webzter_again wrote:http://www.jmooneyham.com/your-true-cha ... rence.html
Honestly, I haven't read through it closely enough to come to any conclusion... although, at first blush, it does seem that he's playing fast and loose with the numbers... but it appears, statistically, that your best bet for being wealthy is to be born into a rich family or to be a crime lord. Or, ideally, have your parents do the dirty crime lord work and then inherit it from them.
That site makes my eyes bleed. Leaving aside the poor sourcing and such entirely, any site that is basically one giant wall of text(plus, of course, ads), with repeated use of terribly contrasting red font, randomly changing background areas, and pretty random font size changes...can mostly be ignored safely.
Seriously though, let's look at the ten richest people in america:
#1. Bill Gates. His parents had some money, sure. He made a giant pile more. Kid crushed it in early life, and had solid academic achievement, hit up college, etc. So, you could look at him as "he didn't start out dirt poor", but you could also look at the academic success as a predictor for future achievement. Certainly, his money was primarily earned, not inherited.
#2. Warren Buffet. Dad had a bit of money. Not a ton. However, note that dad started his life in public schools with a lack of anything describable as wealth. So, over two generations, we have a pretty solid rags to riches story. Again, we have early, early indicators of drive and achievement, with education being a focus.
#3. Larry Ellison. Born to a single mom. Given up for adoption. Adoptive parents lost all wealth in great depression, so...no wealth there either. Went to multiple colleges briefly, demonstrating some motivation to be successful, and went on to crush it in business. Very straightforward rags to riches story.
#4. Charles Koch. Parents had a bit of money. Owned a newspaper. We're not talking super-wealthy here, but not dirt poverty either. Dad was an immigrant, though, so we once again have complete rags to riches over two generations. Koch, again, hit up school nice and hard. Double masters. Went on to crush it in business.
#5. David Koch. Same parents as above. Same basic tale, including academic excellence.
#6. Kristy Walton. The first on our list who mostly got their money from their parents. However, Sam Walton, the dad, did go from farm to riches, so, we still have rags to riches in two generations. Interesting. Note that Kristy doesn't seem to have any particular academic accomplishments, and her dad occupied the #1 spot, so she's sinking off the list, relatively speaking.
#7. George Soros. Fled war. Poor student. Worked all manner of crap jobs and relied on charity, but got a degree anyway. So, straight rags to riches.
#8. Sheldon Adelson. Dad was a cabbie. Rags to riches, did some college, yadda, yadda. Holy god, do we have a pattern.
#9. Jim Walton. See the entry for Kristy. However, did go to college.
#10. Alice Walton. See the entry for Kristy. However, did go to college.
So, we've basically got 9 for 10 on attending college, most of which got degrees. Many, multiple degrees or other notable achievements. We actually have a pretty high rags to riches quota too...The big exception is the Walton family, and their dad, who got all the money, did take the traditional rags to riches path. So, we've got 3/10 who are where they are primarily due to daddy's money. The other 7/10 are where they are primarily due to their own actions.
Conclusion: Even at the very highest levels of wealth, education is damned important, and birth is a lot less so.