Fourteen Percent of America’s Millionaires are Teachers

Last week, I wrote Why International Teaching Isn’t a Lucrative Gig

I argued that the average stateside or Canadian school teacher has, upon retirement, far more wealth than the average international teacher. 

Barron’s Business News might agree.  Here’s what Robin Goldwyn published for Barron’s on Saturday, May 12, 2012.

Attention, graduating seniors: One of the best routes to becoming a millionaire just might involve turning around and going back to school—this time as an educator.

That’s because teachers and other educators account for 14% of the nation’s 8.6 million millionaires.

They trail only managers, who represent 21%, but exceed doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, at a combined 11%, according to a first-quarter report by consultant and market researcher Spectrem Group of Chicago. Spectrem defines a millionaire as someone with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million, not counting a primary residence.

In addition to pensions, educators, including college professors, earn “a fair amount,” when you factor in publishing, consulting, and summer jobs, says George Walper, Spectrem president and CEO.

“If they’re smart at investing, they can do pretty well,” he adds.

Educators, like most millionaires, are likely to be part of a two-income household, which could explain their wealth. Indeed, 23% of women in ultra-high-net-worth households say there is at least one teacher at home. Another factor: Some 46% of the educators attribute their wealth to inheritance.  That could leave them free to pursue a career regardless of the pay.


Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School and Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas. My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions.

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. Personally, I don't think we can credit income levels or "extra jobs" for teachers' relatively high wealth levels. Generally, it's the pensions, and the fact that teachers tend to be a very productive income group with their money.

    When Thomas Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door studied vocational/professional groups of people who had been "gifted" money by their parents, he found that only one vocational/professional group was able to (as an aggregate) increase their wealth, thanks to that financial gift: teachers. Every other professional group who received cash gifts (as financial "help) not only squandered the money, but they ended up less productive than their counterparts who hadn't received financial aid.

    According to Stanley, which is the least productive income group when they're gifted money? It might surprise you—accountants.

  2. Deacon says:

    I was shocked the other day when I found out that an Economics professor at ASU made close to $300k per year. That is unbelievable. The fact that 14% of millionaires are educators is astonishing. Not too shabby.

  3. Barry says:

    International comparisons throw light on what an academic is worth

    Newspaper Link below

    Australian Teachers earn approximately $50-70k per annum with principals earning around $100k. Professors at university may earn up to $150k if lucky

    We have white collar workers, blue collar workers and now, the fluoro collar workers

    Though it's not what you earn, but what you do with what you earn

  4. Daniel says:

    Shhh! You may want to keep those facts out of the public awareness. There are a lot of people in Canada and other western countries who feel the public sector is overpayed compared to the private sector. . especially as we face austerity measures. Teachers are paid mostly out of peoples income taxes .and if they are doing better than doctors and lawyers. .some people may start grumbling. Seems these days more and more people in the privates sector in Canada have to provide fully for their own retirement. .there is no defined contribution plan for their pensions.

    Of course it is better to raise the bar for everyone than lower the bar for everyone. . . but I see lot's of people who are anti-union and welcome cuts to the public sector when their government is facing huge deficits.

  5. Mark Eichenlaub says:

    This shocked me and I partially read it as many of those in the millionaire club being women who were married to a spouse who did the heavy earning but I could be wrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.