How many income streams self-made millionaires maintain 

Sixty-five percent of the self-made millionaires in my study had three streams of income, 45% had four streams of income, and 29% had five streams of income. Each additional stream they added gave them wealth that they could then leverage and invest into another. 

There are a number of ways they generated passive income, including real estate rental income, website ad revenue, paid blog subscriptions, online courses through platforms like Teachable, royalties from book sales, and investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that yielded dividends, interest, and capital gain income. 

Ultimately, it took the average Saver-Investor millionaire in my study 32 years to become wealthy. The majority of the self-made millionaires in my study hit the millionaire mark between the ages of 46 and 60. The interests and industries of these millionaires ranged from cooking and pet care, to home improvement and carpentry, to law and real estate.

Of course, building wealth takes time. But it helps to start as soon as you can, and to lead with your strengths.


Accounting for the Impact of Fees

The above results do not consider the impact of investment fees. If you invest on your own using low-cost index funds, the small fees charged by these types of investments won’t change the results significantly. For investors that pay an advisor or use expensive actively managed mutual funds, however, the results can vary dramatically.

For example, let’s assume that an investor pays a financial advisor 1% per year to manage their investments. Although 1% may not seem like a lot, it has a dramatic impact on the amount of money that needs to be saved each month to reach our $1 million goal. Here’s how much it would take for them to reach $1 million accounting for that fee.

Time Period Monthly Savings Without Fees Monthly Savings With 1% Fee

30 years



40 years



45 years



50 years



If the same advisor uses expensive mutual funds charging an additional 1%, as many do, the monthly savings requirement goes even higher. Here’s how things play out as the investor tries to reach their $1 million goal.

Time Period Monthly Savings Without Fees Monthly Savings With 2% Fee

30 years



40 years



45 years



50 years



As you can see, investment fees, even ones that seem insignificant, can really add up over time.

Self-made millionaires all share the same goal

While all the money habits we’ve discussed so far contribute in significant ways to a millionaire’s success, one common behavior stands out above all the others: saving.

All the self-made millionaires in Corley’s study made a habit of saving 10-20% of their income before making their first million dollars. Comparing that to the average American savings rate of about 8% makes it easy to see how saving money results in accumulated wealth.

About Mark

I am a Real Estate Agent, Entrepreneur, an author

I am a Real Estate Agent, Entrepreneur, an author and a Real Estate Investor. I am the founder of InvestFourMore, Managing Broker of Blue Steel Real Estate

Don’t forget to follow @InvestFourMore on Youtube


Becoming rich is not easy. Many people who inherit wealth or have money come easily to them lose it. If you want to get ahead of the game and live an awesome life you have to do what most people aren’t willing to do. Otherwise, we would all be rich! Whether you choose real estate or another avenue to make your riches, make sure you choose the path and you do whatever falls in your lap because it is the easiest route. Most people will not follow through with their plans or intentions when things get tough, don’t be most people.

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Millionaires Go to College, but Not to Elite Schools

The National Study of Millionaires showed that it’s the degree itself that matters, not where the degree comes from. Almost two-thirds of millionaires (62%) graduated from public state schools, while only 8% went to a prestigious private school. But the bulk of millionaires did get that piece of paper. Eighty-eight percent of millionaires graduated fro

Eighty-eight percent of millionaires graduated from college, compared to 38% of the general population.2 And over half (52%) of the millionaires in the study earned a master’s or doctoral degree, compared to 13% of the general population.3

The best way to become a millionaire

Now that you know how others made their millions, you may be wondering what you can do to apply that knowledge to your own financial life.

Here are three touchstones of the millionaire’s approach to money:

Diversify your investments

Investing your money in different places helps ensure that you aren’t too vulnerable to risk. That way, if one sector or company fails, you can always count on your other investments to carry you through.

If you’re unsure how to efficiently manage your investments, hiring a financial advisor can help you develop a successful strategy.

Have multiple streams of income

Self-made millionaires almost all optimize their time by having multiple sources of income. 

These can include their employment salary, income from real estate, and dividends from investments in the stock market.


The most important habit shared by all self-made millionaires is saving a significant portion of their income. You should focus on setting aside 10-20% of your income every month and place it in long-term, safe investments. 

Using a bucket system with several different accounts can be a great way to get started.

The Four Paths to Seven Figures

In writing for CNBC, financial expert and author Tim Corley outlined the results of research he conducted for one of his books. The results revealed that people tend to follow one of four paths to becoming millionaires.

The easiest way, and the only way that comes with something like a guarantee, is what Corley calls the saver-investor path. Around 1 in 5 millionaires in his study banked their first million in their mid-to-late 30s despite their middle-class incomes. They did so by living frugally and by saving and investing at least 20% of their income consistently from early on in their working lives.

The hardest path — followed by about 28% of millionaires — is the so-called dreamers path. These millionaires strike it rich by beating the odds at a high-reward, low-probability endeavor like becoming a successful actor, athlete, musician or millionaire business owner. The lifestyle is defined by long hours, lots of stress and years of toiling without a steady paycheck. When they hit, however, they hit big — their average net worth is $7.4 million, the highest in the study by far.

About 1 in 3 millionaires made their money through what Corley calls the company climbers path. Ascending the corporate ladder into executive territory lands the average climber $3.4 million after 22 years.

Finally, there’s the virtuosos path, which is Corley’s name for the tradeoff of money for knowledge and expertise. About 1 in 5 millionaires takes this route and earns $4 million after 20 years of doing so. Many of those years are spent learning and becoming one of the best in a highly competitive and complicated field like law or medicine, where they’re paid a handsome sum for their standout skills and knowledge.

Learn More: How Long $1 Million in Savings Will Last in Every State

The Industries That Make People Rich

If the status of millionaire isn’t a high enough aspiration for you, there’s no better time than now to be a billionaire — the world’s three-comma club now has a record-breaking 2,755 members, according to Forbes.

The 10 industries that produced the greatest proportion of the world’s billionaires, in order from fewest billionaires to most, are:

  • Media and entertainment
  • Energy
  • Diversified
  • Real estate
  • Food and beverage
  • Healthcare
  • Fashion and retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Technology
  • Finance and investments

Read Next: The Richest Celebrity From Every State

2. The Dreamers path

This is perhaps the hardest path to building wealth because it requires the pursuit of a dream, such as starting a business, becoming a successful actor, musician or author.

Approximately 28% of the folks in my study were Dreamers, and they accumulated an average net worth of $7.4 million — far more than any of the other groups — over a period of about 12 years.

All of them told me that pursuing their dreams was one of the most rewarding things they had done in their lives. They loved what they did for a living, and their passion showed up in their bank accounts.

Those who want to take this path, however, must be willing to work long hours and able to handle financial stress. The Dreamers in my study worked more than 61 hours per week before finally achieving their dreams. Weekends and vacations were almost non-existent.

Trying to make ends meet was not easy. At first, getting a steady paycheck was "nearly impossible," one Dreamer said. It was even harder for those who had families to support. To finance their dreams, some decided to put off buying a home, while others dipped into their retirement savings.

If you're risk-averse, this path may not be for you.

Examples of self-made millionaires

According to the same Wealth-X study discussed earlier in this article, as of 2018, a little over 265,000 individuals are considered ultra-wealthy, meaning they have a net worth of $30 million or more. Moreover, more than two-thirds are self-made. Here are three famous examples:

  • Barbara Corcoran: The real estate mogul turned Shark Tank investor started her eponymous brokerage business with a $1,000 loan. Under her supervision, shegrew the business into a multi-million-dollar empire that she sold for $66 million in 2001.
  • Janice Bryant Howroyd. The founder and CEO of ActOne Group started her staffing agency with $1,500 ($900 of which she borrowed from her mother), a fax machine, and a phone. She is now one of the richest self-made Black women millionaires in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $285 million.
  • Warren Buffet. Perhaps one of the most famous and richest people in the world – and technically a billionaire and not a millionaire — Warren Buffett still merits a mention in this list because he is well known for being self-made. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO made his first millions by running a hedge fund and is known for his principled and sensible approach to investing.

The Pros and Cons of a Live-and-Rent Approach

This approach does require moving about every year, however.

But if you’re a 22-year-old just graduating from college, that means you will own 10 pieces of property by your early 30s. If a 15-year mortgage is obtained and paid off early, several could be owned free and clear. That would provide for a significant stream of income for the investor. From that flow of funds, more properties can be purchased, too, continuing into the future if you wanted to.

Related: Buy A House vs. Rent An Apartment – The Math

How Millionaires Invest (and Spend)

According to the survey, 8 out of 10 millionaires invested in their company’s 401(k) plan, and that simple step was a key to their financial success. Not only that, but 3 out of 4 of those surveyed also invested outside of company plans. But they didn’t risk their money on single-s

But they didn’t risk their money on single-stock investments or “an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.” In fact, no millionaire in the study said single-stock investing was a big factor in their financial success. Single stocks didn’t even make the top three list of factors for reaching their net worth.

Three out of four millionaires (75%) said that regular, consistent investing over a long period of time is the reason for their success. So, the story about the young computer genius who developed an app that earned millions overnight is the exception, not the rule. Even when millionaires don’t have to worry a

Even when millionaires don’t have to worry about money anymore, they’re still careful about their spending. Ninety-four percent of the people studied said they live on less than they make, and nearly three-quarters of the millionaires have never carried a credit card balance in their lives!

These milloinaires also said they spend $200 or less each month at restaurants. And 93% of millionaires use coupons all or some of the time when shopping. By staying out of debt and watching expenses, they’re able to build their bank accounts instead of trying to get out of a financial hole every month.

How Many Millionaires Are There?

  1. Credit Suisse’s latest global wealth report shows there are 46.8 million millionaires (measured in USD) worldwide.
  2. Of those, 40% or 18.6 million individuals are in the United States
  3. This means that about 7.6% of the U.S. adult population are millionaires
  4. Which indicates that approximately 14% of U.S. households are in the millionaire club
  5. With a median wealth of $65,904 for an adult in the U.S., $1,000,000 represents 1517% of the median
  6. The annual increase in global wealth per adult was 2.6%
  7. After the U.S at 40%, the next highest 5 countries for millionaires are China 10%, Japan 6%, United Kingdom 5%, Germany 5%, and France 4%.
  8. These top six countries represent 70% of the world’s millionaires
  9. If you’re a millionaire, you are in the top 0.6% of wealth for the world’s population
  10. The nine cities with the most millionaires, in decreasing order are Tokyo, New York City, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Beijing, Osaka, Hong Kong, and Shanghai
  11. There is often debate on how to calculate how many millionaires there truly are. Some researches use household wealth to identify millionaires, which can be misleading. For example, in the U.S. there are 2.58 people per household on average, which calculates to average wealth per person of $388,000 if the household had exactly $1,000,000. Therefore, research based on households will typically overstate the number of individual millionaires.
  12.  Another difference that can be misleading is that some researchers consider the equity an individual has in their home as part of their wealth, while other researches only count those with liquid investable assets of at least $1,000,000. Those that use liquid asset methodology may undercount individuals worth at least $1,000,000 especially in regions where housing is expensive. Neither methodology is superior, but it’s important to know what’s underneath the numbers so that you can cite the right statistics for your application.
  13. Current projections are that 1,700 new U.S. millionaires are made every day

Final Thoughts on How to Become a Millionaire

While the status of millionaire is alluring, aim to achieve financial freedom rather than arbitrarily aiming to reach the two comma club. Financial freedom may require more or less than $1 million, depending on your unique circumstances. Use our guide to figure out how much you may need to save for retirement.

Regardless of the specific financial goals you decide on, your focus should be to save and invest early and consistently while keeping an eye on fees. If you can avoid lifestyle debt at the same time, compound returns will take care of the rest.


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