Bad Grades a Barrier to Wealth? Think Again.

If you’ve read the book The Millionaire Next Door, you probably know who the late Thomas J. Stanley is. Stanley is a former marketing professor at the University of Georgia who has made a career out of studying America’s wealthy. Unlike a lot of the guru’s out there, Stanley bases his observations on solid survey data, so I trust what he has to say. Specifically, in his book, The Millionaire Mind, Stanly makes some interesting observations about wealth and academic achievement.

Whats interesting about wealth and academic achievement is that there doesn’t in fact, seem to be a relationship at all. Stanley contrasts getting good grades with achieving high wealth. For example he notes that the millionaires in his data had an average college G.P.A of 2.9 and his statistical analysis showed there was NO relationship between net worth and SAT scores. In short, getting good grades doesn’t seem to impact how rich you are.

Instead, Stanley’s analysis showed that other factors were more important for gaining wealth.

1) Having a supportive spouse
2) Maintaining economically efficient households
3) Having a job that suites one’s interests and personality
4) Integrity

Notably, being a business owner or corporate CEO was related to having greater wealth, as was investing in publicly traded stocks.

So, the main point here is that you don’t have to be an academic genius to become a millionaire. Stanley’s study shows that many millionaires actually did very poorly in school. Whats more important are the factors shown above, like integrity and having job that suits you.

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