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What are your TRUE chances of getting rich in America?
How to get rich in America

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This page last updated on or about 11-13-07
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This is a draft, subject to change as new information becomes available. Please contact me with any factual errors, inaccuracies, or miscalculations found, so that I may address them. Thank you.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This document exists online in two different forms: one includes references, while the other does not. This page is the one without references. To see any references referred to in the text, please refer to the other version, which includes said references (links are provided throughout the page). END NOTE.

To answer this question we first have to define "rich".

In The super-rich, the 'plain' rich, the 'poorest' rich...and everyone else I explain how and why I conclude that a household or family with an annual income at least ten times that of the average-- with no one in the family actually working to make it-- qualifies as rich in America today.

So the basement income to qualify as 'rich' will here be considered to be $400,000 in annual income that'll come in regardless of whether anyone in the family is holding a paying job or not.

As pointed out in The super-rich, the 'plain' rich, the 'poorest' rich... even winning the maximum prizes available in high-profile sweepstakes like the Publisher's Clearinghouse won't get you into the 'rich' category without still more large gobs of luck to go with it. Some winners may find themselves in worse financial shape a few years after winning than they were before! And prestigious awards like the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, or MacArthur Foundation Award fall even shorter in regards to propelling winners into the 'rich' class.

Turns out inheritance of wealth is by far your best bet. Flip side? If you have no such prospects your chances of ever attaining riches dims substantially.

It appears that 69% of everyone qualifying as rich today basically inherited their wealth.

So if you have a rich relative who really really likes you (and is considerably older than you), you may have a shot there.

Marrying rich? Hope you like your wealthy cousin!

Marrying into wealth isn't so different from inheriting it as many people think. For example, it might still be a requirement that you're related by blood to your spouse(!)

Don't be too quick to dismiss the notion of marrying into wealth. For that appears to be how 4.2% of the newly rich do it.

Unfortunately for the gold diggers among us, there's only roughly 31 such eligible men per year, and 31 women, throughout the entire country.

So 69% basically inherit their wealth, 4.2% marry into it, and 26.8% make it in other ways.

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So what sort of people exist in the 26.8%? It's an eclectic mix representing many different sorts, from top crime lords and corporate executives to superstars among the entrepreneurial, film, and music crowds, and the biggest lottery winners in history. Steve Jobs of Apple Computer was one of the entrepreneurial breakouts of these, long ago.

So is there any way to figure out the percentage of the newly rich getting that way from both outright illegal as well as maybe technically legal but unethical activities? Like both big-time dealers in illicit drugs, weapons, and human trafficking, as well as top corporate executives responsible for stealing the pensions or health benefits from thousands or hundreds of thousands of workers, or bilking investors, or secretly committing acts imperiling worker or customer safety or the environment?

Maybe so. For there are some estimates of money laundering to go on here. And all the money that's successfully laundered ends up making its owners smell like roses so far as the public or law enforcement is concerned in regards to their actions.

Basically big-time crooks must at some point 'launder' their money, or disguise it as legitimately gotten gains, in order to spend or invest it in any practical manner without incurring unwanted scrutiny or other problems from official society.

Today there's probably at least $1.5 trillion per year of money being laundered worldwide.

If the $318,000,000,000 of laundered money is distributed among criminal households in America in a fashion similar to that of legitimate funds, then even among criminal families only the top 1% of them would qualify as rich as defined on this site. And that 1% might possess close to 40% of the total annual income for the group. Or $127,200,000,000.

Overall nationwide of ALL the wealthiest 1% (legal and not), 77.38% make between $400,000 and just under $1 million per year, 22.6% between $1 million and less than $175 million, and 0.02% $175 million or more.

Assuming these proportions hold for crime families too, it appears negligible (zero) crime households of this sort are making anywhere close to $175 million a year.

So it appears all criminally financed wealthy households of this kind in America enjoy incomes above $400,000 a year, but well below $175 million a year.

As there's just some 1,464 newly rich US households each year, and we've already accounted for 1072 of them deriving from inheritance or marriage, that leaves only 392 in which any new criminally rich may emerge.

If the criminally rich gain in numbers at roughly the same rate as the officially sanctioned rich (which successfully laundered funds would enable), then their total number may grow at about 7% per year.

So we've got an estimate here of a total amount of criminally made money laundered into the system, plus percentages regarding what fraction of that money likely goes to what portion of the wealthy criminal population in America. And an idea for how much that wealthy population may grow annually.

We also have a ceiling for the actual number of newly rich criminals there could be: 392.

That is, in a year around 2005 where it just so happened that every newly wealthy household was generated either via inheritance, marriage, or crime-- and no other method whatsoever-- 392 would be approximately the maximum number possible for such criminals.

So since we're hurting here for more precise data, why not play with the numbers available to us, and see if that gives us an idea how far off or wrong the 392 number might actually be?

For instance, if 392 represented the total number of newly rich US crooks in 2005-- and approximately 7% the number of pre-existing rich crook population in the country-- then the total number of rich criminal households in America would have to be around 5,600. Out of maybe 132 million total households.

That would put the wealthy criminal element in America at roughly 0.00424% of the total population.

Hmmm. That sounds entirely plausible! Which is surprising to me personally, as I expected the opposite result. I.e., I did the calculation simply to get a sense of how preposterous it might be for all 392 newly rich in America each year without inheritance or marriage sources to usually stem from crime alone.

So newly rich criminal households could easily account for every single new wealthy household appearing in a given year in America without benefit of inheritance or marriage.

That would leave the number stemming from actual legal breakthrough entrepreneurial successes like Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, superstar billing in music or films like Britney Spears or Cameron Diaz, or the biggest lottery wins in history as basically just statistical noise. So that in general very near 100% of the newly wealthy in America are getting there by way of inheritance, marriage, or outright crime.

Keep in mind the above figures dealt only with criminals like the higher ups of drug, prostitution, and slavery rings; crooks who must launder their money to get it into the conventional economic system.

But there's a whole other bunch of wrong doers who might never have to launder their money in such a way, as their profits are generated from 'inside' the system to start with, rather than outside: the white collar bunch who exploit secrecy, weaknesses in government regulations and law enforcement, the lag of policy updates behind technological advances, and plain old political corruption to wrongfully endanger or steal from their employees, investors, customers, or tax payers, leaving the rest of us facing the fallout for years or decades to come in environmental degradation, higher deficits and taxes, fewer public services, deteriorating infrastructure, looted pensions and benefits, higher prices, fewer good paying jobs, and slower innovation due to less honest competition. For those additional figures we'd have to plumb the estimates of securities fraud and other such elements occurring per year in America. And yes, I'll try to get to that too as I get the opportunity.

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But just skimming some estimates for these seem to further support the overall criminal path to riches, and in the proportion speculated of here.

For example, one old estimate of corporate crime costs stands at 2.6 trillion dollars.


Although the reference above provides a breakdown of the total into items including tax fraud, a much larger number than that for total tax cheating is given in the 2004 article below: $311 billion per year. This larger figure may account for both the lost taxes from white collar corporate crime and the more easily defined crime lords described earlier.

And as the 2006 article shows, the number just keeps rising.

The US government actually seems to encourage internal corruption as well as corporate crime-- so long as it involves sufficiently large sums.

For the richer a crook gets from his crimes, the less likely the government will investigate his ill-gotten gains with a tax audit or other means.

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Heck, besides doing its best to stamp out whistleblowing and independent audits and investigations, the government also bends over backwards in other ways to empower insider crime. Like literally hiding some possibly incriminating information under the rubric of "national security" or "executive privilege" or by utilizing other forms of censorship.

Of course the best and easiest way to avoid the availability of incriminating information is to not collect it in the first place. Or else avoid any credible analysis of existing information which might lead to you or your cronies getting into hot water.

One way the government does things like this is by basically allowing corporate lobbyists to write the rules of regulation under which big businesses (and even government agencies!) are run.

But despite them writing their own rules, these guys often can't even abide by those! Apparently due to them feeling they have everything so securely under their thumb that even their own custom-made rules are meaningless.

Another way government aids wealthy crooks and insiders is by making it easy for them to hide portions of their income or assets through use of various loopholes which serve to protect them from taxes or accurate accounting by outsiders. So often the actual net worth and income of the rich or the corporate are even larger than the awesome amounts indicated by the statistics released to the public.

I'm curious if this policy has anything to do with the fact many of our top governmental officials appear to be substantially better off than the rest of us (financially speaking). And election campaign laws have practically assured no poor person can run for office without the blessing of the rich themselves.

Now if you steal a TV set or car (or rob a bank) all sorts of law enforcement folks will be after you.

But just juggle the books in government or corporate business to shift millions or billions from employee pensions or health benefits (or small investors) to the pockets of you and co-conspirators, and often no one will care at all. Yeah, the employees will get a horrible surprise at retirement (or the next time they get injured or ill)-- as will the investors in their own aspirations-- but you and your cohorts will likely get away scot-free. That's how it's done in America.

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But maybe you'd like some more information regarding the massive corporate and/or government crime going on in America these days. Well, for those of you presently visiting the version of this page which includes references, a sampling follows below [CLICK HERE to get the references page if necessary]:

Notice anything here? Namely, the amount of crime going on in government and corporate agencies in America dwarfs that in the so-called 'outlaw' community our leaders typically rail against.

So in America, various corporate executives, politicians, bureaucrats, and generals appear to be responsible for at least EIGHT TIMES the criminal acts of folks like drug dealers, human traffickers, and black market arms dealers-- at least in financial terms.


Folks, if there's almost TEN TIMES the crime going on in our government and corporate circles than among the 'outlaws' we officially send our police and FBI agents after every day-- and we punish shop-lifters and the homeless much more frequently and about a zillion times harsher than the well dressed crooks stealing tens of millions or even billions of dollars from the rest of us-- isn't there something wrong with our system?

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So 69% basically inherit their wealth, 4.2% marry into it, and virtually all the rest make it via criminal acts.

Yeah, sure there's the occasional superstar like Apple's Steve Jobs or Britney Spears who defy the mainstream statistics. Plus a mega-lottery winner now and then. But those are so few as to rate as noise or rounding off errors in the numbers.

Plus there's a small multitude of popular entertainers and athletes whose incomes spike into rich territory briefly only to sputter out later, leaving those folks in the bottom 99% of income again at some point, if they didn't save for a rainy day.

Yikes! Surely that's not so! You might say. Not in America! That inheritance, marriage, and crime represent the only realistic paths to wealth!

Alas, this appears to be the case according to research.

Don't believe me? Then let's examine the numbers further...

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What's the number of folks ACTUALLY getting rich each and every year in America? How many are reaching the point where they're likely to have $400,000 a year or more coming in from now on, despite being effectively 100% retired?

Well, in order to earn $400,000 a year purely from something like interest, how big would your principal have to be?

Based on the interest currently generated by my own savings it appears that number would be roughly around $35 million.

So someone a millionaire 35 times over could swing it.

With income taxes roughly amounting to 50% for gigantic lottery wins in America, that means someone who won around $70 million all for themselves (no need to split it with a pool of ticket buyers) could get rich-- IF they immediately stuck the money into interest bearing accounts and waited a full year to spend a penny. And never ever withdrew more than a single year's worth of interest annually.

In 2003 the USA boasted 2.3 million millionaires. A 14% increase in a year, according to CNN. Or perhaps some 322,000 new millionaires for the year.

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Unfortunately you'd need to be a 35x millionaire at minimum to earn the interest required to be rich.

So can we determine how many 35x millionaires are created in the US each year on average?

Hmmm. That number is apparently very hard to come by. But let's try making an educated guess.

Turns out somebody documented the fact there were around 70,000 individuals worldwide in 2003 with $30 million or more in financial assets each.

Yeah, I know. I said 35x millionaires were needed to reach the level of wealth defined here. And these figures at hand will only help determine numbers relating to 30x millionaires. So we are fudging a bit. But still our calculations should get us into the general ballpark for the purposes of this page. And if 30x millionaires could find a way to get a better interest rate than I currently do, then they might achieve the magnitude of wealth we're looking for after all. That's not entirely implausible. After all, folks with a much bigger principal than I possess should have more options interest-wise.

For reasons of comparison with other estimates here I'm going to assume that each of these individuals basically accounts for the lion's share of the income for their immediate family or household.

So we've got 70,000 households worldwide in 2003 possessing $30 million or more in financial assets each.

Around 2001 Merrill Lynch coined the term "ultra-high-net worth individuals" or "UHNWIs" to describe these folks. Another source said they expected this group would grow by roughly 7% each year around 2005 and thereabouts.

So we've got roughly 70,000 of these "ultra-high-net worth individuals" in 2003, with some analysts expecting this number to grow by around 7% annually.

That would give us approximately 4,900 new 30x millionaires or better a year worldwide, circa 2005.

So how many of these are new US millionaires? Maybe 1,464 if the 30x and better millionaires number is proportional to the total US share of global millionaires.

So there's possibly 1,464 new 30x and better US millionaires per year.

1,464 new truly rich folks a year out of 295,798,362 in America results in a 0.000004949 chance of any US citizen attaining this status for the first time next year.

Or about one chance out of 202,061.

That means if somehow you could make the whole world maintain its current state indefinitely-- with the only difference being you yourself were immortal-- then you'd need only wait another 202,061 years to definitely become rich yourself! Hooray!

But wait! The above figures include those who basically inherit their wealth. So what's the number who get rich without such an advantage?

Apparently around 454 per year. Of course this number may still include many who get rich by marrying into wealthy families. Could we possibly estimate that number? Maybe.

Let's see: It appears over two million marriages a year take place in America. So over four million (at least some 1.56% of Americans) marry each year.

If we assume that wealthy Americans possess the same tendency towards marriage as all other Americans, then some 62 marriages in the US each year may involve at least one person of sufficient wealth to establish an all new rich household.

As the truly wealthy represent such a miniscule percentage of the population, we can probably safely assume that the number of annual marriages where both partners are wealthy is so small as to be statistically insignificant.

So for our purposes here virtually all (100%) American marriages including a person of such wealth will also include a much poorer mate.

This leaves us with around 392 Americans each year getting rich without basically inheriting it or marrying into wealth (454 minus 62).

Unless of course already wealthy households are willing to part with more than 20% of their wealth to help the new family unit enjoy wealthy status. In that case the number of newly rich achieving their wealth without benefit of inheritance or marriage could be lower.

But let's be optimistic!

This leaves us with maybe as many as 392 openings for folks being reborn rich per year in America without benefit of inheritance or marriage.

392 per year amounts to 26.8% (rounded off from 26.7759) of the total 1,464.

So how do the 26.8% of the newly rich without benefit of inheritance or marriage do it?

Unfortunately, it appears almost all of them do it by breaking the law. As described earlier on this page.

But once in a blue moon someone seems to make it in legal fashion.

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So let's examine the channels of wealth-acquisition available to average, law-abiding citizens. Albeit microscopic opportunities compared to the monumental avenues of inheritance, marriage, and crime, most of these courses are none-the-less often touted by various popular authors and powerful political factions, despite them almost never working out for the vast majority of those who try them.

Note that the fact these channels never work for more than 1% of those who try them, at most (based on official historical records of wealth) and likely truly work for only something like 0.0004% of the population (according to the information listed in this page: a rate no better than pure random luck, as in a lottery), has done nothing to diminish the credibility of those authors and political groups among the populace, as there's virtually zero media scrutiny of their claims. Before, during, or after the fact. So those authors and political operatives reliably rake in the profits and other benefits of their claims year after year, decade after decade, with no one of prominence challenging the truth of their statements.

Why? Partly because the truth is so hard to come by-- and even if acquired, difficult to analyze. And after that, awfully complex to present to the man in the street.

Haven't you noticed that aspect of this page? The bewildering, overpowering nature of the details and complexity necessary to get at the truth?

Another reason those folks aren't challenged on their claims is Americans-- like all folks everywhere-- want to believe their country is the best place in the world; special. Better than other places, in all the ways that matter most.

And maybe more than anything else, Americans want to believe in the American dream.

But the truth shows that to be overwhelmingly a lie.

Who wants to accept that? Certainly not me! Nor most other Americans, I'm sure.

But anyone who truly craves freedom and opportunity must seek out the truth of their existence. To do otherwise is to court failure at the least-- and calamity at worst.

So shall we examine those avenues to wealth-building so often hyped by charlatans among us?

#1: Getting rich in the stock market: For most small investors the stock market is basically just a branch office of Las Vegas

So it's just another lottery, where pure luck will usually be the major determining factor of success or failure (unless you're already wealthy). See further below for more on pure luck ventures.

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However, if you are a psychopath you have a considerably better chance than 99% of other Americans at attaining wealth in the stock market and elsewhere.

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#2: Inventing, marketing, or working your way to riches: For most getting rich will have little or nothing to do with the merit of their ideas or how hard they work

Got a great idea you think could make you rich? There's very little chance of that. Sure, your idea might be great, but it's much more likely to be effectively stolen from you in one manner or another rather than bringing you great rewards. Or else you'll simply never be able to gather the resources needed to launch it.

This is why stories about the very very few folks who did succeed in such efforts (like Steve Jobs of Apple Computer) are so well known to practically everyone around the world: they are the ultra rare exceptions.

And all this is despite the fact that the very best company workers might be 50 times more valuable to their employer, than the worst. And yet the very worst in the company may well often get the top positions and top pay(!)

#3: And yes, the above relates to your chances of getting rich via your own small business, too.

For the vast majority of small business folk, having their own business basically offers them a bit more freedom of personal decision-making and (often) greatly dilutes the power of others to 'boss them around', as the self-employed tend to possess lots of 'little bosses' (customers) while the plain employed usually suffer one or two 'big bosses' (an immediate supervisor, etc.) instead.

In recent history the self-employed usually were forced to effectively work more hours for less pay than the average plain employed person. So it could often be a toss up as to which worker was truly in a superior situation.

But in places like America the edge may now be going to the self-employed, as regular employers are increasingly squeezing their workers to put in similar numbers of hours for similar amounts of pay as the self-employed. Add to that the increasing job and wage insecurity for plain workers these days, and it appears virtually everyone may soon be living like the majority of the self-employed have for perhaps generations.

Only the truly self-employed may enjoy at least slightly more autonomy and security than the plain employed. Plus, there's always the 'lottery' factor for those truly self-employed who are capable of both recognizing a golden opportunity if it appears, and scaling up their organization to exploit it-- as well as willing to do so. That 'lottery' factor is what largely accounts for the success of people like Michael Dell of Dell Computer, who was self-employed in college building PCs for others, and seized a rare opportunity to eventually put his organization in the top tier of computer companies worldwide.

But let me reiterate: most of the self-employed NEVER see such a rich opportunity come their way. And of those who do, fewer still have the skills or other resources available to suitably ramp up their operations to exploit it before someone else. And of the tiny number who both get such an opportunity and can effectively scale up to meet it, some simply choose not to. Why? Because money isn't everything, of course. And often chasing it too far and hard will force you to become a different person entirely, as well as lose many or all of your loved ones-- much the same as might happen if you acquire a drug addiction.

#4: Make your fortune in real estate? Dream on

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#5: As for simply working hard to get rich, well, that's a very very long shot too.

Americans in general have always been among the hardest working folks in the world. The entire nation seems to have inherited a strong work ethic from the Puritans: some of the earliest colonizers from Europe. And in the centuries since, the country has gradually and steadily handed over ever more control over its destiny to purely commercial interests (i.e. business interests and employers as opposed to public interest and employees), sometimes to the detriment of everything else. So today average Americans tend to be at least in the top two or three of the hardest working populations in the world, if not number one. And this may still hold even if the populations of third world countries are included, where in general life tends to be much harsher than that in developed nations.

All that work and the stresses and health problems that go with it has thus far failed to make 99% of Americans rich, generation after generation after generation...

Heck, in America working hard won't even guarantee you a place to live or an income above that of abject poverty, circa 2005.

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Working hard at the right things should help you achieve some goals-- but in all my research I've yet to see a single case where hard work alone made someone rich. Indeed, the evidence that hard work alone won't make you rich is much more plentiful.

#6: Saving your way to riches is also out for the vast majority of us-- even where we give up everything which makes life worth living to attempt it.

Getting rich via savings is inextricably linked for most Americans to working harder and/or longer hours [see above for more on that topic]. And becoming wealthy by retirement age through extraordinary life-long personal savings efforts is often touted by various financial sources who wish to directly or indirectly capture our income in their investment pools-- or perhaps merely manipulate us into a futile pursuit of riches for their own (financial service institutions') benefit.

But the percentage of Americans who can afford to religiously adhere to such savings plans for a lifetime is exceedingly small. So small that the actual figure for those achieving wealth in this fashion appears to be negligible.

For instance, let's say you only aspire to be rich during your retirement years. From 65 to 83 (83 is the average American's life exectancy at age 65). Recall you'll require an effective after-retirement income of at least $400,000 a year to be rich by the definition of this page. Ignoring the relatively small addition interest will add to this (especially after income taxes are eventually levied against what you withdraw, and inflation also diminishes your real buying power), you'd need to pile up some $7.2 million in the bank by retirement age to insure a minimum of $400,000 per year withdrawals from age 65 through 83.

Let's also assume you can't or won't get serious about saving for retirement until around age 45. That gives you 20 years to build up $7.2 million. Savings you can't use for anything else in the meantime. That works out to $360,000 per year for 20 years on average, or $30,000 per month.

$30,000 PER MONTH.

The average American household only brings in around $40,000 PER YEAR.

So clearly the 20 year savings plan to retirement riches will be impossible for most folks.

But let's say you instead begin 20 years earlier-- age 25. Surely you can manage it now, right?

This early bird savings plan will require you to put away $180,000 per year for 40 years, or $15,000 per month on average.

$15,000 PER MONTH.

Again, the average American household only brings in around $40,000 PER YEAR. If somehow they could live without food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and all else indefinitely, it would take their entire year's salary to put away only 2.7 months of what's required for building retirement wealth in that period.

So the 40 year savings plan to retirement riches will be impossible too for most people.

So let's simply throw out the whole notion of saving our way to retirement riches. It's a pure myth for the vast majority of us.

But even for those few who can achieve such a goal, the accomplishment could be a hollow victory, as it required them to avoid most of the things which made life worth living, such as getting married and raising a family, among other things.

The idea of squandering your youth and vitality for the sole purpose of having a fat bank account by the time you're lying in your deathbed-- with few or no loved ones with which to share it-- wouldn't appeal to most reasonable and well adjusted people.

Then there's the chicken-and-egg problem of luck and profligacy. Namely, it seems luck rewards criminal levels of waste and inefficiency and outright fraud at least slightly more often than the virtues of efficiency, productivity, frugality, and honesty.

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So attempting to honestly save your way to a fortune may well be an unnatural act so far as the cosmos is concerned. And thus be greatly hampered by natural forces.

Of course it may be tough to discern which came first in many real-world cases: the good fortune or the wasteful or dishonest behavior. But they do seem to have some sort of consistent relationship over time.

#7: Attaining wealth through education is a popular notion in America, likely strengthened by the fact the further you go education-wise the more likely you are to be healthier, and to consistently earn a higher-than-average salary.

But education alone won't make you rich in America-- or anywhere else.

#8: Writing the next great American novel. Gaining fame and fortune via writing books is a cherished dream for many of us. But the reality is overwhelmingly against it.

No more than around 500 folks in America make their living solely from writing fiction. And most of those never ever get rich.

Indeed, as of late 2007, in the entire history of the world(!) ONLY ONE author has ever managed to become a billionaire: J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. If the second billionaire author takes as long to appear as the first did after the invention of writing itself, there's thousands of years to go before we'll see the next one!

#9: Getting rich via a single extraordinary stroke of luck has always been a popular hope for many-- but that route favors the evil among us more often than the good

If you believe your best shot at wealth will come largely via a great stroke of luck, you have lots of company: 40% of Americans of close to average income or below believe the same.

Unfortunately, as luck favors evil more often than good, most folks who'll get rich solely or mostly through luck will be bad guys of one sort or another.

Ergo, if you're a good person, honest, and law-abiding, your chances of striking it rich are at least slightly less than the worst person you know.

In addition, circa 2005 you're far far more likely in America to become poorer rather than richer, as time goes by.

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Think about the relationship of luck to evil for a moment, and you get another surprising conclusion.

Namely that luck, like water, always wants to reach a lower place. That is, all luck wants to be bad. And the better quality and more quantity it begins with, the worse and faster it wants to sour.

Think of money as being analogous to luck for a moment. If the nature of luck is as I describe here, and money is basically just one tangible form of luck, then large amounts of money will tend to want to pool where it can either do the most damage, or the least good.

So if money were very much like luck, it would naturally accumulate in vast quantities around only a very small percentage of the population, in order to at least minimize its productivity or other benefits to anyone at all (including its current owners).

For example, it's quite feasible for an ultra rich individual to simply find it impossible to spend more than a fraction of their fortune in any way which perceptably improves their personal lot over and above what it happens to be already.

As H.L. Hunt (born 1889, died 1974) once said, "...for practical purposes, someone who has $200,000 a year is as well off as I am." William Henry Vanderbilt and John Jacob Astor made similar statements concerning various amounts adjusted for inflation.

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To put it another way, money will naturally prefer to flow to where it's least desired, least needed, least productive-- and maybe least deserved.

Certain anecdotal evidence this could be true abounds. For instance, check out lottery and sweepstakes winners. These often seem to consist of individuals who are on their deathbed (or very near to it), or else business folk who are already wealthy by the standards of most others. And when the winners belong to neither of those groups, they are likely to effectively be deranged in some manner-- abysmally ignorant, immature, naive, or suffering other adverse mental issues of some kind which will almost certainly negatively affect their ability to spend or invest their winnings in a wise or efficient manner.

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I'm not saying all big money winners belong to such groups. I'm just saying a substantial percentage seem to. And that would seem to back up some of the ideas presented here on the nature of riches in general.

Want more evidence? Well, if what I say is true, you should be able to garner further proof from raising taxes on the wealthy to see if natural forces rush in to compensate for the subtraction.

Apparently they do, according to at least one 1998 Businessweek article (SOAKING THE RICH DOES WORK by Peter Coy).

Congratulations to any one who might have gotten rich against all odds in America this year without inheriting it, marrying it, breaking the law, or harming thousands or millions of the rest of us along the way!

I hope there was at least ONE of you this year!

As for everyone else in the USA, we'd better hunker down. It's all uphill from here.

Of course we could also try leaving the US to become a citizen of another country, where average folks like us might have it a little easier. And where might that be? Almost any other developed nation in the world. For the USA is rapidly losing ground to just about all of them in practically every measure but for mounting debts and military expenditures. Read the awful truth here.

Unfortunately, many of those other countries aren't very eager to let Americans in these days. At least not as full-fledged citizens. Largely due to the incredible damage done by the Bush Administration to the reputation and credibility of Americans everywhere.

If whilst hunkering down you'd like to also try changing the status quo in America, reading this might be a good place to start.

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All text above not explicitly authored by others copyright © 2005-2007 by J.R. Mooneyham. All rights reserved.