The Middle-Class Millionaire: Questions for the Author?

As a followup to my previous post about middle-class millionaires, I was wondering if you guys have any questions that you’d like to ask of Lewis Schiff, who is one of the authors of “The Middle-Class Millionaire“? Lewis stopped by the original article and he has since offered to do a Q&A if any of you are interested.

Here’s how it will work… Please post your question(s) as a comment below. I will then aggregate the responses and forward them to Lewis. Once I receive his answers, I’ll put together an interview-style post. Depending on the response rate, I’ll leave this call for questions open for a couple of days.

I’ll go first…

What proportion of middle-class millionaires inherited their wealth (or at least a large chunk of it) as opposed to truly making it on their own?

20 Responses to “The Middle-Class Millionaire: Questions for the Author?”

  1. Okay folks, thanks for the questions. I’m closing this thread. Please keep an eye out for the answers, which I’ll post shortly after Lewis gets back to me.

  2. Anonymous

    based on some of these comments, it appears that there is a general disbelief in the middle-class millionaire (was it inherited? was it by way of some stock option lottery? how can you work that much?). now, i think these questions are certainly worth answering, but i would guess that the vast majorities of these millionaires made their way there the way that most of us are trying to — hard work, a reasonable quality of life, and socking it away.

  3. Anonymous

    Reading it for second time… there are several very foggy statements… so here are some extra questions

    First, continuation of the 70 hours per week…, next paragraph “always available for work” is that for the 70 hours , or for some extra on top of that 70. Let say 80-90-100?

    Second, define “hard work”… I work 12 Hours shifts, barely make the ends meet. How hard is hard, define “hard”. White collar, blue collar, no collar (t-shirt)…? What field of economy, production, services are they?

    Third, “doing whatever you need to do to win.” define “whatever” that reminds me of an Austrian born dictator who did whatever he needed to do too (didn’t win)… 20+ millions died in 5 years. In legal terms, did they cross or not the law?

    Forth, “trust the government”, define “trust”, trust of doing what? Giving me mid summer bonus? Auditing me? Checking my bank transfers? Wire tapping me? Keep their promises? Why would someone trust them at all? Or anyone else in that matter. Trust the government of doing what?

    Thank you.

  4. Anonymous

    I’m sorry about the stupid question yet I didn’t get it…

    70 hours per week is that correct? I repeat per week?

    A week has 168 hours, if we assume that that person takes one day off, not two. It still makes 11.6666… hours a day for six days straight, or 5 days 12 hours, one day 10 hours and one day off. And they enthusiastically ask for more???

    I work 12 hour shifts myself and every minutes is counting minus two meals a day, 25-30min each. I can reassure you that there is no job that you can work 6 days 12 hours straight no brakes, and love it. After certain time you will get sick of it. There must be some moderation.

    I’d buy it if these guys are lawyers. They can make 170 hours a week if you asking me and will make it absolutely legally. Sue them if you wish… 😉

  5. Anonymous

    Just because anyone can attain wealth through hard work alone, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t make an effort to help their kids along. Great education + hard work = more wealth ( often ). If it doesn’t cost them a fortune to live near great schools, then why not?

  6. Anonymous

    If MCM think that ” 89% believe that anyone can attain wealth through hard work”, why do they 75% of them choose a location to live based on the school system? Shouldn’t hard work be enough?

  7. Anonymous

    What percentage of MCMs own rental/investment property? How many properties do they own, how long have they owned them, and did the ownership of those properties play a large part in their MCM status?

  8. Anonymous

    The question is how many are millionaires on the basis of Investment Net Worth (= Ordinary, garden-variety Net Worth – own home – depreciating ‘assets’ e.g. non-collectible cars, furniture, etc.) THAT’s the number that drives ‘passive income’ … and, it’s the amount of Passive Income that you have that determines how ‘wealthy’ you are. So, that’s the number I would like to know? Thanks.

  9. Anonymous

    Is it possible to become a MCM as an employee in a job with ordinary (five-figure, not six-figure) pay? And can such a person count investments in 403b or 401k mutual funds and stocks, which as we see at the moment can evaporate into the air, as “wealth”?

  10. Anonymous

    You mentioned that the average MCM works about 70 hours a week. In addition to the benefits derived from this, do they suffer adverse consequences such as higher rates of divorce than the rest of the population?

    Also, would you say that the MCMs have more in common with the traditional middle class or the traditional wealthy class?

  11. Troy: Not to derail the conversation here, but if you’re including the full value of your car, house, etc., but not reducing your net worth by the amount that you owe on them, then you’re doing it wrong. You should be adding in home value minus outstanding mortgage balance, etc.

  12. Anonymous

    How many of these “middle-class millionaires” are millionaires solely on paper? How many of them have been granted stock options, and are financing their lifestyle using those options as collateral? To me, that’s not wealth – it’s the illusion of wealth. Many people who invested in Worldcom, Enron, et. al. probably felt wealthy… and look how that turned out.

    Net worth and wealth aren’t the same thing. My net worth includes my home, my cars, etc. – all the stuff I posess. Now, since I still owe someone for some of that stuff (home, a car), I don’t really feel wealthy.

    I have one more question. Do you think that the Silicon Valley area (and tech stocks, in general) skew the numbers above ‘reality’ for most of us?

  13. Anonymous

    What % of the MCM’s have children? Of those how many of them employ at least part time in home care for their children?

    What % of MCM’s are 2 income households?

  14. Anonymous

    I have some questions:

    1) I agree with the other thread: how many of these people are millionaires based on actual money assets (stocks, bonds, cash) versus having a bloated house equity and other assets inflating their net worth?

    2) What is the breakdown in terms of industry/career paths that are seen? Are most of these doctors?

    3) How many of them just hit the IPO lottery versus were able to do it through regular savings from normal wage labor (even if high salary labor)?

    4) How many of them are workaholics.

  15. Anonymous

    This may be hard to answer w/o the right data, but this invitation makes me very curious…

    Of all the middle-class millionaires out there, what % do they make up of all the people with the same qualities. In other words, of all the people that have the same characteristics of MCMs, what % have actually achieved the status?

    Thanks for the opportunity!