Who doesn’t want to live the good life, with financial security, a gorgeous house, cool car and fabulous vacations? You may see celebrities and successful business people on television and envision yourself with that lifestyle.
But how can you get from where you are now to being rich? If it were that easy, then everyone would be wealthy. It turns out that there are certain things that can fairly accurately predict future wealth. See if you are destined for riches.
A study done by Georgetown University found that the biggest predictor of socioeconomic status in the future is being born into a wealthy family. The study looked at both ability, as measured in math scores, and each individual’s socioeconomic status by quartile. Since people who graduate with a college degree earn more than twice as much as those with only a high school diploma or GED, they use college success as a proxy for future earnings potential.
Differences in academic ability by socioeconomic class start as early as kindergarten, with 74% of kids in the top 25% of wealth achieving above median scores, compared to 26% of those in the lowest income bracket. Low achievers from wealthier families were able to make up the gap by eighth grade because their families could afford to tutor them, but this was not the case for poorer children.
School success did have an effect on whether students got a college degree, however the students’ family income had a much bigger effect than the individual student’s academic success.
For students in the highest income group, 75% with above average scores earned either an associate’s degree (5%) or bachelor’s degree. In the same high income group, 46% got a college degree with 11% getting an associate’s and 35% getting a bachelor’s.
This is compared to students in the lowest income group where only 40% of the above median score kids got a degree, 10% getting an associate’s and 30% a bachelor’s. Degree achievement among the low income, low academic success was only 16%, half with an associate’s and half with a bachelor’s.
If you don’t come from a wealthy family, your best bet is to self-tutor, pursue social supports that will help you to be successful in college and apply for high quality jobs and internships during high school and college.