Thinking of being a doctor or lawyer? Entrepreneurs account for the largest share of the wealthiest Americans.
A mother may dream her children will become doctors or lawyers, but Millionaire Corner research shows that it’s the entrepreneurs who make the really big money.
“We’ve seen over the years that professionals level off around the $15 million mark, while business owners have unlimited growth opportunity,” said Catherine McBreen, president of Millionaire Corner.
Doctors, dentists and lawyers account for 13 percent of high net worth investors, individuals with investable assets of $5 million to $25 million, according to a study conducted by Millionaire Corner over the first quarter of 2012. They are outnumbered by entrepreneurs and business owners who make up 15 percent of high net worth investors, and senior corporate executives, who account for 18 percent.
The share of professionals shrinks among investors at higher wealth levels, according to our research. Doctors, lawyers and dentists account for 9 percent of the roughly 107,000 U.S. investors with a net worth of $25 million or more, but senior corporate executives make up 20 percent of this affluent group. Entrepreneurs and business owners make up the largest share, 29 percent. The results suggest an entrepreneur is more than three times more likely to join the $25 million-plus club than a doctor, lawyer or dentist.
“Creativity and drive – the ability to innovate and make things happen – are key elements to entrepreneurship, the occupation with the potential for the richest rewards,” said McBreen.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that entrepreneurs and business owners give more to credit “taking risk” as a factor in creating wealth. Three-fourths of entrepreneurs say risk played an important role in their success, compared to 58 percent of professionals.
Doctors, dentists and lawyers, on the other hand, credit their wealth largely to their educations. Ninety-six percent say education was key to their success, compared to 81 percent of entrepreneurs and business owners.
The financial benefits of an education are well established. (A Georgetown University study released last year found that workers with college degrees make 84 percent more than those with a high school education.) Yet, entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg make spectacular exceptions to this rule. The four count among the nation’s richest citizens, but have other traits in common. All dropped out of school before founding businesses that would make them billionaires.
Millionaire Corner research also finds that professionals are more likely than business owners to give weight to frugality, 89 percent vs. 58 percent, respectively, while business owners and entrepreneurs place a higher premium than professionals on being in the right place at the right time, 75 percent vs. 58 percent.