Are You Cut Out to be a Millionaire?

September 21, 2017

Please tell me I’m not the only one that remembers the year 1999.

You know, when the show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” was all the rage.

Apparently that show is still out in the cable network somewhere. Who knew, right?

The reason that show was so enthralling is because everyone wants to be a millionaire.

Admit it. Your life would be so much easier if you had a nice little nest egg of $1 million tucked under your wing.

You wouldn’t have to worry ‘bout a thing.

We’ve all thought about how nice it would be to have $1 million land in our lap like it’s no big deal.

And just a little while ago, having a million dollars was a really big deal. But now, there’s a millionaire in just about every neighborhood.

If you’ve ever read the book The Millionaire Next Door you know that most of the successful self made millionaires are not the ones that party with Jay-Z, own yachts, or spend their summers on the French Riviera.

They are the simple farmers who accumulate thousands of acres over a lifetime. The small business owners who produce a desired product or service. The high paid professionals who understand that saving is more important that spending. The professors who wear the same 4 Hawaiian shirts and penny loafers to class every week and drive a mediocre old car.

Your everyday millionaire is hiding in plain sight, and that’s just the way they like it.

But of course, this fact has become such a popular topic in the personal finance community, that it seems tedious to rehash it again.

Fear not, for I will no longer try to surprise you by describing the normal lives of millionaires. The shock and awe factor is long behind us.

Instead, I think I have something you’ll find a bit more interesting.

What does the retirement of a millionaire look like?

Have you ever wondered what financially independent millionaires do with their time?

I sure have.

I always picture them relaxing, traveling, and eating only the best food life has to offer.

However, I learned that millionaires often prefer to work in their retirement.

After taking a few years off, early retirees, self made millionaires, and the financially independent choose to go back to work.

Granted, it is not always in the same capacity. It can either be an offshoot of their previous occupation, or even a complete career change.

But what’s important to understand is that they often work. Not because they have to, but because they want to.

According to an article written on, Merrill Lynch and Age Wave conducted a survey which revealed that “Millionaires are twice as likely to keep working in retirement than the broader population…Because they enjoy it. Nearly all of the affluent retirees surveyed said they keep working because ‘they want to’” (1).

Are you fascinated? Me too. Let’s dive in deeper.

So what do most millionaires do in their working retirement?

Well, they of course have many options available to them.

However, “Half of wealthy retirees have transitioned to new lines of work that give them more ‘flexibility,’ ‘fun’ and ‘fulfillment.’ A former real estate developer, for instance, may turn to buying and restoring old homes for profit. A CEO may turn to career training or mentoring. And an entrepreneur may become an angel investor.”

This seems to make sense. Retired and working millionaires take the parts of their previous jobs that they enjoyed the most, and focus solely on that.

The survey reveals exactly what we’ve written about before; smart people get bored in retirement.

“Today’s boomer retirees are climbers and strivers, and sitting on a beach or playing shuffleboard can only satisfy their soul for so long…Wealthy retirees cite ‘staying mentally active’ as the top specific reason they continue to work… their work in retirement keeps them more youthful, fit and mentally sharp.”

Why does this matter?

The reason people are so interested in the lives of millionaires, is because they inherently want to know if they’re cut from the same cloth.

They are wondering, “Do I have what it takes to be in the same financial situation as them? Am I cut out to be a millionaire?”

If you’re like me, then you pictured retirement, especially with $1 million or more, as a permanent weekend or vacation.

But if we are to be the financially independent millionaires we’re aspiring to be, it’s probably necessary to to find an outlet for our intellect, creativity, and ambition.

All the smart individuals who are pursuing early retirement should think long and hard about what they want to do next. “Enjoying free time” probably isn’t enough.

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29 Comments on "Are You Cut Out to be a Millionaire?"

Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income
Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income
You are right, most people think of millionaires living lavish lifestyles and they really aren’t except for a few (and they usually end up in bankruptcy). My dad retired 8 years ago in his 50’s and he still does things here or there. He helps out my sister and her store and loves to go fishing. He took on a part-time job since my mom is still finishing out her last year of work, but didn’t like the daily schedule. He loves the freedom. He works, but when he wants to work. Retirement is about freedom and not money. You… Read more »
Dee @ Color Me Frugal
Dee @ Color Me Frugal

Similarly to other people, when we reach financial independence and retire I think we will continue working, but it will be working on what we want. For my hubby that would probably mean keeping his day job since he loves it; for me it would probably mean devoting even more time to our real estate and business pursuits. And perhaps starting some new business pursuits!

Brad @ How To Save Money
Brad @ How To Save Money

My last girlfriend had over a million dollars. It wasn’t enough to live on just the interest. The principal just kept going down. To have a secure nest egg think, these days, you need more like $10 million. I’m working on that right now.

Debt and the Girl
Debt and the Girl

I think people have this idea of millionaires sitting on a cushion and doing nothing but sipping pina coladas all day. The truth is often different. I have known a few wealthy people and they don’t stop even in retirement. I don’t think I could just sit around all day even if I had the cash. I guess I am just too restless.