Facts about Millionaires and Hitting My First Million

Roughly 7% of US households are millionaires.  The average time it takes to become a self made millionaire is 32 years.  According to the study:

1% of self mades did so before the age of 40

3% of self mades did so between the ages of 40 ad 45

16% between 46 and 50

28% between 51-55

31% between 56 and 60

and 21% after the age of 60

Overall, 27% of self mades have tried and failed at least once in business.

According to CNBC, the number of household millionaires reached 10.8 million in 2016.

From Money, Maryland has the highest percentage of millionaires.  The greatest asset class of millionaires is invested in stocks.  Millionaires tend to be white males and married.  83% of millionaires have at least an undergraduate degree and work in professional services, education, or medical and health fields.

5 facts from Daily Worth, most millionaires don’t feel rich, hard work and education are keys to success, they get help from experts, they’re hands on with their money, they enjoy saving more than spending.

Over at Bloomberg, a study shows race plays a role in your chances of hitting a million:

Asian: 22.3%

White: 21.5 %

Hispanic: 6.8%

Black: 6.4%

Some interesting facts at factretriever.com, 80% of millionaires still work, the average millionaire goes bankrupt at least 3.5 times. 50% of millionaires are small business owners.  Only 18% of millionaires hold a masters degree and 6% have a PhD.  On average millionaires are age 61 and have $3.05 million in assets.

And of course how can I forget “The Millionaire Next Door” with this quote “These people cannot be millionaires! They don’t look like millionaires, they don’t dress like millionaires, they don’t eat like millionaires, they don’t act like millionaires–they don’t even have millionaire names. Where are the millionaires who look like millionaires?”

So why all the facts about millionaires?  As of October 4th 2017, I have officially joined the club, one day before my 38th birthday ironically.  That means it took 13,869 days of being on this earth to hit that status.  Really it was something I only started to focus on in 1999 at the age of 20 as I was preparing to finish college.

So here are my stats, millionaire by the age of 37, degrees held BBA Management, minor in Economics, MBA in Finance.  Single, never married, no kids.  Retired in 2016 at age of 36, went back to work in 2017 at age 37.  Worked in the investment world or financial services for 16 years.  Race is mixed, white (75%) and Asian (25%) but associate with the Asian culture more. Grew up in a middle class household.  Asset mix is almost all stocks (99.5%) and cash (0.50%).  I also drive a 14 year old car an own a 34 year old car.  Love math (stereotypical I know, see Asian above).

Have been told countless times it’s irresponsible to have all my money invested in stocks (probably by people who aren’t millionaires).  I wear blue jeans every day that are a little worn on the legs, prefer eating at home vs eating out, hate shopping, use coupons when convenient, and am a pretty quiet and unassuming person that you would never pick out of a lineup of people as being a millionaire.

Have always lived in less house than I could afford, started maxing out IRAs with my first job at the age of 16, always maxed out my 401(k) since graduating college at age 20.  I am debt free (100%) including house and car, use credit cards but always pay them off before the billing cycle even closes.  Will never borrow to buy a car or house again in my life and have feared debt for a really long time.

I’m also willing to admit to making several investing mistakes along the way, selling AMZN at $16 back in 2002.  Buy and hold investing is my style and I love a good dividend growth stock, especially if the price gets slammed.  I track my spending.

I guess a lot about me goes against the odds about the facts about millionaires from above.

It took me 18 years of tracking and work to accumulate my first million just under 38 years of age.  I expect to be able to hit my second million in 7 to 8 years.

So here’s the tally that got me to 7 digits and the history of tracking my net worth:

The goal for the last few years has been to grow my net worth by $100,000 per year.  That now equates to 10% growth per year and will decrease over time.

To celebrate the occasion, I drove to the grocery store after work and bought a couple gallons of milk.

Interesting fact about the picture of the coffee mug, that is mine.  A friend gave that to me when I was 18.  Guess I need to get a new coffee mug.


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Readers Comments (64)

  1. So SO interesting my man. Love this so much – way to be such a hustler!

  2. Congrats, man… I just hit the 7 figure myself at 37. In fact, we have a lot of similar attributes: Asian, Masters Degree, mostly invested in stocks. Just another day but not just another day, right?

  3. Congrats. Your personal money oriented characteristics sound a lot like me. Found your site from the featured post on Rockstar Finance. Looking forward to going through some of the content here. Tom

    • thanks tom. I recommend searching 72(t). That’s the most trafficked content on my site. It’s about penalty free distributions from a traditional ira. Good for early retirees.

  4. Great job! It probably wasn’t a surprise for you, but congratulations on the milestone.

  5. Great job BAMF! Very impressive indeed. It took me to age 51 to hit the first million but a family and 2 kids college educations plus one masters degree slowed me down. It only took 4 years to hit the 2nd million but that includes about $300K of savings. You may hit that 2nd Mil faster than you think!

    • Forgot to mention…I have a lot in common with you…MBA in Finance and I did it with 100% stocks all the way. In my opinion bonds have no place in a 20-30 year olds portfolio. I’m only now divesting to about 15% cash/ ST bonds as I prepare to pull the plug for FIRE.

      • I’m a big fan of dividend growth stocks over bond investing. I need to do a write up that show the difference in investing in JNJ stock vs their bond that factors in historical growth of the dividend and what 10k invested looks like after 10 years. I don’t think even in my older years I’ll hold bonds.

    • Thanks. That would be cool to double up in 4 years. However with ride the markets have gone on the last 9 years, I’m not counting on it. Time will tell.

  6. Congrats you hit the number early in life.

  7. Nice! Millionaire in your 30’s is damn impressive for sure. Our target is 40’s as of now, which I think we could do. But so much depends on market performance that the biggest thing for us is making sure we’re following the right systems, maxing out tax-advantaged accounts, etc.

    I love how you celebrated, haha

    • You got this. I did it being single. If you’re married, you’ve got 2 incomes, and double the tax advantaged accounts.

  8. Dear BAMF,

    Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished and here’s to many more successes!

    As for the mug, if it still holds coffee, keep it. Imagine what $4 could be worth in 30 years.

    Besos Sarah.

    • Crap, you’re right. I have a friend who does pottery. Need to see if they can just cover that with clay or I can just use duct tape 😉

  9. What car are you driving ?:)and congrats.

    • daily driver is a 2003 Nissan maxima with about 95K miles. Probably keeping it for 6-10 more years. It’s a beast.
      have an older Datsun, but that is more of a toy for me.

  10. Congrats! I’m working my way to a million before 40 as well. Coincidentally, I’m also Asian with a Master’s degree, heavily invested in stocks as well (although I started to diversify a little into real estate this year).

    It’s interesting that the Money article says that millionaires tend to be white males, while the Bloomberg article says that you have a greater chance of hitting a million if you’re Asian. Any thoughts on why this may be so?

    • I’m not quite sure. Could be just a difference in the people who were surveyed leading to the figures.

    • I’ve read about this. There are a lot more white ppl in the US than Asians, so more millionaires are white, but a higher percentage of Asians become millionaires. Theories are that this is due to cultural factors such as prioritizing education and professional career paths, higher savings rates, and the fact that recent immigrants of all types are much more likely to become millionaires. This is related to the fact that many start their own businesses (and business owners are more likely to become millionaires). But also it appears to take a generation or so for lifestyle inflation and the adoption of American consumerism to really take hold. 🙂

  11. What an inspiring story for people, young or seasoned. Congrats. I appreciated the straightforward approach to explaining stats, and your strategy.


  12. Congrats. It kinda feels good, but on the other hand, it’s also very meh.

    I want to write a more ironic response, but I don’t think I can convey it well. Something like – aside from now flying in my personal G4 (that’s a real thing, right?), driving my Lambo, and eating caviar by the pound, it’s pretty much the same as always 🙂

    Reality of being a millionaire – scratched formica countertops, mismatched cutlery, and a beat up old car.

  13. That is an article I would read right away!

  14. Congratulations, BAMF. I love your under-the-radar style. You’re a fantastic addition to the millionaire club.

    • Thanks man. Love a low profile lifestyle. Don’t want to wake up one day and wonder where it all went, like so many athletes.

  15. In between 2006 and 2008 till 2010, did you shift your portfolio?

    29, Asian, Msc, about quarter mil, stocks only. Hopefully I’ll trace your net worth graph.

    • Hi Lyn, Short answer no. From 2001-2016 my 401(k) was practically 100% small cap stock. Money in my brokerage and IRAs sat in large cap domestic stock. In 2016, when I initially retired early, I rolled over my retirement plan, and now sit mostly large cap domestic stocks (individual holdings- as I’m not a fan of mutual funds). Despite the damage done from 2008-Mid March 2009, that was actually an amazing time to keep purchasing stocks and rewarded anyone who stayed the course and continued adding to their portfolios.

  16. Hi! Found your site through Rockstar Finance. Cool story, congratulations on meeting this milestone! I just reached this milestone today and it has come and gone. Spent the day cleaning house and taking kids to swim lessons and having Nutella sandwiches for dinner. =) onto the next milestone. And happy belated birthday!

  17. Good post, and nice to see another successful FIREd guy. Congrats on the 7-figure milestone! No matter what some people say, it is a HUGE deal at any age, and you did it before 40! I see you are also into dividend stocks – you may like the series I have written on the topic comparing with index funds: http://tenfactorialrocks.com/investing-series/

  18. Why don’t you diversify? In a crash, wouldn’t you be grateful you didn’t have as much to rebuild? Or would you just hold until everything rose again?
    And, no, I’m not a millionaire- yet. Please tell me I talk like one. Congratulations- it’s an amazing milestone. Your easy style is admirable.

    • Hello Sue! Do you really see a crash in his history? The only negative is in 2008. I think you know which event there was. Diversifying is for short terms. Here we look on 19 years with another 40 to 50 in front.

      Best regards

    • Hi Sue, a crash or recession is bound to happen. Just a matter of time. I’d just wait out the storm like in 2008 and continue to invest during the downtime. I primarily do buy and hold investing. Also, the passive dividend income stream from the portfolio and from the established 72(t)/SEPP ira provide more than enough to live off for me. Even in the event of dividend cuts (highly unlikely for the majority of my holdings), the income will be more than enough.

  19. That was an interesting post. I can relate to the below the radar approach. You wrote that the average millionaire goes bankrupt 3.5 times. I have never read that stat before.

    • yeah, I thought that was interesting. seemed high to me. I guess it might be people trying to start a business a few times and going bankrupt.

  20. Hello bamfmoney,
    thank you for the presentation of your numbers.
    I like to know, what are your savings rate in this time? Or can you say something about the amount of dollars which you put in per year?

    Best regards Sebastian

    • Hi Sebastian, I max out the 401k (18K), HSA (3400), and ira (5500) each year. Anything left after tax is thrown into a brokerage.
      My situation is a little weird, I basically save most or all of my paychecks now. Last year, I set up 72(t)/SEPP penalty free distributions from my traditional IRA that pays out just under $11k and actually use that to cover my expenses. Prior to my short flirtation with early retirement, I was saving something like 80% of each paycheck. I may join the ranks of ER again next summer, but already have the income coming in from the IRA established.

  21. Good job. Im an investor and also made some mistakes along the way will make more and not a millionare. someday maybe. i will have to do it the hard way as all i get is my military retirement but im gonna plug along and see where i end up. Someday my nieces and nephews will end up with my money and generational wealth will begin, hopefully.

    • Not a day goes by that I don’t think about selling 100 shares of AMZN at 16.67 back in early 2002. That would be worth about $100k if I didn’t trade back in my younger days.

  22. Congrats! Those are some interesting statistics! Everyone has made mistakes with investments along the way, however the most important thing is that you stayed in the market and diversified!

  23. Nice job! I was about to cross 1mil at 37 as well…heading into 2008. Oops. Didn’t quite make it then. But when you’re doing the right things, it’s as you say above: not if but when. Crossed over 4-5 years later.

    Congrats again!

    • Ouch that hurts. I’m sure if you stayed the course the last 9 years have been very good to you

      • Oh yeah…it’s been a good run. Especially with new money. It would take something almost-2008ish to fall back below 2 commas at this point.

        • Nice. Do you continue to hustle and save or does one hit a point of having enough. If I was given $100k to spend today, I honestly don’t know what I’d buy.

          • Almost 2 years ago, I left the IT corporate grind and started part-time freelancing instead. Bc I had “enough” to not need to do the long hours anymore. I aim to just cover the bills off the freelancing these days, and let the stash grow on the side. Stress is much lower, get to spend more time with the fam and outdoors, and planning to move to an LCOL area on the coast next year. I’m not full FI yet, but maximizing the benefits of what I have so far.

          • Nice, I’m trying to get an adjunct teaching position at the community college teaching 1 or 2 finance classes per semester. Would cover the bills and allow for plenty of free time. 40 hours is getting old…again.

  24. Congrats!! It’s just another day, and you eventually realize such milestones are arbitrary, but it’s still quite an accomplishment.

    I was on track to join the two comma club by my mid/late 30s, but I got married at 30 and hit the milestone overnight with his net worth being added. We have been married nearly 4 years and just hit $2MM, and both our incomes have risen substantially as well. Now we are on track to add another million every 3 years if we keep working and saving 50%, barring a major market crash (or a couple of kiddos which would impact the savings rate somewhat). The first million really is the hardest, as snobby and cliche as that sounds.

  25. Congrats! And Happy Birthday! That’s quite an accomplishment. I’m still impressed at how little you need to spend to support yourself. Inspiring!

    • Thanks on both accounts. I want for nothing and life feels mostly complete. If only the gf didn’t recently dump me, things would be great.

  26. this page has some nice wallets to commemorate. https://www.bmfwallets.com/brown-embroidered-bad-mother-fucker-leather-wallet/?gclid=CjwKCAiA8bnUBRA-EiwAc0hZkzH8fipCfpeLymFt_rmdEcWa9QOGXvCb0mEJJEaXGJL078Hq84psLxoCQZUQAvD_BwE

    it didn’t come as a surprise in our house when we hit that number, either. we did the work and expected it.

  27. Well done on your success. I really like your spreadsheet. Seems 2012 to 2016 were really good for you.
    Interesting stats about millionaires. I became a paper millionaire at 31. I say paper because it was based on net-worth based on property value, not in cash in the bank. In any event I wanted to do this by the time I was 30. Also, I have no formal qualifications, I learnt everyth8ng as I went. I don’t think making the first million is the hardest. I would say keeping it and making the second and third million is hard because you know how hard it was to make the first one and in your head you’re telling yourself “I don’t think I can go on”. Also getting access to cash to be able to accelerate your growth becomes more difficult, especially for property investments and development.
    Keep going you’re doing great and you will get to your goal sooner than later I suspect.

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