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How long does it take for the average rich person to become rich? Ten years, 20 years? How about 32 years. That’s how long it took the average self-made millionaire, according to my data.

In my Rich Habits Study, 76% of those who were wealthy were self-made millionaires. They came from non-wealthy households: 31% of these millionaires came from poor households, while 45% came from middle-class households. What’s more compelling about the data I gathered is the age in which these self-made millionaires actually struck it rich. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1% (2 out of 233) became wealthy before the age of 40
  • 3% (6 out of 233) became wealthy between age 40 and 45
  • 16% (38 out of 233) became wealthy between age 46 and 50
  • 28% (66 out of 233) became wealthy between age 51 and 55
  • 31% (73 out of 233) became wealthy between age 56 and 60
  • 21% (48 out of 233) became wealthy after the age of 60

The romanticized notion of getting rich quick always finds an eager audience. We are stimulated by stories about the young and the wealthy. The immediate success of youthful billionaires like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin play to our get-rich-quick desires. We obsess over stories about lottery winners. And the lottery organizations know it. California’s lottery catchphrase is Imagine What a Buck Could Do. New York’s lottery catchphrase is Dollar and a Dream. Australia’s got a dandy: Live a Lotto Life. There is even a popular reality TV show called Lottery Changed My Life about how the lives of lottery winners were changed. Immediate gratification, especially when it comes to wealth accumulation, is the rallying cry of many in the modern world these days.

Unfortunately, getting rich quickly is a rare phenomenon. It’s clear from the above data that accumulating wealth takes a very long time. It just doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, 80% of the self-made millionaire in the Rich Habits Study did not become wealthy until after age 50. Furthermore, 27% of these self-made millionaires tried and failed at least once in business.

The path to riches is a long, lonely one, paved with many potholes and numerous dead ends. Those few who do make it are seasoned veterans in the world of entrepreneurs, deserving of their own, hard-earned status: Self-Made Millionaire.

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