3 Lessons From Studying +10,000 Self-Made Millionaires

updated on 11 May 2022

It’s quite taboo to express that in our society.

It usually brands you as a money hungry a$$hole, who will do anything, or screw over anyone to make a quick buck.

The pursuit of money is often correlated with greed, power and status.

I love money, but not for any of those reasons.

To me, money = options.

It doesn’t mean success, power, or importance. It simply means more choice.

Imagine for a second that I asked you to build your dream home. But there is a catch. You can only use the materials I provide to build it.

In the first instance, let’s say I gave you a hammer, nails, a saw and some wood.

Best case scenario (if you were handy with DIY), you would be able to build yourself a one story wood cabin.

That’s about it. 👇


Now imagine I gave you access to a few more tools and resources.

You can now use glass, power tools, bricks, grass, and a bunch of other materials to build your dream home.

Does it look any different?

The options you have to build your dream home begin to expand.


Now, imagine I removed all restrictions.

You have access to any material under the sun, there is no budget, and you have a team of highly skilled labourers to help.

Oh, and now you have excavators and big machinery at your disposal too!

Your options to build your dream home are limitless...


Money is one of the main tools or resources we all use to construct our lives.

It’s important to all of us.

To me, the more money you have, the more ways you can design or construct your dream life, whatever that means to you!

As I have mentioned before in this newsletter, very little of what I talk about is 100% original. There are smarter, richer, savvier people who have already written the playbook.

It’s up to us to read, distil the information, and most importantly implement it.

To help you, I have distilled down 3 lessons from different studies of over 10,000 self-made millionaires.

I hope these insights will inspire you, help you build wealth, and in turn, give you more options to construct your dream life.

Most take the path of least resistance

Thomas Corley spent over 5 years studying 177 self-made millionaires and found that there were 4 main paths to building wealth:

The Saver-Investor Path - Live below your means, and invest as much of your income as practical

Big Company Climber Path - Grind hard, climb, and don’t stop until you hit executive level salaries

The Virtuoso Path - Become elite at your profession and charge a huge premium

The Entrepreneur Path - Build your own rocket ship and reap the rewards

Nearly 50% of millionaires followed the Saver-Investor path, and started with the exact same savings habit they built in their 20’s.

When they entered the workforce, they had a specific savings goal. They aimed to save between 20% of their salaries.

This is nearly 2x - 2.5x the average household savings rate in the US and the U.K.

As their salaries grew during their career, they kept a commitment to these savings levels.

At £30,000 they saved £6,000 per year

As they built their salaries up to £50,000, they saved £10,000 per year.

And so on.

Furthermore, they were super intentional with putting their savings into 3 distinct "buckets"

#1 Bucket = 10% - Future Investments (Pension, Stocks & Shares ISA)

#2 Bucket = 5% - Cash for Big Items (Cars, Houses, Wedding)

#3 Bucket = 5% - Cash emergency savings

They eventually were able to live on 80 per cent or less of their take-home pay, remained consistent and patient, and never flaunted their wealth. Above all, they used time to their advantage.

The Saver-Investor path is highly attractive for a few reasons. It’s the easiest of all 4 paths. It’s accessible to anyone, regardless of salary. It’s something that can be started immediately.

This is what I call "Getting Rich Slowly" which anyone can do.

The downside is that it takes financial discipline and a long term commitment to walk this proven path.

You don’t need to make the big bucks

It can be easy to think that most millionaires are from the Big Company Climber Path.

C-suite level executives like CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s at large corporations that are on multiple six figures salaries, plus huge bonuses and stock options.

That’s actually not true at all.

There was a study done by Ramsey Solutions that looked at 10,000 millionaires and found that only 15% were in these type of senior leadership roles.

The top 5 careers for millionaires were as follows:

  • Engineer
  • Accountant
  • Teacher
  • Management
  • Attorney

69% of millionaires did not average +£100,000 during their career.

In fact, 33% never made more than six figures in their entire life.

This is a powerful stat.

Reaching these levels of wealth can feel impossible for the average employee. It really does go to show you that anyone can accumulate tremendous wealth (aka options).

If you don’t believe me, check out my friend Jillian, a mother of 6 who became financially independent by 32!

Millionaires are built not born

"Easy for them. I bet they inherited a sh*t ton of money."

I think it’s easy to believe that the majority of millionaires are born into wealth, assuming they needed to do little work to put themselves in a comfortable financial position.

According to the data, this is another false narrative.

The same study of +10,000 millionaires showed that 79% of all millionaires received absolutely zero financial inheritance from their parents or other family members.


This was shocking to me.

I would have assumed a higher percentage got a huge financial head start in life.

In fact, 8 out of 10 millionaires came from families that are on par or even below average income households. This is a clear indication that most millionaires had to make their own fortune, instead of relying on wealthy family members.

Only 3% of people studied were given over $1 million in inheritance money.

A final note

The reason I love reading these studies, stats and surveys is that it turns the impossible into possible.

It’s inspiring!

Never in a million years did I think that building this kind of wealth would be fathomable for a regular, everyday employee like myself.

However, I now believe that with the habits and action we have taken, my wife and I will become regular, everyday millionaires in our lifetime (not overnight people!).

We are some distance from that milestone, but it’s now turned the impossible into possible.

I don’t say this to brag, boast or gloat. Quite the opposite.

I say it to inspire people to know that this is possible for anyone to achieve.

I truly believe that every employee in the UK has the opportunity to become a millionaire in their lifetime, especially via the Saver-Investor path.

The "millionaire milestone" is a rather arbitrary number in my opinion. That level of wealth will not automatically give you power, status or happiness.

For me, that level of wealth eliminates financial stress, allows for more freedom of choice, and presents you more options to build your dream life.

Ultimately, it gives you financial peace of mind.

❤️ Patrick & TOMII Tribe


What We're Reading 📚

The National Study Of Millionaires

This is the largest single study of millionaires ever done! It’s by the Ramsey Solutions out of the USA. A short read but it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into how millionaires are built.

What We're Doing 🤩

Free Lunch & Learn - Stress Awareness Month in April

As part of Stress Awareness Month in April, TOMII is doing a series of free financial wellbeing lunch & learn sessions with culture focused businesses. We have 10 booked in already and hosted one last week at Social Chain. Hit the link HERE to book in a call with us to learn more!

What We're Pondering 🤔

Give up Greggs to buy a house? FFS....

Great Linkedin post about millennials needing to give up avocado and toast / Greggs in order to get on the property ladder. It’s mad thinking my wife and I, both with solid careers, are still miles away from buying in an area we want to be. A +£200,000 down payment? Naw thanks! We’ll stay renters and invest :)

Screenshot 2022-03-08 at 7.58.38 am-wn98h


Read more