile qualifications for top jobs. There are very few whites willing to do the hard work and obtain and advanced engineering degree. So, they get MBAs or Public Administration or other softer degrees. Not complicated.

    1. 11 for Hispanics? I’ll have to look into that.

      Based on demographics then, as Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks get older and Whites get youngr, then the percentages for becoming a millionaire may equalize naturally.

      1. My own personal theory is that the term “Masters” is ‘systemically racist’ and requires a new nomenclature. Open to suggestions.

  40. NoFreeLunch

    Not all Masters Degrees are the same. The one I got is one of the top paying, and it was hard. Lots of math. I know who was in my classes and who wasn’t. When choosing a major, you may want to consider one that society needs over one that involves things they want. They have to use you if they need you, but don’t if it’s just a want. Also consider industries with high cash flows. A higher salary for an employee in a high cash flow company has a smaller impact.

  41. Thanks Sam. Very interesting article. I’m an Asian with a Masters degree. This does help put things in perspective.

    Curious- Why is ‘Having a Masters Degree , yet the low percentage of non-millionares among black and hispanic evidence for Systemic Racism’?

    I mean could it also be other factors- type of degree, debt incurred etc?

    I recall , when i was in grad school for engineering , there were very few white and almost no black or hispanic. Also many companies did not hire me precisely because i was a ‘foreigner’ and they needed to sponsor a visa. I assume an american (white, black or hispanic) woul dnot face such a problem?

    1. If the percentage difference was up to 10%, one could make the argument that other factors are way more important. But when the absolute difference is over 30%, there is a structural issue going on from an early age through school and in the workplace.

      Therefore, the only way to fix the issue is by making proactive decisions that give Blacks and Hispanics more opportunity.

      People are self-serving. You’ll have a politician talk about the importance of public school, your son their kids to private school. If you’re in power, you’re naturally going to take care of your friends child over some random stranger.

      Because of all these issues, I Decided to focus on what I can control and participate in the Permissionless society.

      1. Sam

        The white population should be divided into two categories before any honest discussion on demographics being used for analysis of systematic prejudices can be had.

        The poorest blacks (mostly my friends) in my rural/semi suburban community pitied my circumstances. I estimate I was in the lowest 2-5% socioeconomic condition in the country.

        I spent 2 years in a children’s home where I was raised by a black woman who introduced me to God. (The greatest gift I have ever received)

        I also served 22 years in the Marine Corps with some of the best Black, Hispanic, and Asian men and women in our country!

        It is more likely that the top 30% of wealthy Whites make up for 80%+ of the supposed Millionaire class.

        The system is designed for their children’s future advancement regardless of their child’s individual competitive capabilities!

        The lowest 70% of white Americans are equally affected by the systematic prejudices historically legislated by mostly democratic led congresses!

        Your readers are the most diverse group of millionaires and aspiring millionaires I have been fortunate enough to encounter!

        None of them seem to have allowed themselves to be the willing victims of this race propaganda designed to pit us against each other based off false narratives.

        Instead based off the stories being told they have all taken personal responsibility for their own success regardless of the circumstances they were born into!

        I know this much; poor people of any race are not disadvantaged in America, they willingly allow the elite class in their community to strip them of their personal pride and keep them in the collective coward box; they are manipulated to blame each other for their miserable circumstances instead of taking personal responsibility and dig themselves out of those circumstances.

        The truest disadvantage is the socioeconomic position each member holds in their individual community/society not their race.


  42. If being a millionaire is the goal then choose money, not passion. Go into a high paying field. Constantly look for better job opportunities. Don’t be afraid to move around for a higher paying job.

    Save a chunk of the earnings and invest the savings. Learn to take appropriate risk. If no clue where to invest, just stick money in the S&P500 or buy real estate. If investing in the stock market, don’t panic sell and dollar cost average in. On most investments, look to hold for the long term (decades).

    To magnify result, look for a spouse/partner/significant other who have the same financial goal of being a millionaire.

    Have the believe that anyone who wants to be a millionaire and take action will become a millionaire. There is no qualifier to that statement.

  43. I’m confused by point number 5: “Invest in the least diverse companies”

    Do homogenous workforces outperform companies with a diverse workforce? Is there an assumption that less diverse companies are more meritocratic and therefor hire more effectively? Do less divere companies have lower turnover? Less employment related lawsuits? Higher employee satisfaction?

    I don’t understand why ethnic diversity, or lack thereof, would have a major impact on company performance.

    1. Yes. If you want to get in, but can’t for whatever reason, then buy the company stock to participate in the potential upside is a solution. If homogenous companies are dominant and are outperforming, and you don’t believe in diversity, you can buy the homogenous company stock as well.

      Make your capital work for you so you don’t have to work as hard.

      1. Is there any evidence for the claim that less diverse companies outperform more diverse companies? While I acknowledge the possibility–based on the sorts of hypothesis that Matt raises–what we hear from inside the company is that diversity make a company stronger, with equally plausible reasons why it might be so. It would be interesting to see the evidence either way. Thanks.

  44. I really enjoyed this article. I also had never thought of the divorce rate being a significant factor on achieving a high net worth. We all know that divorce can destroy a family’s financial stability, but I had never seen it associated with a race who have very low divorce rates and used to explain their financial stability.

  45. I agree with all your points, except I believe that the correlation between education and wealth is less direct than explained here. What’s missing is salary statistics. It’s implied that Blacks and Hispanics with Master’s degrees earn less than their Asian and White counterparts, which may be true; but net worth is about saving habits… not just earning power.

      1. Could it be other factors-type of degree? Debt incurred?savings habits?divorce? child support? . As you’ve alluded in your article – just having a Masters degree will not make you a millionare.

        While i don’t deny that there is an issue here. I think it may be more societal and the type of community support rather than something wrong with institutions itself.

        1. Yes.

          My main belief is people tend to take care of, promote, pay, hire, hang out with people who are more similar to themselves.

          If the majority of people in power are White in America, then more White people will tend to benefit.

          An easy exercise is to imagine what if 60% of America was Black. Blacks would more than likely have way more opportunities today.

          1. So true, I am a black female with a MBA from a very good school with over 13 years of experience in my field and that in management and was told I was being entitled and should be happy I have gotten this far from my White female job coaches. And by way, own my home, no school debt and hit a million this year, have a husband with an MBA and I have one child, but why can’t I want the same as my white counterparts than “ be happy where I’m at”? People need to stop making excuses, there is white privilege and systemic racism. We have done well, but have faced much discrimination, especially my black husband.

  46. As always, another great article. It’s crazy how much of a difference a degree makes in the data. I wonder if that will hold up over the next 20 years as more companies move to not requiring a bachelors.

  47. I don’t think couples with a household wealth should of $1,000,000 should call themselves millionaires. So many couples I know looked successful but after divorcing aren’t doing so good. Wealth should be per person not households.

    1. If everything goes according to script you and your spouse are one unit . What is yours is theirs and so on . I am more than happy with that arrangement . We are millionaires in my estimation . What we are not is rich monetarily. We are rich because of GOD , family and having each other . The way money is valued now we would need a lot more to be worldly wealthy .

  48. Gina Conkle

    Hi Sam,

    Talking about money with your children is a major factor of success. My mom and I were on welfare for about a year after she escaped an abusive marriage. I learned early on education was my ticket to something better (and put myself thru college). My husband, likewise, came from humble beginnings. He went to college and got a degree in biology. He’s worked in biotech for 28 years.

    We talked to our sons about everything—our smart and dumb money moves. Now, one is a 19 year old deployed Marine. He invests in the stock market and is saving up to pay cash for a truck. He plans to use the GI bill to put him thru college. Our 22 year old is about to start law school (paid for with a scholarship and he worked 2 jobs this summer).

    My husband and I talked about how we grew up, we talked about how soul-crushing debt and poverty is, and we were honest about the good and bad things we did. Honest dinnertime talks reaches beyond race, education, and all other factors.

  49. Gina Conkle

    Hi Sam,
    Thanks for such great posts. However, I want to point out the military offers a lot of opportunities for women. A few examples: My grandma was one of the first female Marines to serve in WWII. The Navy just promoted the first black woman fighter pilot. Last year the Marines integrated male and female platoons training at Parris Island, which puts women in leadership roles (fire teams). Lots of great career opportunities and training in all the branches, however, the military demands much in return, while pay is generally not commensurate with the private sector. Military service is not for everyone.

  50. Sam, as a sophomore in college, your insight and advice has really helped me achieve financial success. I’m motivated to wake up at 5am(yes even on weekends), try things I’ve always wanted to start, and not back down in order to get ahead of my competition. I love this quote, “never fail due to a lack of effort because effort requires no skill.”(Financial Samurai) I would say this is what most people, myself included believed for a while and held me back from creating passive income.

    This is one of the few resources I read upon daily along with your podcast to gain value into the world of finance. Financial literacy is not taught enough at school and it is a shame that most Americans cannot support themselves during a pandemic. The percentage of millionaires is rising, get after it!

  51. Just reached millionaire status this year, black woman with a bachelor’s and white guy with an associate’s. I guess should have been harder than it was based on the statistics.
    Save a bunch, invest it. Don’t waste it on stupid things like cars.

    1. chitown-2020

      I love this… well done! And I totally agree with you. Yes, I do have the advantage of being white in america, but came from a poor and uneducated family. Also I’m not particularly smart academically. But I’ve worked hard, saved a lot and didn’t spend money on stupid stuff. It’s a great formula for success! Oh — and one other thing — be nice to people. Respect smart people and always learn something new. Its not impossible. Thanks for the reminder.

  52. I like my chances. Being born to 2 great parents in the United States I was already halfway to home plate for millionaire status. That being said, a million dollars isn’t what it used to be. 24 years old with a net worth of 110k currently. Hoping to get there by 30.

  53. Fascinating data points! And really wise tips. Totally helps to get educated on personal finance as much as possible, and on a continual basis as things are always changing in the economy and markets.

    And I also really agree on doing things differently than the average person. Also really helps to find an employer who truly values diversity if you’re a minority.

    Thanks for so much helpful tips and data points!

  54. I am an African American male and I am 79 years old, I am a retired military officer. I have read the statistics in the articles and although I believe them, I don’t believe they mean very much in the grand scheme of things. I have a MS in Management that I acquired through the GI Bill. I spent 23.5 years in the military and retired and additionally, I worked in DOD civil service for 25 years before I retired at 66 years old. I have a net worth of approximately $5,200,000.00 dollars. Although there is racism at all levels in our country, I also believe that there is great opportunity also. I would encourage my brothers and sisters of all races to accept that fact but don’t let it keep you from achieving your goals.

    The key for me in achieving My current financial status is focusing on the ultimate prize of financial success and personal satisfaction. I retired from the military at 39 years old and immediately began working for DOD. My career field is project management and engineering. I am not an engineer but I have managed projects in excess of $500,000,000.00. Since retiring from service I have served two terms as the Mayor of a small town adjacent to a major military base, which also gives me a small retirement. Additionally, I have 80% disability because of my two tours of duty in Vietnam. Since retiring from the office in 2016, I have worked as a consultant to other government at the state and local level. I formed my own company and it has been a very lucrative venture. Because of the time I spent in the military and civil service, I have been able to leverage that experience into a good income for myself and my family.

    I outlined my work history in this piece , not to brag, but to point out the fact that there is opportunity in our country, if one takes advantage of it. That means that a person must make themselves aware of every opportunity that is available and use that opportunity to move forward. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something if you know or think you can. I was told that I could not be a project Manager in the engineering field because I was not an engineer, however that is not true. Once businesses find that you know what you are doing and that you produce excellent work, they will want you and your experience in their corporation or firm. My retirements and other income total over $270,000.00 annually. I will continue to work as long as I can produce and not be a hindrance to myself or a client. I have already received over $2,000,000.00 from my retirements and disability pay, therefore it is very likely that military service can and does allow a person to accumulate significant financial resources.

    I would like to recommend to my brothers and sisters in this quest for financial success the following;

    1. Enjoy life and take chances to succeed, you won’t be successful if you don’t.
    2. Never let your color keep you from doing anything, color is someone else’s problem, not yours.

    3. Get the best education you can and make learning and education a life time task.

    4.Take the jobs that others don’t want and learn to do them better than anyone else.

    5. Don’t be intimidated by what schools your competition attended, in the end what counts is ability and competence.

    6. Never let anyone outwork you in any endeavor, work long and hard.

    7.Keep your family foremost in your life, they sustain you and keep you on the right track. My wife of 60 years tells me that all the

    8. Make every effort to mentor someone regardless of color or age, the experience will be life changing for you and hopefully for your mentee.

    9. Keep your faith foremost in your life.

      1. Excellent comment! And thank you for your years of service sir! It seems that your driven character and not the color of your skin has gotten you where you are today. With that I believe racism doesn’t exist in this world we live. It only is there if we talk about it. But you sir did what every Human does and that’s work hard for their dreams! I applaud that and believe you deserve it and more. The lack of work ethic and complaining is destroying this country and I’m always happy to say thanks to a officer and a gentleman like yourself.

        Thank you!

      2. RSK Money Mantras

        Very Nice and informative article. One thing which is very important here that the sooner you become aware of your finances and start focusing on increasing your networth you are on right track to become millionaire.

        And awareness about personal finance is the key and first step to our wealth creation and reaching million dollar mark.

        Keep up the good work Sam.


    1. Very inspiring. You had a clear plan and you executed beautifully. I’m sure you had your ups and downs, but you came through with your head high. I can just tell.

    2. Sir, your achievements are truly inspiring. You put the emphasis on hard work without dwelling on the challenges to success in the face of racism. I am Asian and of similar age. It is interesting that we accumulated similar amounts. I think racism exists in America, but it is a lot better than 40 years ago, and better than a lot of other countries. I believe most people are not racist, and race relationship will continue to improve. Yet there are those less fortunate than us, who are not born into homes with loving responsible parents, who don’t have options but to go to bad schools, that face extreme obstacles to success.

    3. Jim

      Good morning

      Inspiring post, your 9 points for success are spot on!

      Semper Fidelis!

  55. What Jack said on October 19th, 2019 is absolutely correct. You can’t simply compare masters degrees vs doctorate degrees when they can be in anything from art to biochemistry. There is a BIG difference in income potential between the two college majors. If you get a PhD is sociology, you are pretty much going to be teaching at a college if you are lucky enough to get a good educational job. But the guy/girl busting their butt taking all the chemistry, physics, calculus, etc… classes will be rewarded later on with a larger salary. Is that Biochemistry or Physics degree hard to get. ABSOLUTELY. MUCH harder than a sociology or women’s studies degree. But the smart person will look ahead and see what profession is in need and go for what is more profitable if that is what they want. I can’t help wanting to slap teachers that whine and complain about their low pay when they KNEW what it would be before they even took that first teaching 101 class.

    So how stupid can you be. If you willing spend $100,000 to get a degree KNOWING you will get a job paying $30,000 at best, you are an idiot!!! Plain an simple. You will never be rich. I look at all the profession and decided to be an eye doctor. I saw the pay was good and I jumped through the necessary hoops to get the degree and the state license so that I could make the good money. Twenty years later, I have a net worth of 1.5 million dollars via real estate, retirement savings and my business. I started with ZERO. No inheritance. In fact, I had to help my parents out the last 10 years of their life. So I technically started with a negative balance. So I laugh at all the idiots that think everyone that has money inherited it or got it somehow under the table. I worked by butt off. Went into the military. Used the GI bill and now at age 50, am living the dream. I can be done. Just have to plan it correctly and not always take the easy road.

    1. My wife says we need teachers. I’ll let someone else be a teacher and I’ll be the guy flying first class.

  56. how is individual defined? Say a husband and wife jointly have a million, are they both considered millionaire individuals? or do they need to have $2 million as their joint net worth?

  57. Chuck Starks

    Must-Read New Book: “Get Rich While Black… without being an Athlete, Entertainer or Drug Dealer”

    This book is a must-read for anyone who aspires to live an abundant life with more than enough money to spend, live well, give and leave a robust inheritance to heirs.
    Black Americans have literally built this Country yet have not been able, because of discrimination, to reap the benefits of their labor without taking major risks that jeopardize not only their health but their life, family and legacy.
    Very few Black Americans have the ability to play professional sports, act, model or entertain at a star level and get rich. Anyone can sell drugs or commit crimes but we all know how that story ends – prison or death (or both).
    Now, with the knowledge gained from this very informative book, Black Americans will be able to win in the game of life by playing by the easy to follow rules contained within.
    No longer will Black Americans have to risk everything on their looks, talent, luck, or connections to create great wealth.
    Every Black American should read this book … over and over again.

    After reading this book Black Americans can develop a plan to become wealthy with a high rate of success.

    Chuck Starks – Author/Publisher – Norcal Books

  58. My business is energy. I work in a small office, with about 130 employees. The geologists and engineers (7 of us) are the idea generators with their college educations in STEM. We have one or two attorneys. There are about 10 more college degrees of various types in the company, and around 110 support staff. The support staff have either high school diplomas or a community college degree. Their jobs center around accounting entries and maintenance, cutting checks, and general office duties.

    Due to supply and demand, the geologists, engineers, and the attorneys make at least 4-6 times the pay of the support staff (although the attorneys still make less than the STEM staff, due to oversupply…not all lawyers work on Wall Street). The STEM graduates make about twice the pay of thees college educated staff in the arts and humanities, who tend to occupy lower management positions inaccounting and finance. They don’t generate ideas that make money, they merely count it (which is still a needed function). It’s just that there are too many workers with these skills, which depresses wages.

    All of the STEM employees have the potential to be well off. I have known dozens of highly-paid geologists and engineers, and the vast majority of them live very, very modestly. A three or four bedroom house and a couple of Toyotas is our style (the lawyers are a different breed — they live like kings, thus they exist (huge) paycheck to (huge) paycheck). I have never seen one of our STEM employees driving a Lexus or any other luxury car. Ever.

    As you might imagine, most of the STEM employees save 20-40% of our earning. Notably, all the STEM employees come from very modest working or middle class backgrounds. They are the first in their generation to break out of the working class rut.

    Out of the 100 support staff employees we employ, a few will be frugal enough and hard-headed enough to attain millionaire status, at least on the low end. Your poll data is skewed because of the type of people who read your work

    Of course I don’t know the net worth of my fellow STEM employees; some are a little more extravagant than I am, some are a little cheaper. My net worth is in the 4-5 million dollar range. That is from 40 years of continuous investing through IRA contributions, IRA matching, and IRA after-tax deposits. I consistently saved a minimum of 25% during my career. Just in case anyone thinks I got lucky or descended from wealth, I left military service with a high-school education and $1400 in my pocket. I suspect most of my STEM associates have a similar level of wealth, based on the lifestyles among them I have observed.
    In your study, by lumping all college-educated people together, rather than differentiating between degrees, causes a disservice, a whole lot of dancing around, and a general pretense of bafflement as to what is going on. For instance, in the graph “Your Odds Of Becoming a Millionaire,” the unfortunate lack of further breaking down a “similar level of schooling” leads readers to immediately charge racism and white privilege. You equate six years of study in modern art to six years of schooling in electrical engineering. There is no equation to be made there. Six years of Modern Art gets you a job as a data entry clerk at any company. If modern art is your passion, for God sakes do it, but don’t come crying that your PhD is worthless in terms of monetary reward…or even worse, that racism causes you to be paid less.

    I won’t go too much into the intelligence level of each group. The Asians, whites, Hispanics, and blacks are positioned in your graphs EXACTLY as to how anyone familiar with IQ distribution would predict the spread based simply on IQ scores alone. That is, Asians at the top, followed by whites, then Hispanics, and blacks. There is a lot of talk about white racism, but it looks like the Asians turn out to be the true racist oppressors. They are the most successful of the subgroups in any category you choose, and many of them arrived in this country completely ignorant of the language, and often penniless.

    1. Why do you think so many people who have made enough money like to comment that “other people” will have a tough time, when they are the other people.

      You don’t think other people going to keep my $4-5 million as well like you have with time, consistent saving, and diligent investing?

      Can you elaborate more on the “Asian oppressors.” i’ve never heard of Asian people being the oppressor as a 5.6% minority in America.


      1. PS

        I should have said that I read your website all the time. I have always given out advice that mirrors what you usually say. I like your work. I just think you went a little off the rails in this article.

        Even though many people will use my whiteness as an excuse to denigrate my success, a high-school educated millionaire veteran four years behind his peers shows that many more people than should be doing it are actually doing it.

        When the talk degnerates into white racism, I lose interest.

      2. If you want to learn why money is important, fly coach for ten hours. If that doesn’t motivate you to have first class money, you’re hopeless.

    2. I’m not sure what you mean by “other people.” I assume you are talking about our data-entry employees. I stated that a few of them will make it. But, let’s face it. A huge percentage of working people will be in deep doodoo if they miss their next paycheck. Only about 5 percent of Americans have even one million dollars.

      “Asian Oppressors” was meant as a joke. I’m white, and it does not bother me one bit that Asians are so successful. I commend them for it. They have not oppressed me, just like I have not oppressed any Hispanics or blacks.

      I admire them. Their culture, their drive, their IQ, and their lack of smoking (too much) weed in college are all factors that make them rise above…even as they try to overcome reverse discrimination at Harvard and MIT.

    3. Jack, at the bottom of your post, you mention Asians being oppressors and IQ. I’m Asian, I come from two parents that were born in California, yet my 4 year old mom was locked up in a Relocation Internment Camp and my 8 year old dad was locked up in an Enemy Alien Internment Camp during WWII. Both my parents were very successful in their careers, despite starting with nothing, as the family lost everything when they went into the camps, yet they are now in their 80’s and very financially well off.

      I myself, while not wealthy like Sam, was very successful in my military career. I finished the torture course and earned my Green Beret back in ’97 and finished off as the acting Sergeant Major of a Special Forces Company.

      I can tell you what “Asian” trait made my parents and myself successful…we all had low IQ. Yes, thats right, “Low IQ”. Most people associate IQ with Intelligence Quotient. What a lot of Asians associate IQ with is the “I Quit” quotient and in general, Asians have a very low “I Quit” ratio.

      Do you want to know what pushes many of the older Japanese to push a low “I Quit” on their children struggling in school? Its the fact that education is held in the brain. It is one of the few things that the government cannot take away, since it isn’t physical. During WWII my parents generation had everything physical taken from them, to include their freedom, so they pushed education. I didn’t want to go to school, so they pushed me to attend Jr College. I finished off with a bachelors degree from the CSU system that was funded by my GI Bill.

      The low IQ that I was instilled in me is the reason I didn’t quit Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) and successfully completed it even though I was down to 118 lbs, had bronchitis and broken foot from the food deprivation, sleep deprivation and torture. The low IQ pushed me to complete the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) even when I got knocked back to a Phase I recycle. The low IQ pushed me through some hairy and a couple of “Impossible” situations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      No Jack, being Asian doesn’t make us racist oppressors, but the peer pressure among Asian families does instill a low “I Quit” quotient.

  59. I am South American of Asian descent. I came to the US to study and when I graduated all I had was my old car and $20K in credit card debt (as an International student, you are not eligible for federal loans or any type of financial aid). I spent 5 years in corporate after graduating with a bachelor’s degree and then decided to go solo and in less than 10 years I made my first million. Now, 23 years after graduating, my net worth is in the 7-10 mil range depending on who calculates it. The reason Asians succeed financially is partly due to the fact that 50% of us have attained higher education but I would say another major factor is the emphasis on entrepreneurship and taking risks (go to any Casino and you’ll see this in play). It is no coincidence that Asian populations in Latin America, Africa, Europe, etc. are all disproportionately in business on their own as opposed to working for others.

  60. It would be interesting to dig a little deeper to determine possible causes of the education/race/millionaire status. For instance, are black post graduates represented in hard sciences or humanities/race & gender degrees? This would definitely impact potential earnings.

  61. “But with Blacks with Master’s degrees only having a 7% chance of becoming a millionaire compared to a 37% chance for Whites, something seems very wrong.”

    As a black man with two master’s degrees and working on a doctorate, I hate to tell you, it’s not us…it’s America. You have the statistics. Please don’t put your head in the sand. You see there is something CLEARLY wrong. Someone in the comments said “it’s that black people are risk averse”…this is only true concerning investing in OTHER black people…black people will throw their money at a white investment quicker than you can finish this sentence…People abuse statistics, and will twist things to fit their personal views, but understand black people can read your blog too…We’re not stupid…it’s not an issue of us not being “able”…look at “Black Wall Street”…it was bombed out of existence…the US government has actively worked to destroy black wealth and make it difficult for Black people to accumulate wealth. If you don’t believe me, do some research on what happened to the Black people that claimed land during the Homestead Act.

    This country has a nuanced history with Black wealth, and it’s not because Black people are not able…

    1. I absolutely agree with you. America has such a deep systemic racism that has traumatized so many black families and neighborhoods for generations. Especially since so many important black leaders were assassinated over the years.

      But I also think you can never ignore the elements of choice. There are still black millionaires and people who are very successful in the black community. Now some of that is luck, circumstance, and talent, combined with individual resilience, but for some
      who succeed, if not all, there is an element of discipline and choice. And more people who are not the most talented or lucky can still succeed, especially in today’s world if they can model behaviors and life paths which lead towards wealth accumulation.

      But again, people who have not felt the trauma and learned the history of racial abuse in this country and how huge chunks of white wealth have been inherited directly from the backs of slaves and native land, while actively oppressing people of color. They cant even say what I just said about individual attributes and a small minority of people within a minority who were able to break through.

      I hope I didnt offend you. That’s just my view as a mixed race brazilian/Irish kid from NY, learning and living. Peace and love to you.

  62. Anthony Tolbert

    For your survey at the end, are we discussing net worth as amount of assets less our primary residence or including? It would of been great to read the definition of net worth in the beginning of the article to put everything into context.

    My wife and I recently passed the 1 million net worth mark including our primary residence, our goal is to now work towards 1 million in net worth excluding it.

    Great post!

  63. $1 million is realistic for anyone to achieve online through the process of “affiliate marketing and blogging.” The thing where most people fail is paying their hosting fees up front annually for the first few years, keeping their domain name annual fees paid up front for the first few years, creating quality Evergreen content for their blog or website Monday through Friday in excess of 1500 words or more, and having a visionary mindset in looking to the future where they want their online business to be. Anybody can go from ordinary to extraordinary and broke to “side hustle millionaire,” if they stay the course by doing the transformation business work. Agree, financial samurai? :-)

  64. I’m most amazed by the fact that 634 people worth over $10M are reading the same article as me. I would have thought these people would have moved far beyond having personal finance as an interest.

    You should take that as a real compliment of your writing!

    1. I do feel good. I like to be able to create content that helps people with their finances, no matter their financial situation, their race, their gender, or anything.

      Having this website it’s a way to leverage giving. And over the past 10 years since 2009, I’ve seen a lot of people benefit, which is why I keep on going!

  65. Mike Roberts

    Interesting post, but I have to take issue with data like this because it seems to imply that millionaire status is a chance thing. Some of the comments seem to reinforce this, even though this blog is about taking proactive action to actually become a millionaire.

    Obviously, your environment and upbringing can have a big impact on your future success, but even people who came from tough backgrounds have been able to be incredibly successful. Ben Carson and Chris Gardner (of Pursuit of Happyness fame) come to my mind. I think just about anybody can become a millionaire if they take the right action to learn and work their way there. It’s not just a chance thing; it takes hard work.

    1. I agree with you.
      An excellent work ethic, and possibly a good education, is a huge stepping stone to success, no matter the color of your skin.

      1. The post in no way indicated that to become a millionaire is “a chance thing.” What it did was to illiminate the dispropotionate advantage people of color face even when they are on par with their white counterparts. The fact that you can off the top of you head mention 2 people of color who have made it through difficult challenges only goes to show this too is not the norm. When you are white, and privileged you think that it was just your hard work and education got you where you are. That the only reason They have not achieved the American Dream is that they didn’t believe, strive, or worked hard enough. Unfortunatly we don’t all begin at the same place in the human race.

    2. I absolutely agree with you. America has such a deep systemic racism that has traumatized so many black families and neighborhoods for generations. Especially since so many important black leaders were assassinated over the years.

      But I also think you can never ignore the elements of choice. There are still black millionaires and people who are very successful in the black community. Now some of that is luck, circumstance, and talent, combined with individual resilience, but for some
      who succeed, if not all, there is an element of discipline and choice. And more people who are not the most talented or lucky can still succeed, especially in today’s world if they can model behaviors and life paths which lead towards wealth accumulation.

      But again, people who have not felt the trauma and learned the history of racial abuse in this country and how huge chunks of white wealth have been inherited directly from the backs of slaves and native land, while actively oppressing people of color. They cant even say what I just said about individual attributes and a small minority of people within a minority who were able to break through.

      I hope I didnt offend you. That’s just my view as a mixed race brazilian/Irish kid from NY, learning and living. Peace and love to you.

  66. I thought the “after age 61” graphs were interesting. I think that Asians typically live longer, so I wonder if, at age 61, more continue to work, while possibly some of the other groups, “after age 61,” are retired /incapacitated, etc.? I think that I read some where (no idea where) that long life and health are big contributors to wealth and then to generational wealth as well.

  67. Coming form an African-American household, I can speak to the data that suggests black folks only have a six percent chance of becoming a millionaire. From doing my research, I have found that those in my community tend to be risk averse with it comes to investing or they simply do not have the money to invest. In my own household, my mother and father did not teach me anything about investing. I am 30 years old and only have money invested into a define contribution pension plan at work and a recently opened Roth Ira with betterment. However, through reading personal finance blogs like yours, I have become more aware of my finances and I am taking steps toward building wealth and growing my legacy!

  68. Honestly, I’m not surprised by the asian percentage (I’m a “new” millionaire. I grew up with a traditional Korean mother who compared us to all other Korean kids – which led to lots of competitiveness, lots of Koreans I grew up with are doctors, lawyers, etc. and a lot of it, I’m sure, was to please parents).

    I am half asian – spent early childhood in a Caucasian community, switched to a “ghetto asian” community in inner Chicago, then to a Korean community, and then to a Caucasian community. The differences were drastic from each other but it did allow me to experience many different cultures and learn a lot about life.

  69. I always enjoy reading your blog because you often link finance and sociology in your posts. The statistics you provide are fascinating. As a white couple with advanced degrees, I like our odds. I can also see many parallels between whites and Asians when it comes to managing careers and money. Great post.

  70. Great read. Love the detailed dive into all the statistics. I also believe you are right that 65% of us can become millionaires.

    Likewise, I believe that it’s matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ I become a millionaire. I went from a negative net worth to a net worth over a half a million in 4 years. Compound interest would do the rest even if I never invested another dollar.

  71. Lack of generational wealth and safety definitely matter. I’m white and have advanced degrees and will probably make it to millionaire status, but first I had to drown in debt while trying to get out of my dangerous living environment and community. I had to get into rich spaces and figure out the unwritten rules of conduct. I could do this, despite my apparent poverty, because of white privilege. Folks did not write me off as rowdy, etc., because they could see their own narrative on me and that has absolutely impacted my ability to jump out of the socio-economic class into which I was born; changing classes is still very rare.

  72. Affirmative No

    I read this blog regularly and I am really disappointed in the caliber of responses here.

    First of all, the graphs (if you believe them) show likelihood of achieving millionaire status by race, given a common level of education achievement. Many of the above comments indicate many readers conclude that the problem is that Blacks are not as motivated as Whites by parents to achieve and are therefore less likely to become millionaires.

    However, if you believe the data, the stratification clearly indicates that people with the same motivation for education (presumably all those receiving the same level of education) do not fare equally in our economic system and the basis is race. A clear explanation for this phenomenon is longstanding institutional racism which pervades our society. ‘Institutional racism’ is defined as the systematic bias against persons of a specific race because of social stigmatization. The effects of institutional racism are pernicious, and they affect opportunity at all levels. For instance, numerous studies have shown that blacks with similar or greater accomplishment are less likely than non-blacks to be chosen for employment opportunities. There is also well-documented racial discrimination in the selection of blacks for education and leadership opportunities across a number of employment sectors. Similar examples on rates for receiving loans, etc. The data are overwhelming.

    The idea that we we live in some sort of unfettered meritocracy is completely false. These data (and there is much more out there) are clear evidence of that. Immigrants to the US are able to ‘jump into’ the financial ladder on a level playing field, but they do not have to overcome generations of marginalization and racism in order to get ahead. Hence, there is often a gross under-appreciation of the obstacles Blacks face, and an over-emphasis on immigrant superiority among immigrants.

    Interestingly, many Americans are ignorant to history– and feel like slavery was ‘a long time ago.’ In fact, it was really only one lifetime ago. Many Blacks have great grandparents who were slaves and many relatively young Blacks who are still alive grew up on southern plantations, as sharecroppers, basically in persistent slave conditions. So many of the comments here probably just reflect pure ignorance.

    With regard to this statement:
    “I do think that the low numbers of black millionaires is multi-factorial and has to do with things like lack of generational wealth, lack of family structure/lack of emphasis on education for younger children and getting degrees which don’t correlate with a high income. Even among black medical doctors, most will choose to be a generalist and not go into a higher-paying specialty or sub-specialty like I did.”

    There clearly is a lack of generational wealth among Blacks. How could Blacks achieve generational wealth when they were slaves? And what about the generations dealing with Jim Crow (my own 70 year old father) and post-slavery trauma? Is that a recipe for wealth generation?

    I hardly think there has been a lack of emphasis of education among Blacks. In fact, Blacks have been focused on education as a way out of poverty and subjugation persistently. But there certainly has been a lack of emphasis on ensuring ALL children in the US get high quality educations. Have you had a chance to tour public schools in downtown cities? Are the parents who send their children to these publicly run systems to blame?

    Black doctors who choose to be generalists often choose those areas so that they can treat common problems (e.g., chronic disease) that affect minorities and poor people. Actually, many are trying to do the ‘right thing’– rather than make money only.

    So– indeed– the problem IS complex. Probably too complex to be broken down with dignity in this comment stream.

    1. Extreme Privilege

      Yes indeed, the lack of progress with minorities achieving the highest levels of success is complex and challenging.

      I head a large and growing multi-specialty medical group. One of the most highly talented doctors on our team is a younger physician, an early to mid-career specialist, a woman of color. Recognizing her talent in multiple areas, including a sophisticated mastery of medical knowledge and an inspirational, positive personality with excellent leadership potential, we supported her to promotion to an important leadership position.

      There were many positives. She steadily grew into her leadership position. We felt things were going well. Everyone on our team loves her. We mentored her and advocated for her, both the women and the men with leadership experience on our team. Internally, within our group, she felt supported.

      But things did not work out the way we had hoped. Externally, with hospital administration, the going got tough with complex hospital politics. Challenges involving external forces do inevitably get complicated at times, for everyone on our leadership team. Our talented young superstar felt that the stresses of dealing with the larger institutional forces, outside the control of our group, were just not worth it. It seems she felt vulnerable, and one component of this was her gender and the color of her skin.

      It was a huge loss for us when this physician, who we had hoped would rise to an important, long lasting leadership role on our team, decided to leave and join another medical group where she “can just take care of her patients.” She now works with us part time, no leadership role. She says she loves our team, but the external forces were “just not worth the struggle”.

      I continuously strive to create a very supportive environment for every member of our team to excel, to rise to her potential. I focus on giving everyone a voice, on making sure we pause to hear the quieter voices on our team so we don’t miss out on important ideas.

      I am male, white, with the advantages brought by a prestigious educational pedigree. My asian spouse has taught me many things, has opened my eyes to understanding some of the challenges faced by women and by minorities in our society. I had previously been blind to understanding.

      There are many institutional factors in our society that may hold people back. And there are individual factors at play as well. It is complicated. I work daily to put my best efforts forward to support all of my colleagues to achieve their highest potential.

    2. Am in my early 20’s. Am black born and living in Africa. From a young age have always been fascinated by how my race(Blacks) are always last in everything( wealth, success, technology, name it). Have kept on asking my questions why? My life goal is to make it to a billion. But i know being black makes it hell harder. However after reading through most of the comments, combined with my own understanding, i came up with solution that can help Blacks rise up like Asians/whites. Most of you know what the problem is and you only cry about it. You end up saying “its too COMPLEX and it might be like this for the next 200-300yrs since humans only take care of their kind and currently its whites in the top positions.” I know we all want to know the solution to this seemingly hard problem. How can Blacks rise up? How can whites be made to respect our race and treat it with horror? WELL
      The Solution is DEVELOPING AFRICA AS BLACKS simple as that.
      Whites are naturally racist but they respect someone who is independent of them. The reason why Blacks face the highest rates of racism globally its because we are nothing( yes lets accept the hard truth) Africa is so underdeveloped the GDP of most countries is too low, most African countries can’t even fund their own budgets its truly jumbled. However Africa has many resources and human labor that can be tapped into to spearhead its development. African-Americans think they are not Africans and yet to the White-Americans they are seen as Africans hence the mistreat. Asia is so developed with countries like China, Japan that are world powers. So when a white looks at an Asian, first think that come in mind is Asian development(China,Japan etc) It builds an impression in his mind that this person is worthy. Africa is the only place on Earth where a back person will never face racism of any sort because its his homeland. AM in Africa and am having a lot of peace.
      However Africa needs to be set up for advancement. It still has corrupt leaders that are pulling it behind. Imagine if Africa was so developed, or even more developed than Europe,do you think US government would step on African Americans anyhow. My fellow Africans, where ever you are, its easier to build better systems that benefit us in Africa than to pray or cry for privileges in Lands where we are considered barbaric. LETS enrich the color of our skin, Lets change the perception of other races towards us by showing them we can do what they can even better. I apologize for being so Direct and abit racist in my statements but come on we all know the hard truth am just trying to wake up my fellow people.

  73. LeakyGaskets

    I’m a black millionaire in my mid- 40s and I didn’t realize that it was so rare. This is how I did it:

    I grew up in a traditional middle-class home in a rural area and never lacked for anything, but even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be “rich”. Luckily, I was always an excellent student (parents didn’t accept anything less) and got a full academic scholarship for undergrad. I got my Bachelor’s in Engineering (I chose the major after flipping through the classifieds and seeing that Engineers earn a lot), worked for a while in another country and then went to medical school which I paid for that with about 90K in loans. During residency, I joined the military so that I could earn a second income which I used to invest. After fellowship, I did my active duty service obligation of over 5 years, always maxing out my TSP and investing all raises and bonuses, which are quite large for medical doctors. When I got out and started working as a civilian, I got married, had a kid and started buying properties with my husband overseas and eventually, in the USA. Even before I had anything to invest, I started reading financial books and magazines and later, blogs. I actually still work because I love what I do and I still invest a large part of my income as well as rental profits. We have multiple homes and live very well, but way below our means.

    I do think that the low numbers of black millionaires is multi-factorial and has to do with things like lack of generational wealth, lack of family structure/lack of emphasis on education for younger children and getting degrees which don’t correlate with a high income. Even among black medical doctors, most will choose to be a generalist and not go into a higher-paying specialty or sub-specialty like I did.

  74. As a mid 30’s Black male, who was raised in an area with a top 5 incarceration rate for black males nationally, I can now say that surpassing the $1M mark a few years ago was more about hard work, saving, investing and LUCK. I was taught how to hustle and depend on education as a back up plan because that’s life as minority (hence, no MBA..just invested in myself). However, the levels of institutional racism that exist are VERY REAL and not everyone has the privilege to avoid these initiatives.

    Just ask the native americans as their stats are more dire than any minority I(i.e. violent deaths at young ages, murder rates 9x average American women and more likely to be killed by law enforcement. Pure result of mass murdering and Manifest Destiny.

    Also, let’s not forget that 90% of Black Lynching (I.e.”Manifest Destiny part 2″) occurred amongst Black Business owners. For a period, Latinos were lynched at 90% the rate of Blacks. Look into Black Wallstreet and how America’s own terror took that down. AMERICA please learn the full truth.

    In summary, I was VERY lucky and had a great support system. My support system included parents, drug dealers (yes, drug dealers), cousins, bank robbers and several sports coaches. However, I write this for Tasha who was attacked above. Of recent, I’ve seen so much ignorance first hand that I have to reset my expectations for most non minority americans. Tasha, please do the same because mostly “Nobody Cares.”

    SAM. I agree with Tasha on some of your past posts in regards to your attitude to affirmative action and I understand that this is because how it affects you. Got it. Though I’ve never benefited from Affirmative action, I believe there is a place for it. For example, most negative Stereotypes that plague minorities seem to place Blacks and latinos into a darker area than Asians. Am I Wrong?

    BTW, I’m not playing the ignorant card because I’ve been to some Asian hoods where it’s more bloody and just as dangerous as other minority areas.

    Sam, think about your kid. How will you prepare him for the conversation when they are pulled over by a cop if he happens to be in a car with 3 black/latino males vs. 3 white or asian males?

    That fear can’t be diminished if people don’t unite and the first step to uniting is listening. As you know, It’s hard for people to listen when they initially judge you on the color of your skin. Unfortunately, America has another 200-300 years of this plague. Thus, I just focus on my family and ways to help build them up.

    Best of success

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jonathan. FS is a place for action, so I’d like to ask you what action steps you, me, and others should take to help the Black and Hispanic communities? Who should most bear this responsibility?

      I’ve always tried to be color blind with the way I interact with people and interact based on their character. What I feel I can do is use my platform to raise awareness about the issues and hopefully inspire people within the community to do more to help each other out. And to get people agitated enough to stick their thumbs at statistics and blaze their own trail.

      As a parent, I’m definitely concerned that my son will be discriminated against because he is Asian. So I am conflicted whether discriminating to end discrimination is the best way to go. I do believe we need to help underrepresented minorities and also people of lower wealth levels get ahead. I’m just hoping selfishly that another minority group isn’t hurt in the process.

      I don’t want to leave too much in the hands of other people, which is why I decided to build my own business and be financially independent.

      Because there is so little Asian representation in politics, senior management levels, sports and pop society, I wish more people would recognize that discrimination is also experienced in the Asian community, and that just because the statistics look better for the Asian minority, that doesn’t mean there are a lot of hardships along the way.

      1. “So I am conflicted whether discriminating to end discrimination is the best way to go. I do believe we need to help underrepresented minorities and also people of lower wealth levels get ahead. I’m just hoping selfishly that another minority group isn’t hurt in the process.”

        Sam, I couldn’t agree more and I wish there were a better solution. I also have a young child who’s of Asian and African American descent, so at least we have something in common. However, I’ve come to look at it in the scope of controlling only the factors that we can control (i.e. competing in the buckets in which America’s policies place us. At least they give us buckets nowadays, right?). Imagine America taking the buckets away, wouldn’t this put us back to the pre 1990’s? Also, are we naïve enough to believe that the advancement of people on merit alone would be harmonious?

        For example, according to whatever metrics we are measured (i.e. test scores, job and/or interview performances, etc.) there will ALWAYS be outliers who are not accepted nor admitted in lieu of drop outs or non performers. There will also be people behind the scene pulling strings that just aren’t fair to the playing field even without Affirmative action. For, too many times I’ve heard the educated majority speak down about the rigor of Indians and Asians academically and I’m the first to step up in defense because racism is racism. These are the same people who’d find a way to negate upward trajectory based on group ignorance.

        In regards to the lack of Asians, Indians, latinos and other minorities on the executive level in Corp America (specifically in sales and management) it’s frightening. However, I often ask how many of these minorities are actually applying? How many feel they have a shot? I’m in a high paying field that’s both white and white male dominated to the tune of 85%+. Also, how many applicants are overlooked due to the sheer number of applications? I also wonder how many applicants look down on these opportunities though the vast majority of end users are actually minorities and foreign born.

        Lastly, having worked in the sports industry at the highest levels I noticed that scouts will look under rocks for talent though they still miss. However, the applicant level due to PHYSICAL measurements combined with TALENT allows for a MUCH smaller applicant pool compared to corporate America (TALENT only). It seems that a 6’5 guy who has a potential lineage to genetic modifications via surviving the middle passage (i.e. the slave trade) or even the Nordic sea dwellers might be a better fit at a more physical sport in comparison to being a chess player or jockey, right?

        Good discussion as always and I believe the solution is here in your blog. Which is financial education and open/smart discussion with a conscience audience.

  75. Extreme Privilege

    Sam, you ask for actionable ideas. There are so many things we as a society could do to enhance the ability of people to rise up and achieve their potential.

    Higher education is outrageously expensive. Make college tuition affordable for all, and free for those of limited means based on demonstrated merit to achieve.

    Health care insurance, or lack thereof, creates massive amounts of stress for millions of Americans on an ongoing basis. And the concerns about health care coverage make our economy less dynamic by impairing flexibility in changing jobs or becoming an entrepreneur.

    Minimum wages should be raised to encourage more people to work and to allow workers to pay their bills.

    And yes, some of these ideas will require increased taxes or higher prices, but the benefits to society as a whole would outweigh the negatives. And I say this as someone with a marginal tax rate of 50% and an effective tax rate of over 40%. You can judge a society by how it cares for the least privileged members, and by that yardstick we are simply not doing very well.

    1. Readers should be careful/cautious of these proposed actions.

      Racism is far worse in Socialist Europe and all countries throughout Asia and the Middle East that have a majority homogeneous population.

      Taxing individual wealth and income at 40-50% in order to advance other people we do not even know is mighty big of others to decide for us.

      I have worked in 6 European countries and the lazy work ethic and colleague sabotaging to get ahead is a common and universal standard.

      Very Nasty environment where all minority/non ethnic members of the workforce must bow in subservience before the majority ethnic population regardless of positional hierarchy!

      Healthcare in Europe is a farce!

      Health access is touted as healthcare but your citizens who pay the taxes are not permitted to use the services without special permission and anyone without insurance must pay cash in advance for services.

      Foreigners who pay cash take 25-30% of the bed space in hospitals and have priority over the citizens for actual services because it is guaranteed profit.

      Health workers strike for higher wages.

      Patients have to pay for needles and other supplies in some cases.

      You have to bribe administrators in the dead of night to get needed routine transfers to appropriate hospitals out of your district!

      Socialist and Communist are all membersthe same world elitist working together to keep their children in dominant positions within their societies.

      Capitalism apparently has allowed the readers here to advance based on individual drive and self determination.


  76. Just wanted to mention that although they are younger (under 40) and therefore I believe omitted from your graph, there are many black professional athlete millionaires, at least when they are young (20s-30s).

    Perhaps this article is focusing on the long term, and keeping wealth, etc., but I will say there are many black professional athlete millionaires, though admittedly that is a small percentage of the overall population. Still, I am a bit surprised at this data. (I have been around professional athletes my entire life.)

    Maybe I’ll read the article again.

  77. Hi Sam, I took some time to fully digest this and thought we should confront some major issues with the data results. We must all first and foremost realize that there is major systemic racism and sexism in our economic system. If one is unable to see this piece, whether through willful ignorance or denial, then we can’t move forward with a sensible discussion about how to fix this or move forward as a society.

    Those who have the ability to change these results are unlikely to do so, as the ones who have done well for themselves are unlikely to want to see a system change. Those with billion dollar fortunes to their name, most of whom already came from a privileged background or just inherited their money. We can admit that yes there are TONS of exceptions to the rule, but those percentages for hispanic and black people represent then entire whole.

    There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t heavily tax any inheritance someone receives that is over $10mil, whether it be in cash, real estate, stocks or other assets. Have this money be redirected to those community who most need the funds for better schools, better infrastructure, more opportunity. Those with money claim “hard work”, but if you own real estate and rent our a property that is a form of Universal Basic Income for the rich! Any passive income is a form of universal basic income. Laborers don’t have the ability to earn this because they are always working to better themselves.

    $15 national minimum wage would disproportionately help minorities but that isn’t on the table. Single payer healthcare would disproportionately help minorities, it’s also not on the table. Free college or massively reduced tuition costs are not an option today. All these things reduce economic mobility, which is why America ranks somewhere in the mid-teens today.

    We need to change how society works for the majority of people. Opportunity for wealth creation should always exist for those who make a difference. I’m running for President, and I want to change how our economy can work for everyone. You don’t have to agree with me on everything, but just changing some of the issues I mentioned above would go along way to making the US great for the first time (not again).

    Keep showing us this type of data, awareness is the first step!

    1. Poor minorities already receive free health care through Medicaid. They already get free college or very reduced college tuition thanks to the government. Their scores don’t need to be high to get into college. My neighbor has 2 adopted korean kids, both going to college for free bc their white mother is a lazy person and refused to work for many years, survived because her 85 year old dad pays all her bills. She finally went and got a $9/hr teaching assistant job at a daycare even though she used to be a dental assistant….why would she better herself? She is 55 and her dad is paying her mortgage. I feel bad for these kids

  78. Sam,

    I’m working on a Masters’ in history, and it has already paid for itself through increased pay for me on our salary schedule. Full disclosure: it’s my third and my previous two are in STEM fields.

      1. Sam,

        No, my previous degrees are in overlapping fields (physics & astronomy) and I’ve been in education most of my career. I’m working on the history one because it was on my bucket list. Investing has always been something I’ve done as a “hobby,” albeit a very lucrative one.

  79. Master’s degrees aren’t created equal. If we had data on the breakdown of Master’s degrees by race (and we kind of do if you look at the statistics of various programs), you’d see the “high paying” degrees like MBAs (especially at Top 25 schools) are overwhelmingly White/Asian, and the master’s degrees in HR, education studies, etc are more equally represented.

    It’s the same dynamic that contributes to other gaps (e.g., gender) when you look at starting salaries out of undergrad. Should we be surprised some white/asian males earn more when they are studying computer science, petroleum engineering, etc….while other groups are studying history, sociology, African-American studies, etc?

    FWIW, I’m a Black man. Unfortunately, I have to say that or risk my opinion be discounted as “racism”.

      1. MidLife Mess

        I really did your question serious thought this weekend and could not come up with an answer. DH was no help as most of his college friends and associates were in STEM majors in college.

        I will however remind everyone, it’s not about how much you make but how much you keep. People become millionaires on average incomes everyday. We (as in minorities) can not blame the system for everything.

  80. Phil @ Brave New Blockchain

    This is fascinating, high-quality data. It’s crazy to think that my (white) peers have a 21.5% chance of becoming millionaires. God damn, I’m lucky.

    I second that rallying cry for more diversity in public schooling, but it’ll never happen. There’s just not enough money in teaching. If you look at me as an example, I’m student-teaching in an inner-city school right now, but I have a job lined up as a technical writer. And I guarantee that I can make more money doing freelance web design.

    Why would I teach? I can probably make more of a difference donating to poor schools, anyway.

    A lot of the young men remind me of that quote from Fight Club:

    “We’re a generation of men raised by women. My father never went to college so it was really important I go to college. After college, I called him long distance and said, now what? My dad didn’t know, so he said get a job. When I got a job and turned twenty-five, long distance, I said, now what? My dad didn’t know, so he said, get married. I’m a thirty-year-old boy, and I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer I need.”

  81. Hi Sam,

    Fascinating reading and a worrying trend in terms of equality given the difference between Asian / White and Hispanic / Black – although impossible to tell just from those stats I guess.

    I hit my first million a few years ago however I still feel a long way from being able to FIRE. It should be doable for most people, but it requires the right mindset and delayed gratification.

  82. Once I started investing in real estate I made the million net worth mark in 4 years. More important to me is the cash flow. If the world stays sane, I will double it in 4 more. It would grow exponentially after that, adding another million every 2 years, but I am not going to continue working that hard. Enough is enough.

    Dr. Jordan Peterson has some excellent videos on IQ as a predictor of success. They explain the charts pretty accurately.

    As far as the degree topic and race, I would like to relate a true story. Don’t kill the messenger. My good friend’s son graduated PA school a few years ago. He attended Bethel University in Paris, TN which is a predominantly black college. There were about 35 or so graduates from the program. There was not a single black graduate in his entire class. Not one. I couldn’t believe it. There were several other graduating programs that day, all Masters degrees: criminal justice, crisis management (never heard of it before), social work, business, etc. that were 90% black graduates. It left quite an impression. If you are going to spend the time earning a degree, why not choose the number one job in the country that guarantees a 6 figure income just about anywhere you go, in demand in all 50 states? Killed the privilege narrative pretty quick and left a lasting impression.

  83. My experience with Asian people is that most of them value education and hard work above all else and follow through. Not all but the vast majority that I know. Usually, you can trace their work ethic to a parent or grandparent who worked 80+ hours a week to get ahead and make certain they children/grandchildren had the opportunity to pursue higher education. They are very serious about that. Again, I know some who aren’t but the vast majority are very serious about hard work and education.

    I don’t think there are easy answers as to why Hispanics and African Americans have such a small chance of becoming millionaires. These go back to very difficult societal problems that have to do with multi-generational stratification. Can this be changed? Yes, but obviously not very easily. It is my belief that all of us humans are born with the same capability when measured by groups. When measured on an individual basis, there are large differences in intellect and capability. So, the reasons have to be environmental Imo. If you are born poor, you probably will be poor. You can overcome but it takes a huge effort, and sometimes a lucky break or 2.

    I would love to see those numbers increase so all have near the same chance to be millionaires.

  84. The wealth building data also correlates with marriage rates which have a much higher determining factor on wealth than educational attainment.

    Look at home much more money you would have to make to cover child care costs of a single person or how much a difference two income can make.

    1. Marriage rates and divorce rates. It is definitely hard to raise a child as a single parent b/c it’s hard for us raising a child as two stay at home parents! Major props to those single parents who can make it happen. Much respect.

      I’ve added a divorce rate chart towards the bottom of the post.

  85. Asian parents don’t allow their kids to date in high school. Asian parents will hit you. You won’t be falling in love or dating during your 4 years in high school. They will hit you literally daily until you no longer have a bf or gf. They had to have ft work before the immigration office would allow them to live inside the country.

    A large number of white parents are teachers and professors in higher ed. Many good years of preparation.

    Hispanics have gotten into the country under lax criteria compared to Asians and Indians. Hispanics start dating and falling in love from elementary school through high school. Their parents encourage it, and look upon it proudly as part of growing up.

      1. Just from observing the people around you in elementary to high school. Going to their homes.

        Growing up in the neighborhood, going to classmates homes, observing different parents. Students say what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not allowed. Everyone posting now should of had their own generalizations of the 100s of different families in their own neighborhoods from their own time from elementary to high school. It’s 12 years.

  86. I have a stupid question. If I’m married, how much do I need to be considered a millionaire? Assuming networth is split evenly, does a married couple need 2 million in household wealth to be considered a millionaire, or are married people using their combined household wealth to consider themselves a millionaire?

  87. FocusedBlackGirl

    If you are black like me and are highly discouraged by these numbers, don’t be. Yes it is hard to do, especially when you have attained a high level of education and are working hard to achieve a dream financial goal. You and many others like us and our offsprings will change these numbers in the future. Continue to focus, evaluate your strategy and apply new knowledge to keep you on track.

    1. This is the attitude that I hope everybody adopts. Know the numbers, and take control of your destiny. If you don’t like the probabilities, change them. Nobody is stuck as a statistic forever.

  88. Hi Sam,

    This post of yours might get more responses than any other :-)

    I am an Asian Indian, and I’d like to share following points trying to be objective, with my fellow Samurais:

    1. Asians in US can come to US, only after being proven as high achievers. Its a phenomenon referred to as “brain drain” in India. The parents and the country invests in the brightest of minds of India, only for them to serve US, as an young adult. The “cream” of Indians spend as less as $3000 per annum for their higher education, rest is borne by govenment. And this cream leaves India for better opportunities and money to US.

    2. Now saying that Asians have the best chance of becoming the millionare is now akin to say that the best of the lot from countries with highest population have the best chance. Asians who work in agricultural farms are not in US. So it is apples to Oranges comparison.

    3. When a race has been around for several generations, they *should* become at par. First generation Asians are high achievers to begin with.

    4. In the same vein, when a race has had several generations of folks earning Bachelors/Masters degree, they *should* become at par. For example, let alone US, if a kid is the first one in their family history to earn a bachelor’s degree – it will take a while to earn the benefits.

    5. Comparison should be made between 3rd generation Asians, 3rd generation Hispanics, and 3rd generation Blacks (one whose grandfather had a bachelors degree). Whites do have a discriminatory advantage in managerial/executive roles, simply because their name is *Smith* and not *Wang* or *Gupta* or *Rodriguez*.

    Enough for now.

    1. Those are valid points. But perhaps they are more valid for Indians, and not so much with other Asians?

      Do other races not have to “prove they are high achievers” to come to the US as well? We should delve into this more.

      1. I am not sure how many whites are natives of US. Probably none, depending on how far back one goes in history. It was a place inhabited by native Indians. But over generations, some of these whites think they are not immigrants. But non-white kids when raised in US, even if 5th generation, will always see the difference and think about their roots. Perhaps its true for everyone – My best friend, a white male, still wants to go see his town in Ireland that has his last name, after his ancestors being in US for over 100 years.

        Anyways, My basic point was that comparing race within US is apples to oranges, because the races which come to US – Indians, Chinese, Phillipines, even Europe – as first generation in 21st century are NOT representatives of that country.

        Americans must be compared with Americans.

        Who is an American, takes time for that race/country of origin.

        Or else none of us are, except the guys I met in South Dakota (native Indians).


  89. Think about it. Because the US is so close ,it is much easier for a Mexican to swim across a river, than it is for a Filipino to swim the Pacific.

    For Hispanics (US population approx. 55 million, of this figure 33 million are Mexicans), since the majority that aspire to come don’t have the same levels of education, the immigration process is stricter. So there are more Hispanics that don’t have the same levels of education and this skews the statistics. Now I don’t know the exact metrics of the Bloomberg data, but I think this is why for Hispanics it is so low

    Generally the US only really allows smart people into the country. The visa/citizenship process is way easier to go through one has an education, or is of means. So the lions share of Asians that have immigrated to the United States (there are about 15 Million) already come with an education (ex. engineers, nurses, doctors, university professors) and so it skews the percentage.

    1. If the immigration process was stricter for Mexicans, why wouldn’t there be more well educated, wealthier Mexicans coming to America?

      I didn’t realize Mexican swim to America. Is in the country connected by land?

      1. Yes Mexico, and the US are part of the same continent, the only thing separating them is a man made border which is marked by the path of the Rio Grande, other than that it is the same land.

  90. When I discovered that affirmative action was a thing, and a serious threat to me getting into a great college, I just worked harder.

    The times in my life when I knew that things would be easy for me were the times I actually stopped trying so hard, and got complacent.

    The tougher life is, the more challenges you face, the more opportunity there is for growth.

    That’s the traditional East Asian mindset, and it’s why Asians have such high levels of achievement.

    You can say that money and “success” don’t matter, but the truth is that when it comes to money, that mindset is why Asians are successful there.

    My financial goal is to have a net worth of 1 million USD by my 25th birthday. I’m 20 right now, and my net worth is in the 0-9999 USD range, since I’m in college and only have a few thousand dollars in cryptocurrencies.

  91. I suspect the reason Hispanics and Blacks with higher education don’t do as well is due to the careers they pick. It seems many are teaching or work for a government agency – at a higher percentage than Whites and Asians. I have worked 30+ years in IT and have hired many people over the years. It is extremely rare to get any Hispanic or Black applicants.

    Indians are also included in the Asian category and overwhelmingly are either doctors, engineers or IT professionals.

    1. I just hired for a software engineering position, entry level, west coast. I got 34 applicants – 29 were Indian, 1 was Chinese, and 4 were apparently white US citizens. No hispanics or blacks. Probably 5-6 of the applicants were women. Of the 4 white applicants, 3 accepted other job offers before we could even complete our interview process, and one wasn’t appropriate.

      Based on objective coding tests we hired an Indian woman, but she took a better offer about six weeks after accepting ours. So we ended up with our #2 choice, an Indian man.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had a black or hispanic applicant for a software engineering position, although I recently hired a hispanic technical writer. So the problem must start much earlier on.

      1. Insightful Anne. I wonder, maybe software engineering is simply not as interesting enough field for all folks? I know I sure as hell didn’t want to be a software engineer sitting in front of a desk typing code all day. Or maybe the pay of a software engineer isn’t attractive enough.

        Your story shows how everything is a numbers game. And the numbers can be compared to population figures of certain areas or fields of study to see what the overages and underages are.

      2. Ann,
        You have hit the nail on the head. I wish the software companies would release the demographics numbers properly the way that you just did. Specifically in their grouping of the Asia category. I believe the numbers are similar to what you just mentioned.

  92. Thank you! Important question – if we built net worth of a million together with my husband are we both now considered millionaires, or we need to devide it by half to consider individual net worth? Thank you very much in advance for your response.

  93. The 95% confidence level on the Asian age graph is very strange, I wonder why that is. As an aside I wonder what heir definition of Asian is, in Europe for example Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people would not show up as Asian, so I wonder if they do here.

    Finally I’m always frustrated that they talk in Allman reports like this about an individuals net worth. Realistically by this time of a persons life most people are in a partnership of some type. I certainly can’t separate my assets from my wife’s. So when I see reports like this I always have to double the number and think do myself and my wife have $2 million in assets.

  94. I like my chances of becoming that 65% you mentioned where reading PF blogs can lead you to be a millionaire. Getting the knowledge from other bloggers makes more confident of reaching millionaire status within the next 5-10 years and once I reach that mark, set it higher for $2 million then $3 million…well you get the picture, keep reaching for higher goals. And reading any type of finance articles can push anybody to do the same thing.

  95. As a black male apparently my chances are slim to none by these reports. Fortunately I will break through sometime around my 40s, I’m 29 now. I did have a good foundation family wise but a poor foundation environmental wise. Lucky for me I was able to leave that area when I went to college.

    Unfortunately for a lot of black people, if you arent an athlete or entertainer and dont go to college its next to impossible for a variety of reasons. Discrimination, bad environments, lack of equal opportunity all play a part. Too many times do I hear the comment “well you got out so clearly the opportunity is there” which just isnt the case. The problem is, change can be rough.

    1. Jonathan – Hopefully you see the stats and think to yourself, “SCREW THE STATS!” That was my first impression when I saw the charts because I’ve seen so many people from all types of backgrounds over the years report back and said they’ve busted on through since I began this site in 2009.

      And once you get there, or are well on your way there, to share your knowledge and tell people about what you’ve learned and your pitfalls so they can get there too. If we all pass on our knowledge, how can we not help others achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later?

  96. This article and many of the comments exemplify exactly why diversity is so important. Without it we often get stuck in these siloed echo chambers where stereotyping becomes the accepted narrative.

    I have to ask, did you purposefully ignore the text of the Bloomberg article that you pulled these graphs from? The article clearly states some reasons for the disparities based on findings from other studies:

    “It’s not as difficult to see how large wealth gaps can form and persist. For one, discrimination can harm some Americans’ employment prospects. In a well-known study by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, researchers responded to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers with fake résumés from white- or black-sounding applicant names. The same résumés bearing monikers such as Emily Walsh and Greg Baker received 50 percent more callbacks for interviews than those with names such as Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones.

    Other studies during the last few decades have also shown that differing levels of access to education, homeownership, loans, inheritance and family assistance play a role.”

    So just to be clear, with resumes containing the EXACT SAME QUALIFICATIONS, people with white-sounding names were called 50% MORE. Do we really have to wonder why there is an income disparity?

    A quick google search would have also revealed this article:
    The article talks about how declining racist attitudes towards Asians allowed them to close the wage gap early on. That, coupled with the influx of highly educated Asians in later years have allowed Asians to close the wage gap in ways that African & Hispanic countries can’t thanks to crazy unbalanced immigration quotas. Check out the Wikipedia article on U.S. immigration stats which shows that 500k Asians immigrate to the U.S. EACH YEAR compared to only 100K Africans.

    Or we can talk about how Blacks and Hispanics (and women) have higher student loan burdens, and how Blacks and Hispanics graduate with more student loan debt than Asians and Whites despite having a lower EFC than Asians and Whites. By the way, the high Asian EFC demonstrates that Asians as a generally have more familial wealth from the beginning and get more help from family during school. You can find that study here:

    Let’s also talk about how Blacks and Hispanics with the exact same credit profiles are denied or charged hire rates for credit products more often than Whites and Asians:
    And as an aside, the size of the Asian population is unrelated to the likelihood of becoming a millionaire.

    Yet somehow despite the wealth of information available on Google, the comments here went straight to the black marriage rate and lack of emphasis on education. Really?

    Finally, I have to say that it’s really important that you not conflate the type of discriminationsAsians face with the literal life-ending discrimination that black people still have to worry about in this country. I will take having to score higher to get into Harvard over having to worry about my son being killed any day.–Tasha

    1. Hi Tasha,

      Good to see you’re fired up about this article. Do you find the article or the data offensive? If so, can you point out the exact points you find offensive? I’m always looking to uncover my blindspots.

      To answer some of your questions and ask some questions of my own:

      1) I didn’t ignore Bloomberg’s text. I wrote my own interpretation of the data. If I copied Bloomberg’s text, that would be unoriginal, or worse, plagiarizing. I do highlight in my article and in my podcast the peculiarities of the data, especially the percentages for Master’s degree holders across race, how the system is rigged, and why diversity is important. Do you not see or hear it?

      2) Do you feel that one form of life-ending discrimination is worse than another form of life-ending discrimination? Do you feel that the hurt an Asian person feels for being discriminated against is less hurtful than the hurt felt by other minorities? I dare not think so because all we know is how we feel. I experienced two harrowing racial discrimination situations: A) at Denny’s at midnight when my gf and I were minding our own business and four white offensive linemen told us to GTF out or else they’d beat us both up. I was ready to fight and grabbed my knife as they grabbed theirs, but I thought better of it because I needed to get a job after college and I had already gotten in trouble. Post: An Asian American’s Perspective On Why We Save So Much B) when a couple KKK clans members rolled up to my gf’s house in the middle of the night with their head beams on in south western Virginia. Post: Silent Threats In The Night: A Forgotten Memory Until Charlottesville

      3) The overall message of this post is to encourage people of all types that they can be millionaires too if they focus on saving, investing, and educating themselves about personal finance It’s not about pitting each race against each other. The 65% figure I guess for becoming a millionaire is for everyone reading FS. The beauty about the comment system is that I don’t know nor do I care what race the commenter is, unless they say so or put a picture up of themselves. I like it this way because it helps remove biases and focuses on the content. Related: An Inexpensive And Easy Solution to Improving America’s Financial Health

      4) What are some solutions to suggest how we can level the playing field? Let’s focus on action steps, because otherwise, everything is just useless talk and we’ll end up in the same place a generation from now.

      Also, if you can, tell us about your background so we know where you’re coming from.



      1. 1. I don’t find the data offensive. Data is just data and I see a lot of it in my line of work. What troubles me is that you did not mention the data from several studies that talk about why the disparities exist for Blacks and Hispanics despite it being couched in the same article as the graphs you used in this post.

        It seems to me that if the goal is to find solutions to the problem then you’d want to share some of the causes with your readers, especially since it was right there in the same article. You could have briefly summarized the causes offered by the author and still gone on to add your thoughts without risking being accused of plagiarism.

        2. I do think that systemic, government-perpetuated racism is worse than individual discrimination, yes. I think most of us will have stories about negative encounters based on our race (heck, my white partner tossed out two of his own stories of fights with Blacks and Hispanics before leaving to take our daughter out to a RWBY screening).

        I can tell you stories about being repeatedly stopped by campus police at Yale at night because they assumed I couldn’t possibly go there. Or about the time when Philadelphia police came to my apartment and tried to open the door and come in without knocking all because there was a suspicious black man around the complex and they assumed I must be associated with him. I own a handgun. I could have been killed that night if the door was unlocked and I had grabbed by gun to protect myself. Has this happened to you?

        All discrimination is bad. But the systemic pervasiveness of it in our courts, in our law enforcement, in the way Blacks and Hispanics are portrayed in the news and on television, takes it to a different level. I ask you, do you worry about your children being shot by police one day because they are Asian? (Perhaps you do. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in the Asian experience.) And so yes, I do think there is a difference in the types of discrimination Blacks and Hispanics face, how pervasive it is, and the practical impact on the community.

        I think that it is possible to want to eradicate discrimination against all groups while also admitting that some groups have a bigger mountain to climb than others.

        3. Your post has conflicting messages. I’ve been reading your blog for years, though I’ve never commented before. I’ve never gotten the impression that you are a fan of diversity initiatives possibly because you feel that it impacts Asians negatively (forcing you to have higher scores). And then you say that the reason why there is a push for diversity is to correct the income gap (which I have to disagree with you on) and then note that pushes for diversity should also include lower paying jobs and the military. That seems more about a dig on diversity initiatives than an effort to promote inclusiveness.

        Oh, and I’m totally Black. And a woman. And kind of Hispanic according to the census, though not really. I don’t know how to put a profile picture of myself up.

        4. I can only hope that generally things get better over time as people continue to push back against racist/sexist/heteronormative/cisgender stereotypes. But the truth is that quite a number of people have one heck of a head start. Those massive fortunes are just getting bigger and bigger leaving the rest of us scrambling for an ever-decreasing piece of the pie.

        We don’t have a true meritocracy. And we should all care because human capital is wasting away thanks to lack of access to quality education, health care, and even credit.

        Having said that, I think we can do a couple of things to start making lasting change. First, increasing consumer education through blogs like these and personal finance classes at all education levels. We could increase consumer protections to prevent predatory lending, redlining, and credit pricing disparities for similarly situated borrowers. We could start holding courts and police accountable so that the justice system is truly fair.

        1. I think you are seeing what you are wanting to see. Instead of hoping that things change, why don’t you do something instead?

          It’s rude for you to dismiss all Asian people as being more privileged and having a Headstart than other minorities. You do realize that there have been a lot of devastation and strife in places like Vietnam and Cambodia right?

          It’s a shame you’re not doing more to help your own people. You don’t even write topics on your site to help black people. Yet you go on this incredible racial rant on an article that’s not the least bit racist. Are you OK?

          1. Umm, Lucy, I cited all of my sources. I am not making assumptions about the Asian community. I am just stating actual facts based on data. Follow the links in my response for more info. At no point did I say that all Asians are from privileged backgrounds. You should reread my post. All I did was provide some information about data that explains the disparities shown in the graphs in the early posts.

            It’s straight up racist of you to talk to me about helping “my own people”. Because I’m black I have to devote my life to other black people? And who are my people? All people of the African diaspora? African Americans? Or is it Asians since I am also of East Indian ancestry? Please tell me since you have identified the role I am supposed to be playing in my own life.

            Having said that, you have no idea what I am or am not doing for black people or to end discrimination in general. So let me tell you. After leaving law school I went into public interest doing fair housing work. I investigated and wrote the administrative determination for the first LGBT case charged under the Fair Housing Act and supervised a staff that handled thousands of fair housing cases during my tenure.

            Then I went into private practice doing fair lending work for financial institutions that were committed to making progressive changes towards increasing access to credit in communities of color. During my time there I single-handedly convinced a multi-trillion dollar financial institution to roll back a branching strategy that would have decreased access to banking personnel in majority-minority areas. Now I’m back in the non-profit world advancing fair lending policy and pushing to increase access to credit for women, minorities, and others.

            And I’m only 35. Have I done enough for black people yet? Oh and fair housing and fair lending laws cover Asians too.

            My blog will have more content eventually. But right now I have more content on my Youtube channel including my own story about going from a single teen mom to a six-figure salary-earning, Yale Law educated attorney. I also have basic budgeting videos and talk about how people can save money, live intentionally, and become millionaires.

            Meanwhile, I also have a 15 year old and a toddler and my own life to live. So I think I’m doing a pretty darned good job of making the world a better place. Don’t you?

            1. Why not continue helping your own people if you are so adamant about racial discrimination? You are privileged since you went to private school, yet you work for a bank? Are you seriously using your privilege to earn more money to help banks instead of helping people who need help and more representation?

              Your situation seems highly hypocritical to me. You complain about the system yet you work for a bank. That is is absolutely hilarious. Think beyond just getting yours and helping people who need help.

              Are you saying being a single mom at 19 is not one of the reasons why some people have financial difficulty? How is being a single Mom at 19 being a good role model?

              Hypocrisy is terrrible. People only will care about your story if you actually use your privilege to help the less fortunate.

            2. Can I clarify something?

              This post didn’t attack black people yet you take it as an attack and try to make it your own.

              Then you discredit the probability for Asians because they have a headstart coming to America. As if work ethic have nothing to do with getting ahead.

              Then you say that an Asian person shouldn’t feel as bad as a black person when he or she is discriminated against.

              Then you say an Asian person doesn’t worry as much about their children, as if you are an Asian person.

              Then you say you grew up in a privileged household, got a 99% on your LSAT, went to Yale, married a white man, and then work at a bank of all places?

              You might want to reassess how you see other people and see the world. It is easy to attribute other people’s success to look in your success to school. But I f you wonder why your side or your video site never takes off, it’s because you are not providing any value and are one sided with your views.

              I don’t care if you are a black woman, the way you communicate is elitist. And I personally think you’re wasting your education to be a compliance legal officer. Having a victim mentality will only keep you angry at the world.

              – A fellow mom

            3. Shania,

              First, I have to say that all of these attacks against me personally are a waste of time. They don’t do anything to discredit the actual facts that I raised in my points. So I’d love it if you could focus on those instead of continuing with the personal attacks.

              Second, go back and read my posts. I didn’t say any of the things you said I did. I’m not sure why you felt the need to misstate my position. I am happy for you to quote anything I say but don’t put words in my mouth. You see, I’m not anonymous. Not really. So I really do consider what I’m saying before I say it and I would never post something that I would not want attributed to me.

              It’s not discrediting Asians at all to point out the facts. The fact is that over the past 30 years 10 million Asians have come to the U.S., most of whom were already highly educated. It stands to reason that Asians would be disproportionately more likely to be successful and become millionaires because the Asian population in the U.S. has been artificially skewed by U.S. immigration policies. Does that in any way discredit the hard work and accomplishments of those people? Of course not! But it does mean that hard work was most likely not the primary driver of the disparity. The U.S. preference for highly-educated Asians (over poorer, less-well educated Asians) is.

              You spent your whole post criticizing me but not addressing the very valid points I raised about the immigration numbers, pay gap, and yes, discrimination, that are contributing to the wealth gap. These aren’t my personal opinions. These are the findings of multiple studies. I’d love for you to attempt to attack and discredit them instead of focusing exclusively on me.

              Just to clarify, I did not grow up in a privileged household, not that it should matter. I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I’ve stepped in my father’s blood because he was accidentally shot as he turned the corner onto our street. I went to private school on a scholarship. Neither of my parents graduated high school. My father left us when I was in middle school and I basically raised myself after that because my mom vacillated between being hospitalized and being too indifferent or depressed to care about what I was doing.

              I also didn’t get any college counseling which I why I joined the military instead of heading off to college after high school. I’ve lived in a roach-infested apartment above a bar with my newborn baby because I had nothing and no one and it was all I could afford. I just choose not to dwell on the less than stellar aspects of my life because they are in the past and they’ve made me gritty. That grit serves me well to this day.

              It’s interesting that you think I am elitist, and wasting my education, and have a victim mentality. What a bundle of contradictions I am, lol.

              You mistake my frankness and matter-of-factness as anger. There is no tone in text. I have points to make so I make them quickly and I don’t waste time trying to soften my language to make others comfortable. I would figure you would have appreciated that since clearly you have no problem telling me exactly what you think of me, lol.

              But maybe you are predisposed to assuming I’m angry because I’m a black woman? Idk. Should I assume that you are angry because you spent your whole post attacking me instead of discussing the real issues? I don’t. I just assumed that you couldn’t provide more substantive arguments.

              It’s also fascinating that you are opining on what I should be doing with my career, which is so condescending. Why do you feel it is your place to talk about what I should do with my degree? It’s really none of your business and your opinion is irrelevant.

        2. Hmm, Tasha it seems to me you’ve had some pretty rough times in life and are taking out all of your frustrations on Sam. It’s so disrespectful when people take out their own issues on other people.

          He’s not writing a research paper here so I don’t know why you are going on and on about things he didn’t include in this article either. Talk about an overreaction and trying to make this article into a rant on race when that is not at all what Sam is writing about.

          Instead of being so negative and critical, try talking about positive solutions and ways the world can become more united instead of creating more negativity and divides.

          1. Jamie, maybe instead of the personal attacks you could talk about the issues I raised regarding the disparities in the odds of becoming a millionaire for various races?

            I know he is not writing a research paper. But it makes sense that if he is going to talk about data points from an article and opine as to the causes of the disparities (or ask others to) that he may have considered mentioning the explanation offered by the author of the piece he is using as the basis for the post.

            I find it fascinating you call me negative and critical for merely pointing out that the assumptions that were being made were incorrect based on the data readily available to anyone willing to do a google search. And further, that by pointing out the racial issues that are currently present in our society I’m being divisive. So exactly do we solve problems if we can’t talk about what’s causing them? Or is it just that I need to talk about them in ways that make others feel more comfortable?

            And just so we are clear, my life hasn’t been rough. I grew up in a married, two-parent household (mostly), went to private school before testing into one of the best high schools in NYC. Heck, I’ve owned a house for most of my adult life. I make a six figure salary doing work I love and my current life trajectory is super rosy. I’ve had my challenges but to say I’ve had it “rough” is a disservice to people living in actual poverty in our country and around the world. So maybe those statements will cut off any more black-woman-with-a-chip-on-her-shoulder comments. ;-)

            1. Tasha, you sound like a really smart successful person and I think people on here are “crazy hard” on you. i also think it is weird that anyone thinks that a person from a particular race or ethnicity should have a moral imperative to “help out their own.” Sure it is nice to “give back to a community” but there are limits to what any one person can do and in an ideal world which is not racist, you should be able to help yourself and a variety of other people without getting criticized. And why shouldn’t you work for a bank? Crazy.

        3. Congratulations for all your success and growing up in a wonderful household.

          Yes, I do worry my son will be bullied, attacked, or shot one day living in a big city, and I will have done nothing to protect him. It’s a persistent fear as a father. I think all parents worry about their children. But maybe my worry as an Asian parent is not as high as your worry. I just don’t know, so I can’t assume.

          I’m excited to hear you are considering focusing your career away from working in finance and towards directly helping minorities by fighting injustices. I have a friend who works as a lawyer representing employment discrimination cases and wrongful evictions and she says her job is incredibly rewarding now that’s she’s not primarily focused on making money.

          If I can align people’s feelings with their actions, then I’m pretty pumped. Although my goal is to make people from all types believe in their financial future and achieve their financial goals, I think it will be even more impactful if bloggers/vloggers from the Black and Hispanic community can be financial champions given people tend to listen and follow people more like themselves.

          Related: What If You Go To Harvard And End Up Just Chasing The Money?

      2. Oops, I missed where you said to tell you about my background. I’m from Guyana, and have mixed African and East Indian ancestry. I joined the military at 18, got pregnant at 19, and was a single mom for a bit before meeting a guy, marrying, and divorcing. I put myself through community college, then a local public university, self-studied for the LSAT, scored in the 99%, and went Yale Law. Now I’m a consumer finance and banking regulatory compliance attorney. My partner is White, a lawyer, and we have a son.

        And yes, I will be a millionaire in my own right one day. Most likely by the time I am 45.

        1. Tasha,

          I agreed with The White Coat Investor, becoming a millionaire is within the control of just about every American. My parents brought me to the United States when I was 15 from Cuba (Mariel Boat), never went to college worked 2 jobs for 15 years invested my hard earned money and retired at 45.

    2. MidLife Mess

      Tasha, all the things you mentioned play a role in the wealth gap; however, IMHO the black family structure plays the largest positive or negative role. This from being a public school teacher, mother to two black sons, wife to a black husband, and a black woman raised by a black family. Lack of financial education, not just education in general, is a HUGE factor in our lack of wealth as a people. Generational lack of knowledge is financially devastating black folks.

      1. I totally get where you are coming from, but that’s not what the data shows about the wealth gap. Because the real problem at this point is the lack of inter-generational wealth and the pay gap. And I say this because disparities exist even when you control for marital status, education, and income.

        When Black families have less inter-generational wealth, take out larger loan balances to get the same degree, get paid less, and when black middle class communities have lower property values just because they are black, when blacks with black sounding names don’t even get an interview, those are huge mountains to climb even if they do everything else right.

        Financial education will definitely make some improvement and maybe that will be enough over time. According to the article below, it will take Blacks 228 years to amass as much wealth as their white counterparts hold TODAY. Which means 228 years from now there will still be a huge wealth gap.

        I have to say that I can’t put the onus on Black people to start saving more when I know that they are being paid less for the same work (as are all women and Hispanic men), are charged higher rates for credit, and taken on disproportionate amounts of student loan debt. If I had to choose, I’d hate to focus on financial education when we could put our efforts into unstacking the deck in the first place.

        1. My personal experiences, for whatever they are worth:

          1. I had a black boss, in IT industry. A male. Known to spend his time on “dating” females. A lot of energy spent in “other” activities.

          2. I was in a position to interview a lot of Bachelors/Master’s degree candidates. I probably did over 500 interviews. Never to focus on race/gender, I did notice one thing – For any manager position that I interviewed, I was told indirectly to hire someone whose last name was like Smith – not directly, but the message was clear to me. Far less qualified folks, who knew little on the subject of expertise, made it to such positions only because they could “talk” aka “BS”. To be able to “BS” can be a bigger trait to be hired at a higher position, than to actually “know the work”. And these are not sales/marketing positions.

          3. I currently have a hispanic boss. Very cool. Hispanics are the coolest kind. They know how to enjoy life, in a “social” way, in my experience. They are street smart. And the ones who are 2nd or 3rd generation, are doing far better than anyone else.

          4. I agree with Tasha. There is discrimination in US. Forget race, to become a EVP or CIO of a company – you better be a male. And a white one at that. Even white females are discriminated. The ones like Satya Nadela (CEO of Microsoft), or Sundar Pichari (CEO of Google), or Indra Nooi (CEO of Pepsi, a female) – they have to be either in liberal Bay area, or prove themselves to be far more superior than any white male.

          5. Finally, USA is NOT SFO. What happens in the MOST of USA is what defines USA. What happens in Lousiana, Memphis, Alabama, Mississippi is what USA is about. Just like what Asians do in USA is not what that race is about. What happens in India or China, with folks who do not make it to US, is what those countries are about.

          More later.

  97. The White Coat Investor

    Becoming a millionaire is within the control of just about every American. It’s simple math. The average American household makes something like $55K and rising. I don’t think there is anything keeping anyone without some sort of disability from busting their butt and earning that. If you save 15% of that, or $8250 a year, starting at age 25 until age 65 and earn 8% on it, that is equal to $2.1M, and we haven’t even discussed home equity or the value of stuff or inheritances or anything.

    If you don’t want to be a millionaire that’s fine, but don’t pretend you can’t be a millionaire if you live in America and don’t have a disability. That’s bunk.

    1. I’d love for you and Tasha from One Big Happy Life to duke it out! I’ll be the ref! How about it you guys? I think there can be a lot of learning through your dialogue.

    2. I agree that what you are saying is correct in theory. But practically? Maybe not. Let’s look at the numbers. $55k is household income and you projected this for a lifetime. So we are talking two adults who have kids over the course of those 40 years.

      55k after taxes is $3830 per month assuming they live in a state with no income tax.
      I made them a budget based on Gainsville, FL
      Rent: $1,000
      Electricity/Gas: $80
      Car: $85 (assuming they buy 4 $10K cars in those 40 years)
      Car insurance: 50
      Gas: 200
      Car maint: 50
      Food: 400
      Clothing: 25
      Health Insurance: $200
      Vacation: $100
      Cellphone: 50
      Internet: 50

      Remainder: $843

      This is not a particularly generous budget. And think about all of the major purchases and very costly things that this does not cover:

      Having kids. The average cost of daycare is $900 a month per child.
      Buying a house. They need to save up a down payment plus have enough liquid cash to cover repairs that crop up.
      They don’t have life insurance or disability insurance.
      They only have one car.
      They aren’t putting money away in an HSA.
      They need an emergency fund.
      Christmas, holidays, birthdays, etc.
      New furniture, electronics, appliances, home decor.
      Eating out.

      They would have to stop saving to have kids if they have to pay for daycare. That one expense would derail their nest egg by 6-8 years.

      No matter what, the first 5-10 years of this couple’s life will be very, very challenging and that’s if everything goes perfectly. Is it doable? Generally yes. But it’s worth mentioning just how challenging this will be for our mythical couple to accomplish.

      1. Nothing is easy for any couple of any race Who did not inherit their wealth or get help from the parents. I’m not sure why you think black person making $50,000 has a harder time than I wanted person making $50,000.

        Maybe this is part of the reason why the black percentages are so low? There continues to be a victim mentality you can’t shake, even though you went to Yale law school.

      2. My wife and I made a lot less some years . We do make more now and we were so broke and in debt for so long ( I am 63) it was a source of friction . We were blessed with a payout from selling my part in an auto parts concern . We took some of that money and paid off high interest debt . The rest went into a brokerage account and we to our dis credit used some to pay for various disasters over the years .
        On the plus side of the financial ledger we refinanced the house along the way and I put it on a fifteen year note . We stayed put and paid it off . We drove and still do drive cash cars . Sheryl got work with the school and that helped with the monies . I started making a little more and always contributed to my 401k .
        As it stands now we raised our three kids they are graduated (without debt . Their grand parents started them a college fund and we supplemented it)and living life , we are a little over two million in various accounts . The aforementioned brokerage account is less than an eighth of the total .
        If there is a point to any of this is that I believe that no matter your race that unless you make serious money we live in a get low stay low world . You need to stay off of car dealer lots , fixing your appliances when you can , changing your own oil , eating your own cooking and from someone who was careless about getting into debt unless you just want to be a rat on a wheel don’t accept people’s credit . Housing is about the only exception to that I can see and that you should get rid of that as quickly as possible . It sure made our financial lives a lot easier .
        It would not do to not say that GOD has blessed us when clearly we are .

  98. I feel like it’s almost a prerequisite to become a millionaire if you are contemplating retirement. I have a long way to go, but like my chances so far. Great data and definitely the one regarding education and millionaire status is truly powerful. Anyone can see there is a direct correlation. And if you’re field is not in Finance, but you learn separately about that, will that’s just a bonus :-)

  99. Interesting article and confusing, if not disappointing, to see the racial divide by education levels and building wealth. I’m sure there are a lot of hypothesis on why that is, so no reason for me to weigh in on that. I am a white male with a bachelor’s degree and became a millionaire around 41. For those that aren’t millionaires, I think it is fallacy that once you reach this or a similar threshold, your life significantly changes. In fact the tax rates become so high that much of that wealth goes back to the federal government. Also, if you want to continue to build your wealth (which most do) you can’t touch it anyway. All in all, the way to build wealth for most people that haven’t founded a unicorn startup is through real estate (primary and rental properties). Nothing leverages your money better. Even though I have a high paying job, it’s really my real estate investments that have made all the difference. While I’m a supporter of 401k and IRAs I cringe a the in x number of years with y amount of return you’ll be worth a certain amount of money. The fact is that most 401k accounts probably return around 3% not 7.5% and the numbers look a lot less impressive when you see that. My point being use your 401k to help with long term financial stability but not for significant wealth building.

    1. If you are getting 3.5% out of a 7% return, your fees must be extortionary. Taxes don’t figure into it, as 401k/403b/457 are tax shelters. Data, please.

  100. FinanciallyFree124

    I suspect the income across races are probably closer than net worth since net worth has a lot to do with savings and investing.

    The habit of saving and investing vs borrowing and spending is past on generation to generation.

    You see these nba players and actors making 10 million dollars a year and still take out mortgage for a house. The idea of getting a $2.5 million house and a $2.5 million apartments to cover you housing expense would never occur to them. That’s why certain cultures don’t accumulate wealth. It really is just years and years of habits instilled by your patents.

  101. Interesting article, but it does leave out two major factors for the disparities: choice of field of study and marital status by race.

    Not all degrees are created equal when it comes to future income (far from it) and the racial composition of STEM degrees likely accounts for a significant part of the difference in outcomes. Asians for instance are vastly overrepresented in STEM fields compared to others.

    Second, marital status is a giant contributor to the ability to save and build wealth, with married couples far outpacing individuals, and the rate of marriage by race is vastly different (again, the Asian married rate is highest, at 61% nearly double the Black marital rate of 31%).

    These two factors may not account for 100% of the difference, and of course there are upstream factors acting upon these as well, but looking at divergent outcomes without taking these into account does a disservice by not factoring in critical life choices such as what one chooses to study and whether one has a financial partner in life. An 18-year old Asian who chooses to get a Masters in gender studies and becomes a single parent is less likely to become a millionaire than a Black 18-year old who becomes a married surgeon.

    Race certainly has an impact, but it’s also not the whole story, and someone aiming for financial success should aim to replicate choices and life paths that statistically yield optimal results, regardless of race.

    1. MidLife Mess

      Good insight and I will add lack of mentors/role models as well for minorities. DH and I had this conversation recently about the role our mentors have played in our lives. Many minorities don’t have access to good mentors and it’s necessary to navigate certain levels of corporate/business life.

      We are a married couple of color, both from two parent households, we both hold master degrees, and hubby’s career is in a STEM field. I anticipate crossing the $1M net worth threshold in the next 3-5 years.

    2. The Alchemist

      EXCELLENT points.
      Can personally vouch for the bit about single folks having a harder time. If I had a second “me”, I (or rather, WE) would have it made!

      Chosen field of study is also critical, as you note. Once upon a time it wasn’t as all-important and pivotal, but I’m afraid that now very few folks can afford to look upon college as a “time to find oneself and explore.” It has to be taken seriously from the start as a means to an end.

  102. Albert @ Mr. Smart Money

    Looks like the new “bachelor’s” is a masters. Prob a nice differentiator in today’s marketplace.
    Could also be more of a correlation than a causation. I would think that people who pursue a Master’s in the first place, are more disciplined people in general, and discipline might be a better precursor to success than anything else.

    It’s depressing for me to be reminded of these statistics for hispanics and blacks… what do you think is the answer to that problem?

    Some sort of govt. intervention? or are you more free-market when it comes to the economy?

    1. You’re probably right, and yet, the percentage differences between race for Master’s is so different, it’s wrong. Then again, maybe things are only wrong if money is the only thing that’s important.

      Getting a Master’s in something that’s amazing to you, that doesn’t pay well, can be extraordinarily fulfilling. BUT, not if the Master’s costs you an arm and a leg and keeps you angry.

      The answer is to raise awareness, and encourage more Black and Hispanic people to become financial educators. They will naturally draw more Black and Hispanic readers and viewers. If you look at just the personal finance space, it mostly consists of Asians and Whites.

      More representation is needed, but it may be a chicken or the egg situation, b/c goodness knows, writing constantly and coming up with interesting things to say is not easy.

  103. Great info Sam. This is a nice graph to show those people who claim racism doesn’t exist anymore and minorities should “pipe down”.

    Personal finance sites and books have completely changed my financial outlook. Before I delved into the world of personal finance, I was using crappy financial products and nearly no investments and savings despite having very few expenses. I’m glad I found these sites early in my working career and I will make it a point to teach my kids about money early on.

    1. You are quick argue racism is the culprit instead of other possibilities like financial education, parental influence, and fields of study in degrees. A college degree in recreational leadership (my sister-in-law has one — her MRS degree) is a glorified degree in being a camp counselor. Even one from Harvard would be meaningless, let alone from an online college. How can that compare to the MIT electrical engineering degree?

      I would hope for, if there are statistics, a breakdown with schools (top 100, 50, 25, 10), major/GPA, and then race to actually fix variables before automatically making it causal. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc comes to mind. If all things equal (to include the student independently pursuing internships and networking opportunities), and race was still the dividing line, then you would have a stronger argument. I’m not saying it isn’t there at all — but this blanket racism claim doesn’t hold water. Asians face racism too, but probably have a higher curve due to chosen majors and better colleges as well (on average).

      Apples to apples is nigh impossible, and any parental factor on financial education makes a huge difference. My father was a CPA and my entire family works in banking. I learned how to file itemized taxes when I was 10 (I showed interest as well — my sister did not) and knew about expense ratios and stock trading at 11-12. From my first minimum wage job burning burgers part time at 16 I dumped 4k in a Roth IRA (max then) strongly due to my understanding of the financial system and ridiculously low tax bracket, and I never missed it since my years working through college and beyond. While I would have loved more spending money at 16, I knew that you make your compounding money early and 16 is 10 years before 26, which is when young people maybe first start thinking about saving. Also, it was a faux pas in my upbringing if you didn’t save at least 25% – saving was not optional in the least and being in credit card debt was unheard of. Through college and beyond, I had and knew people who had roommates (share ONE room, not an 2 bed apartment) to meet their savings goal even if they could afford to live alone or with a flatmate. Save first, then buy what you need to live, not the other way around because it can skew what you ‘need’ quickly.

      I agree with you that financial sites and books have been monumental in my growth and I will advise my future kids of the same, but I cannot help but think my early financial education and willingness to sacrifice creature comforts was instrumental to my success. Put in context — apparently minimum wage should be 30% of the AVERAGE two bedroom apartment to be a living wage at 40 hours a week. I lived in a below average neighborhood 3 bedroom house with 5 people, all except 1 earned at least above average median FAMILY salary of 50k, most worked over 40 hours on salary, and all saved at least 50% of their earnings. While we did it as a choice instead of being forced into a situation, we definitely thought it quite unfair that the argument wasn’t for a studio or shared apartment in a minimum safe neighborhood given that it was minimum wage. Minimum wage doesn’t and shouldn’t buy average living. And saving is a choice for most people, and only difficult if you confuse needs with wants or keeping up with the Joneses.

  104. I’m surprised by the variation for those with college degrees, BS and MS. I would have thought that would have been one of the equalizers.

  105. Thanks for the insightful post Sam. On another note, hopefully we get the opportunity to hear your thoughts after your dinner tn with RS team regarding the DEM fund. It seems that there is very little exposure or information available on the fund other than your posts etc. Thanks again for all that you do.


  106. The Alchemist

    Only trouble is, as you’ve noted in the past, “$5 million is the new million!”

    Not sure I like my chances of hitting that milestone, but it’s a goal!

  107. Excluding the value of my military pension, I will likely never be a millionaire, and I don’t need to be to live the life I want to live. Depending on how I calculate the value of my pension, I am either already a millionaire or will be within two years. Either way I will FIRE in four to five years.

    I think there are probably a lot of investors making the mistake that seems to happen at the end of long bull markets. You covered it a little while ago in your FOMO article. I think the current P/E levels are where they are because of FOMO investors. When the market corrects there will be a significant portion of new investors who lock in there losses by moving out of stocks into “G” funds. However, some investors will learn from the experience, so it’s not all bad.

      1. That prior article is one of the resources I have used to estimate the value of my pension. My annual payment is about $24,500, so depending on the divisor used the value is around $1mil. This was on the high end of my estimates. Doug Nordman at The Military Guide suggests just using payment times life expectancy since the payments increase with inflation which resulted in a value of about $865,000 last year. I also figured what equivalent savings I would need to produce the same income with 4% withdrawals and that comes to $612,500. The first two methods put me over $1mil and the last puts me close since I recently crossed $300,000 outside of the pension. Thank you for all the great articles.

      2. Recovering Engineer

        Assuming Rich is an officer the value of the pension is usually estimated at $2.5M or so. Payout of $60,000 or more annually plus free healthcare for life. The medical benefits are tougher to value but at current discount rated the cash payment alone should be worth $2M or more.

      3. I’m in a similar situation being a military Officer also a black man, when question of income, economic standing and race I also include financial literacy when it comes down to it.

        In recent years I’ve had multiple conversations with my parents about investment and long term retirement finance. Basic things such as 401K and Roth IRA things that I stumbled across and gradually learnt in my late teens they are catching up on. The main culprit in this late start is having children far younger than they expected, and lack of time for higher education. My own story is a pretty familiar tune, there are more of my black counterparts holding off on young parenting and marriage but the numbers won’t reflect that till year down the road.

        1. Thanks for sharing. Financial education is KEY, and I wonder how the education can be spread across more people. For example, I think my articles can apply to everybody about saving, investing, career, retirement, real estate etc. Yet, there’s an underrepresentation of Blacks and Hispanics reading Financial Samurai. Maybe I don’t write in a way that speaks to all people, which is something I have to get better at, if so.

          I do believe if financial education was directly spread by more Black and Hispanic people (bloggers, TV pundits, authors, anybody with a platform), then more Black and Hispanic people may show interest because people naturally gravitate towards other people like themselves.

          1. Vincent T Adams

            I retire from the military serving 30 years and my pension is about $60K …. I also get about $22K in VA disability i believe my pension is worth 2M. As a black man I find your articles very useful and I shared with my family and friends but information like this is just not shared openly in my community as almost no one talk finances…..would love to see it addresses late in high school

            1. That’s a great pension Vincent! And thank you for your long service! May you live a long and happy life. That’s all I think about nowadays as well: how do I make sure I live long and healthy enough to see my son grow up to be an independent man.

              Appreciate you sharing my work.

  108. I think a masters degree in STEM is most likely the differentiating factor. To save and invest effectively, having exposure to university level math, economics and statistics courses is key.
    Without mathematics, how can one make sound decisions?
    An MS enabled me to FIRE in my 40’s from very humble beginnings. Self control is the other key ingredient, I have always lived a modest lifestyle.
    This formula is available to anyone willing to make good choices.

  109. Wow, fascinating. I certainly will be trying my best to be part of the 65% of your readers who reach millionaire status (and yes, it is due to reading personal finance blogs!!!)

  110. Fascinating article, but it’s a bit flippant to discourage students from attending j-school. Although I certainly wouldn’t go into debt for the degree, my Master’s in Journalism has been incredibly valuable in my career. As far as statistics go, I’m a white woman working as a content marketing manager making $127,000/yr. I’m on track to be a millionaire and retire early. Going to j-school doesn’t inherently mean you’ll be a starving newspaper reporter. Just my two cents!

    1. Big bucks! Congrats! Yes, I love to be flippant about many things because writing needs to be fun, or else I won’t write. Good formula yeah?

      Tell me more about your Master’s in Journalism. How long did it take, how much did it cost, and do you use what you learned as a content marketing manager? Do you feel it helped you get that job?

      I did that job as a part-time consultant from 2013-2015. It was fun, and I did explore getting a Master’s in Journalism in 2012 when I left my job, but when I audited one of the classes at Stanford, which was a course on how to use WordPress, I passed.

      You may enjoy this post about your role: The Rise Of The Chief Content Officer

      1. My MA took 2 years, and it was virtually free. When you apply for graduate-level financial aid, you don’t have to disclose your parents’ income. Because I moved back home right after undergrad and was only making $12/hr part-time as a private tutor, my university covered most of my expenses, so I essentially just paid for books and parking. I would never have paid full-price for j-school, no matter how prestigious.

        Because my major was technically “mass communication and journalism,” I took many classes about media ethics, PR, social media, desktop publishing and other important elements related to my current career. My program also instilled the value of having a personal brand and encouraged us to start our own blogs, which did help me get my first job after graduation. In my experience marketing for Bay Area SaaS companies, a journalism degree sets you apart. You can always teach someone the subject matter, but amazing writers are hard to come by.

        You’re completely right about the CCO. Five years ago I never saw “content marketing” as a differentiated job title and now it’s all the rage. An MA in Journalism gave me the foundation I needed to break into what is now a pivotal role of marketing orgs today.

  111. Great post, Sam. It’s always intrigued me that Asians seem to have great odds for wealth, while “other minorities” are so handicapped. It shows that education and family support are important elements, regardless of your race. Fascinating statistics. Love the estimate that 65% of your readers can become millionaires. Also, based on your survey, it looks like 27% of your readers already are. I agree with your argument, it’s not “hard” to be a millionaire, but it does take diligence.

    1. Thanks. Immigration policy is a big reason for the Asian stat, but so is this intense focus on education, work ethic, and family for sure.

      Time + a plan = millionaire inevitability for most. Yet, it’s so easy to wake up 10 years later and wondering where all our money went without a plan.

  112. I like my chances. I think the chance of our kid becoming a millionaire is really good too. Inflation plus a lot of opportunities should give them a huge advantage. Really sucks about the hispanic and black data, though. I suspected that because race data never look good for black an hispanic. Hopefully, we’ll have better equality at some point.

    1. Aren’t your chances 100% since your latest net worth report is close to $2M?

      The $2M should grow over the next 20-40 years and your son will instantly be a multi-millionaire!

  113. We haven’t hit the million mark yet – not even the quarter million mark yet – but we’re on our way there. Over time we’ll make it, and we’re more aggressively

    I’m happy to know at least one millionaire who I’m close with in my life. I can learn a lot from him and what he’s done, and he’s more than happy to share his successes and failures with me. Finding good company and mentorship can be a challenge, but extremely rewarding. :)

    Very interesting analysis on these stats. 3.5% seems a little bit low to me but thinking about it, I shouldn’t be THAT surprised. So many older folks I think are relying on Social Security and may have pensions still…

  114. I find 3.5% to be surprisingly low. I would have thought more of the baby boomers would have quite a nest egg at this point in time. Maybe I’m thinking about it wrong, as it sounds like these statistics are for individuals. I think of finances (net worth) as more of a household (family/couple) value, more so than per individual. So perhaps a couple would need to achieve a net worth of 2 million to be counted in the statistic of being a (individual) millionaire.

    I’m interested to see a statistic for households with $1 million net worth. I’m guessing that is much higher. 15% perhaps?

  115. tell me about it being harder in a place like Zambia! The other part that makes it so hard are the currency fluctuations. Wheras before it was close to $1m, in the space of a few months suddenly the exchange rate made you net worth equivalent to $500k!

    Considering you income in earned in Zambia, the currency moves make earning more USD increasingly harder – and you’re not always compensated for the currency fluctuations in that although your expenses would be lower in USD as well, much is imported so you actually end up paying up quite a bit too when the currency fluctuates. Ahh the joys of living in Frontier markets!

    1. Perhaps the solution is to just be a Zambian millionaire in kwacha?

      If you never have to convert to USD, the currency fluctuations don’t matter as much.

      Where are you living?

  116. I believe for my family the odds of use being millionaires is very high.

    We are both under 30 and the only debt we have is our mortgage. We have already paid off roughly 60k in student loans (in less than 3 years) and have paid cash for my wife to get her Masters in Nursing. That degree in my opinion is one of the best deals in the education system. We live in a smaller coastal town and with paying 25k for this degree she will get a 45% raise over her nurse manager position and we will recoup our costs in about 9 months.
    For myself a masters would only set me back. I am in Civil Engineering and unless you want to teach experience is still king. Getting a masters would delay one year in getting my license which is much more valuable than the raise I would get for having a higher degree.

    I am white and she is a Filipino-Australian, Philippines born-Australian raised. We are both for middle class families with parents that will retire comfortably but never become millionaires.

    1. A master’s degree counts as one year toward your PE license experience requirement in all but a couple US states. Also, even as a Civil, an MBA degree can do wonders to helping you move up the ranks in management. An MS in engineering degree can help you branch into more lucrative areas of civil engineering like Forensics and Expert Witness Consulting. Don’t count out the power of a masters degree for civil engineers.

  117. Apathy Ends

    Whoa – very interesting Sam and I agree with the previous commenter on the disturbing discrepancies between races.

    I hear a repeated stat the only 48% of Americans own stocks, it would be interesting to see those distributions laid over the graphs you have above to see correlation.

  118. This is fascinating, and parts of it are very telling. I’m a bit surprised about your experience with teaching/coaching. My school and my district really push to diversify our staff (by gender and race). I think there’s a fairly significant amount of research about the importance of having teachers who look like you. Students feeling like they belong and being represented is so important. It doesn’t change the fact that teaching is predominantly female, but it’s working to address it!

    1. What I’m slowly noticing in the private school system in SF that although there is much talk about diversity, the families and students don’t look very diverse at all.

      Education looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest points of contentious between the rich and poor, and thankfully we have the public school system and the internet to help try and level the playing field.

      Parents, educators, administrators all mean well, but change is hard unless we individually take action to make a change.

      Raise awareness. Lead by example. Make a difference. Otherwise, we’ll end up in the same place generations from now.

      1. They are currently trying to privatize public schools and divert public money towards private schools.

  119. Thanks for the interesting analysis, Sam! If I were still in Vietnam, I don’t think I would ever become a millionaire in U.S. dollars. But since I’m in America, the land of opportunity, I think it’s possible at one point in my life if I maximize my 401(k) every year.

    Asians tend to be lumped together. But data had also shown that Asians of particular ethnicities tend to do much better than others (mostly correlated with the GDP per capita of their countries of origin).

    1. I think that’s a key point you make in your statement. If you plan on maximizing your 401k then your odds are definitely higher. Plus you have the possibility of an employer match. To many people still don’t even contribute to a retirement plan. In fact most small employers don’t offer one so that leaves a lot of people at a disadvantage. That leaves many people up to their own whims to open an IRA where they are allowed to save considerably less at $5,500/yr unless they can do catch-up contributions.

      What’s even crazier is there are tons of Americans that don’t even take advantage of their employers 401k plan. Definitely something to fix.

      Good article Sam. Nice to see that data. We need to make sure everyone is aware of their options, and that all doors are open to everyone to get ahead, and it should never be at the expense of another person no matter their color, ethnicity, background, etc.

  120. Wow, what I find interesting is that if you hold a masters degree you dramatically increase your chances of becoming a millionaire across all racial categories. I obtained my MBA for free and reached the rank by early 30’s. A high starting salary early in life can go a long way. I would not have guessed that nearly 40% with a masters degree (in the white category, which I am) would obtain the millionaire ranks. I still see a lot of high earners spend way to much.

  121. The numbers by education and age for whites look very odd. Particularly the confidence interval being so tight compared to other categories. I realize there are a higher percentage of white people in the US but I’m still surprised to see it. Any idea on their methodology for pulling the data… Sample, public records, something else?

  122. Mr. Freaky Frugal

    “what do you think your chance of becoming a millionaire in your lifetime is?”

    Excellent, because I’m already a millionaire. :)

    “Why do you think there’s such a huge percentage difference between races for those who get Master’s degrees?”

    I think there are three reasons – racism, minority culture, and inheritance. The racism is obvious. The minority culture has more to do with lack of millionaire role models and transfer of knowledge for becoming millionaires. Inheritance means that wealth is being transferred from generation to generation.

    These are all big problems since here in the US we still try to sell the idea that anybody can be successful and become rich. The probability of that happening is greatly influenced by the ovarian lottery. Since I’m white and male, I won the ovarian lottery. If you want fairer odds across race, I think you’d be better off moving Sweden or Canada.

    “With the bull market making so many people rich, do you think more people will be inclined to aggressively save and invest as a result?”

    Nope. In fact, people will be inclined to borrow and spend more because they feel rich due to their growing retirement plans that resulted from the bull market.

    1. “Why do you think there’s such a huge percentage difference between races for those who get Master’s degrees?”

      All masters aren’t created equally. A masters in engineering has a greater wealth potential than a masters in social work. I’m very sure if they plotted the types of masters degree by race the degrees obtained would look very different. The question above is assuming the type of masters degrees obtained across the races are the same but they are not.

    2. Congratulations for winning the ovarian lottery.

      Now the question is: given the lottery is pure luck, should those who have won the lottery focus on helping those who haven’t? And if so, what are some of the things you’re doing to help? And if not, why not?


      1. Sam, I’ve been a lurker for a while now (loving the site BTW) and this is the first time I’ve felt moved enough to come out of the shadows and comment. This is exactly the question we should be asking. If you’re disturbed about the trends (I am), what are YOU doing, as an individual, to move the marks? So, here’s one reader’s answer…

        I work for the federal government (as a civilian serf, not in a political capacity) where there is a huge focus on making government service personnel numbers reflect the overall U.S. population. As a senior manager who worked up the federal food chain from a grad-school intern, I’ve mentored dozens of junior officers, of both sexes, in all four of the racial categories identified in the data in the post as well as a few that aren’t identified, and from every possible social and economic background. I accept anyone who asks for my help and I also seek out employees who look like they have potential or are facing a particular struggle that I think I can help with. We work on everything from goal setting to effective writing and briefing skills to executive presence to productivity hacks with the objective of helping each of my mentees get promoted (and thus get that next raise). If I don’t have the skill they need help with, I find someone in my network who does. Since I often develop a personal connection with these folks, we also end up talking about the costs and benefits of additional education, money, family, etc. so i’ve been able to help several of them change their bottom line and get on better trajectories financially. It adds hours each week to an already crushing workload, but it’s worth every minute.

        To some of your readers, these dozens of people may not be enough to change those statistics and thus not worth the effort. To me, every one of my mentees is a starfish. If they want to make it to the ocean (whether that “ocean” is FI, millionaire-hood, the next promotion, or a Division Chief position), they can count on me to help them.

        Thanks for continuing to post thought-provoking material, and asking the hard questions that make us reflect on our own efforts.

  123. Brad -

    The millionaire-odds discrepancies by race are disturbing.

    What I find potentially encouraging though are the hispanic numbers. My guess – literally just a guess – is that the hispanic numbers are climbing steadily. I would think their odds of achieving millionaire status 10, 20, and 30 years ago to be progressively lower. If that’s correct, it shows progress can be made. Perhaps the hispanic population will quickly shift closer to the asian trend lines. It will be interesting to watch.

    The black number are bothersome. It’s hard to tell if the main issue is mostly societal (discrimination) or generational (parents aren’t instilling confidence and potential).

    1. Dude, Hispanics are just as bad. Most American Hispanics are from Mexico or Puerto Rico and have lower earnings than average. Higher Earnings is one of the keys to wealth generation. The last 30 years a “massive” amount of wealth have been transferred to the top. Today’s , agendas is to push wealth even further to the top. Those with low earnings will find it impossible to cross the barrier. The key is to get in to high wealth industries or create new ones. Asians are exclusively in those high earnings industries and therefore the high numbers. There are a massive amount of India based resources in tech alone. The offshore model and production of products offshore has reversed projectories of entire countries. Going back to the original response, Mexico has similar potential with its car manufacturing industry which the US is currently trying to renegotiate or undo. Puerto Rico just got devastated which will have huge economic and poverty implications. These two things will factor into Hispanic long term prospects.

      1. Brad -

        Yes, I see that the hispanic numbers are just as bad. What I had said though was I believe they were likely worse 10, 20, and 30 years ago – meaning they are improving at a rate faster than the black numbers. We’d have to see the actual data to know if that guess is correct or not though.

        I agree that our current political and economic environment works to the favor of people already near the top. The solution isn’t clear, but it does seem clear (to me at least) that there is a problem to address.

        1. Do not see the faster rate thing. Anyway, if they make folks starve in Puerto Rico and Mexico, the goons are coming over that wall. No matter how high you build it. This is guaranteed.

      2. My head hurts reading this…
        While not 100% incorrect (the Hispanic numbers are, in fact, low and having high earning potential does play a factor in building a high net worth – obviously), what are you even saying?

        “Asians are exclusively in those high earnings industries and therefore the higher numbers.”
        This is such an over-generalization, not to mention completely incorrect. As others have mentioned, not all ‘Asians’ have equal opportunities (i.e. Japan vs. Cambodia) and not all Asians are fast-tracked into high-earning jobs or work in exclusively high-paying industries. That’s just lazy on your part.

        Also, what exactly are you saying about the “projectories” (not a real word, btw) of countries like India that are hubs for off-shore work in various industries? Are you saying they’re catapulted into wealth or further from it? In reality, neither is true. Wide-spread wealth within a geographical location or a certain race (and subsequently the “odds” of becoming a millionaire) takes generations of innovation, infrastructure, investing, education, job creation and family wealth transfer to reach the levels you see in the White and “Asian” columns. Bangalore, India isn’t suddenly crawling with millionaires because tech companies in the US have leveraged labor there that costs them half of what it would in the United States. It just means a broader swath of the population, if educated and hard-working, will have an income they can survive on. It’s growing a middle class that is not a 1-to-1 equal of the middle class, income-wise and exchange rate-wise, in the United States and similar wealthy countries. Thus, it’s still much more likely a US middle class person becomes a millionaire than a Bangalore, India middle class person simply due to math.

        I think what drives these discrepancies is a not-insignificant % of “Asian” and White countries/families place a higher emphasis on their kids prioritizing and succeeding within education, specifically higher education, than other races either choose to or have the means to. With that, it would follow that parents in the wealthier racial categories are making more of the necessary sacrifices and taking the necessary steps to allow their kids to prioritize and achieve educational success. Many Black and Hispanic families may not have the means to make those same sacrifices or they may place a higher emphasis on their kids immediately working instead of pursuing expensive education that delays income, thus a smaller % of their kids are making it into high-paying careers. It’s also more likely that a Black child grows up with a single parent instead of two parents, making the education sacrifices even more risky and burdensome to the single parent. Only having one parent can have a significant impact to the emotional development and priorities of the child (not saying the impact is entirely negative and I’m not saying this is exclusively a Black problem, just more prevalent based on statistics). Sorry for the dissertation-length comment but look past the statistics and dissect the “why” at the root of the discrepencies. That “why” is much bigger and older than a hurricane in September, 2017 or a few more tech companies opening offices abroad.

        1. Globalization has totally turned around India and China’s projectory. This a fact. In the 80s India and China’s extreme poverty rate was really high. Now the number has decreased significantly. Im not being lazy at all. This is a fact.

          Asian’s being in high growth industries with good wages justifies the higher percentages. I never said “all” Asians are in high earning jobs but the next time that Facebook or Google releases its employee demographic numbers look at the percentage that are Asian. These employees have a higher probability of one day becoming millionaires. This is a fact.

          Hispanicans and blacks aren’t highly represented in these high wage industries. This is a fact.

          I’m not sure why your head hurts.

          1. Projectory – still not a word, no matter how many times you use it. Spell Check puts a squiggly red line underneath it as a visual clue.

            You DID say “all” Asians are in high wage industries. I literally quoted your comment in my response. I’ll do it again for your benefit – “Asians are exclusively in those high earnings industries and therefore the higher numbers.”

            If everyone is counter-pointing you in their responses, perhaps you’re the common denominator and should probably reflect on your comment’s lack of nuance and frankly, your over-reliance on blaming the low Hispanic numbers on extremely recent natural disasters. By the way, those same natural disasters occur all over the world, not just in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Hmmm…

            Did you even read the second half of my post or just get mad that I disagreed with you and doubled down on your argument?

            1. Read the quote again and “all” appears no where in it. I never blamed the high Hispanic numbers on recent natural disaster. My response was to a comment that Hispanics numbers will be like Asia numbers in 10, 20, 30 years. There are no sign of this and Hispanics are recently being dumped on today in both Mexico and Puerto Rico. The usage of recent handling of natural disaster is a supporting argument around why it’s highly unlikely that Hispanics will be like Asians’s 30 years from now. The source of the majority of Hispanics in the US come from these two regions. Making life better for those Hispanics in those two regions is beneficial to American Hispanics. Making life better has already occurred in India and China and it can be proven by the drastic decline in extreme property in those two nations. There is a direct correlation between the decline in extreme poverty in China, India and America’s trade policy towards those two countries in the last 30 years. There also is a direct correlation between Asians and America trade policy in high growth industries and the numbers presented in the original article.

              The following line is complete nonsense: “If everyone is counter-pointing you in their responses, perhaps you’re the common denominator”. This type of logic implies that the majority is always correct. If majority is always correct there would never be any new discovery. New ideas often times start with the minority and are completely opposed by the majority. Your train of thought is complete nonsense. I’m oftentimes in a comfortable space when on the side of the minority.

              American corporate greed and attempts to find cheaper labor in order to increase corporate profits has greatly benefitted these two Asian nations mentioned. You attempt to trivialize the relevance of the “few tech companies opening offices abroad” as you put it, on the numbers presented . The market caps of these “few” tech companies are tremendous. The back of every iPhone in small writing says the following, “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.” Yes, the projectory of these two example Asian nations have been greatly increased by US trade policy. The trade policies allows for jobs to be in those countries that weee not previously there 30 years ago.

              Responding to your original final paragraph is something I intentionally chose not to do but in my opinion it has many systemic flaws in it. I choose not to respond to it.

      3. I do want to include culture difference into this discussion. In general, Asians save more income for future needs and uncertainties. On the other hand, Hispanic in general enjoy their life with less concern on future needs–> less saving as a result. It doesn’t mean they have that much less chance to reach a million net worth.

    2. It is probably a little of both. I think it the most important factor in what type of future the country will have is whether the hispanic population in 20 years resembles the Asian-American population or the African-American population.
      I am hoping that they Hispanic population resembles the White/Asian-American lines, and I think there is a lot of potential. The education gaps should close, as language barriers drop and I see tons of Hispanic owned small businesses in my area, and some of those will be successful in providing wealth and business knowledge to a new class of millionaire Hispanics.

      1. Im not seeing what you guys are saying regarding Hispanics in 20 years resembling Asian Americans. Hispanics are currently being dumped on both Mexicans and Puerto Rican’s . These are the two predominant Hispanic population in the US. It’s beneficial to us to strengthen both but we doing the opposite.

    3. Clearly it’s discrimination. Why would they go as far to obtain a Masters degree if they lacked confidence and motivation. This will never change because non blacks don’t see or don’t care about the significant societal oppression of this group and those that do care have no power to create the change that needs to happen.

  124. Sorry to add another comment but I just noticed on the first graph that the lower end (no highschool, highschool, associates) is clustered much closer together.

    So we’re holding salaries equal (probably from 20k to 40k) vs if you were in a higher profession it could vary soooo much.

    I think that’s more telling. That’s shows emphasis on money and lifestyle management between the races of the same economic status.

  125. I like my chances of becoming a millionaire in the future. I have set everything up in the future and should shortly reach that goal. I am incredibly fortunate that things have set up this way as I know that not everyone is nearly as fortunate.

    I think it’s incredibly interesting that Asians are the highest group by age to become millionaires. I’d love to see some more stats around why.

      1. Put it this way. Asians spend money more wisely. We do price comparison all the time. That’s everyday saving.

    1. My hypothesis is because the Asian population has increased dramatically through immigration over the past 50 years (from sub-one million to 20 million with 10 million in just the past 30 years). The Asian immigrant population is significantly more educated to begin with. Then when you consider that Asians graduate with less debt (despite higher EFCs which shows that they get more familial support during college on average) and then go out and make more than Blacks and Hispanics thanks to the wage gap, well, then the disparity is not particularly surprising.

  126. Holy sugar snap peas, so roughly 6% vs 21% is the draw line?! That’s not even in the numerical ballpark.

    Is there a gender breakdown? I’m wondering how many females (by race) marry into millionaire status vs earn it themselves. Perhaps the extreme difference is in upward mobility. But that still doesn’t explain Asians…a lot of us are immigrants and we grew up in the ghetto just the same.

    I’m first generation FOB so I can totally say this: my mom would have kicked my ass if I didn’t do good in school and married better….sooooooo, that might be it.

    1. Yeah, I don’t like how all Asians are grouped together. A kid from Cambodia most likely won’t have the same resources as a kid from Japan.

      I am Asian, but my mom didn’t give a crap how well I did in school, only that I went. I didn’t participate in activities after school, went to public school, etc. However, if I don’t totally mess up I’m going to be a millionaire (without my husband’s $) in 8 or 9 years.

      1. Totally agreed! Asians of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese descent are more likely to go to college, have better levels of education, and have more earning potential than those of other ethnicity (including Vietnamese).

        My mom was obsessed with comparing me to her friends’ kids, so I’m not gonna do the same thing to my kids. I’m with you on trying to become a millionaire with or without my husband.

        1. These are interesting statistics. As Warren Buffett likes to say, he ‘won the ovarian lottery’. I think it is also dependent on your location as well for net worth calculations… I mean, a lot of people in Vancouver who own a house is pretty much a millionaire in home equity. I hope to be a millionaire in a few years, too, without my husband’s money, I have 30% remaining to reach my target. A million bucks isn’t what it used to be, it can’t even buy you a townhouse in Vancouver, but it’s still a nice metric to shoot for, especially if you invest that amount and have passive dividend income generating from it.

        2. The overarching idea here is that it is not accurate to generalize and stereotype all Asians as “smart” or “nerdy”. In that spirit, it is also not accurate to generalize and stereotype Asian nationalities. I’m Vietnamese, and I can assure everyone that my earning potential is no different than that of anyone of Chinese or Korean descent. If you have statistics to back up your claim, I think we could all have an enlightening discussion dissecting the social and economic factors that may contribute to the numbers.

        3. Manuel Morillo

          Late reply, just saw this.

          Please never forget Pilipinos in tjese discussions (w/ the oldest Asian footprint in American), among the most largest, most financially & academically successful Asian groups.

    2. I am Asian, single, female, first generation FOB and I got to millionaire status on my own. I believe women are just as capable of being millionaires as men.

      My partner makes more money than me right now, but I have a higher net worth than him. I save more and I didn’t spend 5 years of my life getting a Phd.

  127. Wow very interesting stuff Sam. As an Asian, I like my odds! I’m very surprised to see that Hispanic and Black have much much lower chances on becoming millionaire than the Asian and White. Talk about inequality.

    1. Generally the US only really allows smart people into the country. The visa/citizenship process is way easier to go through one has an education, or is of means. So the lions share of Asians that have immigrated to the United States (there are about 15 Million) already come with an education (ex. engineers, nurses, doctors, university professors) and so it skews the percentage.

      Now for the next point it is all about location. For Hispanics (US population approx. 55 million, of this figure 33 million are Mexicans), since the majority that aspire to come don’t have the same levels of education, the immigration process is stricter. But since the US is so close, it is much easier for a Mexican to swim across a river (or cross a desert), than it is for a Filipino to swim the Pacific. So there are more Hispanics that don’t have the same levels of education and this skews the statistics. Now I don’t know the exact metrics of the Bloomberg data, but I think this is why for Hispanics it is so low.

      1. To clarify, are there different standards of education for different races in regards to immigration in the United States?

        In other words, when you say United States only allow smart people into the country, do they have a different level/standard of what they deem as smart per race? If so, how do you measure smartest? And why do you think they have this discriminatory policy?


        1. No, I don’t think there are different standards of education for different races. All that I meant was that the US only “really” allows smart (educated) people into the country. Should this be considered discrimination? Well though there are different words, but sticking to the definition in that case yes. As to why they have this policy? Wouldn’t we all like to have the best and brightest on our team? Of course. If the US doesn’t attract them they will take their brain power and go somewhere else.

          1. OK, but if you say the “US only really allows smart (educated) people into the country,” doesn’t that mean everybody from all backgrounds coming to America are therefore “smart (educated)” people?

            Help me understand your logic. Thanks

            1. Of course not. It is obviously not the case. Read the first post I put an emphasis on “really”. As in ideally. Think about it, the US only wants educated, smart people coming to the country. Correct? Why? Well because smart people contribute more, and are the ones that can make the country as a whole more competitive, correct? So the policies are made in such a way to favor(discrimination) people that are educated, and of means, over those that lack an education or that are poor. But since we live in an imperfect system this is not the case, not everyone that is coming is “smart”.

              Don’t mean to sound condescending (far from it, I have read your blog for the past 3 years) but what don’t you understand? I also see that my prose is far from lucid.