The Recipe for Becoming Ultra-Rich

November 1, 2017
Greg Kelly

A record number of American households achieved millionaire status last year. Here are some tips for joining the club.

The number of millionaires (those with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million) increased by nearly 240,000 households to a record 9.38 million in 2016. How did they get there? Veterinarians seeking to improve their own personal finance skills might like to know.

Over years of doing financial research, the Illinois-based Spectrem Group has found that the foundation qualities of the rich are “education, frugality, determination, and saving and investing.”

Many wealthy people think much of their success comes from being in the right place at the right time. They also have optimistic attitudes, are concerned about having enough money to last them through a lifetime, and believe that the age for receiving full Social Security benefits should be raised.

Additional study has uncovered the characteristics of the “ultra-high net worth” person (whose net worth exceeds $5 million).


Even though they’ve got the big bucks, these highly successful people know that money won’t buy happiness. They prefer to live a comfortable yet nonflashy lifestyle. It’s understood: take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

“Modesty is the color of virtue.”



A strong sense of “I can do anything” prevails among these people. Goals are set and achieved. Poise and determination come naturally. Confidence is a standard characteristic of health professionals and vital to their success.

“Self-confidence is the memory of success.”

―David Storey


Real get-up-and-go is in abundance for the ultra-rich — they possess lots of vigor and energy. They don’t wait for things to happen; they make them happen. This is a common trait among health care professionals like veterinarians.

”Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

—Thomas Edison


Most “wealthy” Americans work for themselves. They believe that they must control their own destiny. Interestingly, while many veterinarians today are self-employed, more and more are seeking to become employees.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.”

—Steve Jobs


Wealth is won by constantly thinking and doing the job. From veterinary school to training to practice, it’s the rare doctor who can’t sustain a long week. Time and time again, doctors say that hard work is the key to success.

“It's hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

―Babe Ruth


A sure sign of wisdom is knowing what you don’t know. Even confident people recognize they’re not the smartest person in all matters. Instead, they surround themselves with other smart people who master the fundamentals and pay attention to details.

“Consider the source…. Don't be a fool by listening to a fool.”

―Sylvester Stallone

Sensibly Adventurous

People with extreme wealth are natural risk takers at heart, and they know how to cover their bets. Investments are looked at from a long-term perspective. Balance and caution are the guide.

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” 

—George Patton

Greg Kelly is a long-time health care writer and editor. He has written for the Physician’s Money DigestTM, Dentist’s Money DigestTM and Veterinarian’s Money DigestTM websites. He lives at the Jersey Shore and welcomes comments at