7 Reasons How Millionaires Say They Got Rich

600,000 new millionaires in 2010; HNW, UHNW cite factors in wealth

While revelations just a week ago showed that the U.S. was making billionaires at a slower rate than the rest of the world—where 10 years ago we were home to almost one of every two billionaires, now we’re home to only one in every three—the news is not all bad.

Market woes notwithstanding, millionaires in the U.S. are on the rise, and in a new report they give seven reasons how they got there. In 2010, the number of those households with a net worth of more than $1 million, not including their primary residence, increased by 8% to 8.4 million, adding 600,000 newbies to the ranks of the wealthy. And the wealthy have definite ideas about how they got there, citing seven top causes for their prosperity.

According to data from the report, “Affluent Market Insights 2011,” released Wednesday by Spectrem Group, the rate of millionaire growth may have slowed a bit (it was 16% in 2009), but it certainly hasn’t stopped. In 2008, it actually fell by 27%, reflecting tough market conditions.

The ultra-high-net-worth are on the rise, too. Those with $5 million or more in assets, not including their principal residence, increased by 8% to 1.06 million. In 2009 there were only 980,000 UHNW in the U.S.

George H. Walper, Jr., president of Spectrem Group, said in a statement, “The millionaire comeback continues. After taking a big recession-driven hit in 2008, the U.S. millionaire population staged a second straight year of growth in 2010. . . .”

The “merely” affluent have also increased. Those with $500,000 or more in assets other than their principal residence grew by 6% to 13.5 million. In 2009 there were 12.7 million affluent in the U.S.

Among those in the affluent market, both the HNW and the UHNW attribute their success predominantly to hard work. But other factors are at play, too—everything from education to “being in the right place at the right time.” Here’s seven reasons why the affluent think they got where they are:

Reason

$100,000-
$1,000,000

$1,000,000-
$5,000,000

$5,000,000-
$25,000,000

  Hard work

93%

95%

95%

  Education

71%

89%

92%

  Smart investing

67%

83%

85%

  Frugality

66%

81%

77%

  Taking risks

42%

67%

72%

  Being in the right
  place at the right
   time

33%

45%

62%

  Inheritance

23%

28%

26%

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