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5 jobs with the most millionaires

Ramsey told Von about a 2023 Ramsey Solutions survey, which quizzed 10,000 millionaires across the U.S. to find out what they do for work and how they built their wealth.

The top five careers for millionaires turned out to be:

  • Engineer
  • Accountant (CPA)
  • Teacher
  • Management
  • Attorney

Surprisingly, medical doctors and physicians didn’t make the top five. They came in sixth position because, as Ramsey put it, even though “they make a lot of money” they’re “notoriously bad” at managing it.

“The interesting thing is, one third of them, 33% made less than $100,000 a year,” said Ramsey. “They were not making bank. They were not earning their way into it real quick.”

Ramsey said there’s one thing that people in the top five professions share in common, which is that they are “process people.” By that, he means “they learn the rules and … follow them.”

“If you’re an engineer, there’s only one way to build that building [so that] doesn’t fall. If you’re an accountant… there’s one way to do it. Teachers have a lesson plan they have to follow, business has a set of practices [and] attorneys [follow] the law,” he told Von.

“All of these are process people so they discovered… the process of living on less than they make, living on a budget, starting to invest, being generous, paying off their house, that kind of stuff.”

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Busting a million-dollar myth

The Ramsey Solutions survey busted the myth that, in order to be a millionaire, you need a big six-figure income or to come from a rich family where you’re set to inherit a pile of cash. Instead, most of the millionaires surveyed got rich through consistent investing, avoiding debt like the plague and smart spending.

“The typical millionaire that we found — 89% of them were first generation, meaning they did not inherit their money,” said Ramsey. “That’s good news for everybody — we’ve all got a shot.”

The two main items that helped these people hit the million-dollar mark: investing in their company’s 401(k) plan (or a similar tax-advantaged savings mechanism, like an individual retirement account) and buying a house and paying it off.

Buying a home and fully paying off the mortgage is easier said than done, especially in today’s high interest rate environment. A recent survey commissioned by real estate brokerage Redfin revealed at almost 40% of current homeowners in the U.S. would not be able to afford their homes if they bought today.

But Ramsey said he’s a “huge believer in homeownership” as long as buyers aren’t stupid about what they can truly afford. He said: “Homeownership is a key part in the first $1 million to $10 million of net worth that somebody builds.”

He concluded by saying: “There’s a lot of loud noises out there. I don’t know where that comes from [but] it’s not true that you can’t get ahead. When you convince someone it’s true, you’re stealing their hope and … that’s evil.”

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Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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