Why Do You Build Wealth and Become a Millionaire?

Are you working? Why do you work? Do you have a goal? Seriously, what drives you? Why do you get up, get dressed, and head out to work every day? What’s your goal? What’s your purpose?

If you’re going to spend your life working, you might as well have a goal and a purpose for your money. I started working with my parents around age 10 . My dad was a carpenter. When I worked with him I got to sweep floors, carry wood, and occasionally step on a nail (which wasn’t part of the job, but it happened more often than I’d like). My goals were pretty simple. Buy more toys.

When I wasn’t busy on a job site with my dad, you might find me with my mom at the convenient store(s) she managed. My convenient store life usually included facing and stocking product shelves and the refreshments cooler as long as I kept my hands off the beer. I wasn’t old enough to face and stock the alcoholic beverages. As I got a bit older, my job moved outside to sweep the parking lot (hated it), concrete (hated it), paint the curbs (hated it), and pull the weeds (hated it). Don’t laugh. If you had to pull those thorny weeds that stuck you every time, you’d hate the job too. Yes, gloves would have helped, but they don’t work well when you leave them at home. Honestly, it was the worst job I’ve ever had, but at least I got to buy more stuff and save for a car when I would eventually turn sixteen.

As I got older I found myself working in grocery stores, shipping docks, manufacturing assembly lines, engineering departments, technology departments, and eventually as a corporate executive.

Throughout my early working life, I worked for things I wanted and things I needed. Along the way to becoming a millionaire, something changed. I began working for others. Sure, I still work for things I want and things I need, but now there’s another element. Others. When you build wealth and have a little excess, you’re more equipped to help people in need.

So I ask, “Why do you build wealth and become a millionaire?” My answer is simple. I build wealth to enjoy life and help people in need.

I recently came across this statistic in an article by *Robert Frank from CNBC, and it totally shocked me.

“More than 80 percent of those worth $25 million or more give at least $10,000 a year to charity, and 21 percent give more than $100,000 a year to charity.“*

At first blush, the article is written in a very “positive language”, but these stats aren’t very positive in my opinion. Let’s look at it another way and break it down into pieces. Piece number 1.

Over 80 percent of people worth $25 million or more are only giving $10,000 or more a year to charity.

$10,000, really? That’s the low bar? Then there’s this. If 80% is the high number, that still leaves 20%. What are those people doing?

20% of people worth $25 million are giving less than $10,000 a year to charity.

Pardon me, but WTH? Seriously? You have a $25 million net worth and you give less than $10,000 a year to help people in need?

Okay, now it’s time for piece number 2. In Robert’s words…

“21 percent of people worth $25 million or more give more than $100,000 a year to charity.” – Robert Frank, CNBC

Let’s write it up this way.

Only 21 percent of people worth $25 million or more give over  $100,000 a year to charity.

Now I agree $100,000 a year is a lot of money, and it sounds very “generous”. That is until you realize that people with over $25 million net worth are generating millions per year off their investments. You can very safely assume they are getting at least 5-7% off their investments. In many cases, much more. At 5%, that’s at least $1,250,000 a year income. The statistic is pitiful. Just pitiful.

I’m sure there are some very generous people in the mix that are quite generous, but the overall number is well below where it should be for serious altruistic giving, helping people in need, and changing the world.

Robert provides a another valuable statistic in his article, just how many people are worth $25 million or more in the United States? The answer, “there are now 142,000 households worth $25 million or more” according to Robert. From the numbers, we know that means roughly 29,000 households gave $100,000 or more to charity, and since 20% gave less than $10,000 to charity, we know that’s roughly 28,400. Interesting how the upper end of the scale and the lower end of the scale are virtually equal. 20% of the “Ultra High Net Worth” people are pretty generous, and 20% are well…grinches. Being just 11 days before Christmas, I had to work that in.

So I ask again, “Why do you build wealth and become a millionaire?” Keep this purpose in mind as you’re building your own wealth, and don’t disappoint me. Enjoy life and help others in need.

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