It is easier to become a millionaire in the United States than in any other country in the world... for those who are willing to get an education, work hard, save money and stay married. That is the conclusion of a new book --
Getting Rich in America -- by two U.S. college professors who have followed their own advice and become millionaires.
The book insists becoming wealthy is a choice that is opened to the vast majority of Americans -- even those with middle to low incomes. If a 22-year-old person puts away $2000 in savings every year, co-author Richard Mackenzie says, he or she will have saved more than $2-million by age 70.
That is not difficult to do, Mr. MacKenzie says, in a country where wage rates are high and there is easy access to both education and investment opportunities.
"Americans have the financial institutions that will allow them to earn reasonably high rates of return. Our recommendation is for Americans to not try to beat the market but to beat the experts by simply investing their savings in mutual funds, which can give them a rate of return on their investment of about eight percent in real terms after inflation during the course of their careers."
Other suggestions from the book: Get an education. A college degree nearly doubles a U.S. citizen's lifetime income. An advanced degree doubles it again. Get married. Working couples make 80% more than one-income families. Stay married. Dividing up family resources depletes savings. Don't smoke. Cigarettes can cost $600,000 dollars over a life time.
Live modestly. 95% of the millionaires in the United States today do not drive luxury cars. 85% clip coupons to save money at the grocery store. Too many Americans, Mr. MacKenzie says, waste their time and money on schemes to get rich quick.
"People think the route to riches is through the state lotteries in this country, and that is absolutely wrong. You have a one in twelve million chance of winning the lottery in New York State. You have a better chance of being hit by a lightening bolt in New York State than that. Most Americans who are rich do it the old fashioned way. They work hard, they save a lot, and they do it with a great deal of patience.
In short, Mr. MacKenzie says, becoming wealthy in the United States has more to do with state of mind and lifestyle than with luck.
Copyright © 1999 by The Investor's Library