Surprising Job That Gets Many Americans Into the Millionaire Club

Teachers Millionaires
Teachers Millionaires

Looking to join the millionaire's club and wondering what it takes? Finding the right occupation is a good place to start. But some surprising occupations hold a greater chance of getting there than others.

According to a report released last week by the Spectrem Group's Millionaire Corner, the number of millionaire households in the U.S. rose 2% last year to 8.2 million. And capturing the greatest number of millionaire households were ones that included a manager as a breadwinner.

But while managers are tops on the list, accounting for 17% of households with $1 million to $5 million in net assets excluding their primary residence, educators are close behind with 12% of the millionaire pie, according to the report.

That's right -- educators.

What gives these occupations their relatively large slice is that many are living in dual-income households, says George Walper, president of the Spectrum Group.

Compare that to other high-paying jobs such as attorneys, doctors, or dentists, which only account for 2% of the millionaire pool. People in those ultra-demanding occupations are often the sole breadwinners in their families, with spouses or partners holding down the fort at home. And when it's time to retire, the payout may be less.

Age is another key factor in crossing the millionaire mark: The average age of U.S. millionaires is 63, according to the report.

Millionaire Household Occupations


Percent of Millionaires





Sr. Corporate Executive


Business Owner




Sales Person






Source: Spectrem Group Millionaire Corner

What It Takes to Get Wealthy

Getting from zero to a one and six zeros on the wealth meter takes more than hard work and education, although both were listed in the top spots with 95% and 85% of survey respondents, respectively.

Surprisingly, risk taking was listed as a reason by 56% of survey respondents, placing it No. 5 out of 11 factors, while "being in the right place, at the right time" took No. 6 with 42% and "luck" No. 7 with 39%.

If you're expecting people to claim their family connections paid off big, think again. It ranked dead last with only 9% of survey respondents citing the coattail factor.


(Note: In the chart above, UHNW refers to "ultra-high net worth" -- the folks whose net worth is at least $5 million without factoring in their primary residence.)

Tasting a Slice of the Millionaire Pie

As consumers consider their assets, they may want to take a gander at how the really rich align their portfolios.

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According to the Spectrem Group, millionaires had 56% in investable assets last year. Of that, 29% was in IRAs, versus 22% in the previous year, while the proportion held in stocks and bonds dipped from 19% to 15%.

The market's free fall in 2008 cracked the nest eggs of millions of retirees, kicking many of them out the millionaire club. Although this group has seen its numbers inch up back for three consecutive years, their numbers are still substantially down from 2007, when the U.S. included 9.2 million millionaire households.

In order for the pool of millionaires to swell to pre-recession levels, Walper notes: "Investments in real estate would need to improve and the economy, since that would help privately owned businesses and entrepreneurs."

Those events would also be good for the average working Joe, too.

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