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Comment Re: Poor people are poor because they're lazy (Score 1) 459

3 Larry Ellison, born to an unwed mother, adopted by family members

Adopted by family members yes. Wealthy ones.

10 Michael Bloomberg, gather was a real estate agent, grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants (not a group known for being wealthy)

His parents were middle class at least during his formative years, certainly not poor. It's a little unclear what his father did, some sources say bookkeeper and some say real estate. Varied business interests? In any case

11 Jeff Bezos, while his mother came from a ranching family, his adoptive father was a Cuban immigrant

So, his mother's family were rich and she married someone who might not have been rich. I'm not sure how that makes him not from a wealthy background.

12 Sheldon Adelson, father drove a taxi cab

Mother ran a knitting shop. Not that it made them rich, just wondering why you only count the fathers.

13 Sergey Brin, born in the USSR, came to USA with parents at age 6

Father a math professor and mother a researcher for NASA. Once again, not rich, but definitely middle class.

15 George Soros, while his parents were not poor, they were Jews in Hungary when the Nazis invaded

Mother from a reasonably well to do family and lawyer father. Not necessarily rich, but far from poor. So middle class background and family connections.

How many more do I have to list before they are no longer the outliers?

Well, it's a list of 400 (and the whole list are outliers just from being the richest of the rich in the first place), so I would say you have to list quite a few more.

In any case, I don't have a lot invested in this argument. Arguing about the mega-rich doesn't really say anything about the poverty trap, even if every person on the list actually came from abject poverty. For some reason, some people always want to focus on the mega-rich. It reminds me of arguments about, for example, mixed-gender youth sports teams, where there's a certain type of personality which will always focus on professional sports teams. It doesn't make any sense, as they are statistical anomalies anyway.

The thing that gets me is that you're still apparently convinced that Sam Walton's heirs and their heirs are somehow proof that people on the Forbes 400 list aren't descendants of wealthy people. I have to admit that you have solidly disproved the absolute statement made that "all of them come from at least upper middle class".

Comment Re:90% of millionaires (Score 1) 459

90% of millionaires earned less than $100K from their jobs. They got a million dollars by saving slowly over time and letting investment do it's thing (growth).

The ceiling on what someone earning federal minimum wage can earn in a year is about $87,500. That would be working 24 hours a day every day without any sleep and it accounts for overtime. Clearly no human could actually manage that, and no single minimum wage job would give anyone that many hours. Instead what happens is that minimum wage earners work multiple part-time jobs, which means they can theoretically work 80 or more hours a week without earning any overtime, which would be more like $30,000 a year (plus bonus medical expenses from high blood pressure, etc.) They're simply well below the level where they can get anywhere from wise investing. I think we both agree that the best investment for anyone earning that is in getting better employment.

As for those millionaires, I think you're not recognizing here that a millionaire isn't exactly a big deal any more. A millionaire is what any upper middle class person should be on retirement unless something went wrong.

Comment Re: Poor people are poor because they're lazy (Score 1) 459

It's not that clear that Sam Walton's family was all that poor. Aside from being a farmer, his father ran some sort of mortgage business. How much of a success he was is unclear. His heirs, however, are also the heirs of his wife, who was from a quite well off family. Not as massively wealthy as the Waltons would become, but well off enough to provide most of the money for Walton to buy his first stores. Walton's heirs also have heirs of their own, so we're talking about at least 4 generations. How many do you require for "long established wealth"? I get the feeling that your definition involves ancestors lugging sacks of gold off the Mayflower, or possibily a lineage that goes back to Charlemagne or something like that. I certainly don't claim that myself. It is generally true that most wealthy people come from wealth in one way or another. It's certainly not universally true, but it's true enough. The Walton family are not an example of currently rich people who come from poor backgrounds. I see it as being as simple as that.

Whatever background Walton came from, he had a family safety net and connections. He wasn't in the situation this article is talking about where stress or desperation trap people in poverty. Quite aside from that, he's also an outlier. Even if he had made a fortune out of absolute poverty, outliers don't invalidate this theory. Just because the poverty trap isn't perfect doesn't mean it isn't real.

Comment Re:has never lost = not gambling (Score 1) 459

I guess you missed the part "over any 20 year period"

Didn't miss it. I don't necessarily agree with the future predictive power of those stats. Maybe I read too much Jane Austen when I was younger. All those people talking about their set yearly investment incomes. Apparently a lot of that was based on Navy bonds. Made me wonder what happened to all those people after the bottom dropped out of Navy bonds... Actually, not really, they were all connected upper class and got a bailout.

The same can be said of any 10 year period, except the period 2000 - 2010 and if you pick specific dates at the great depression.

So, except for half of the last 20 years. I certainly admit that just about everything is a gamble, so why not gamble on the stock market. It very well may work. Ultimately, nothing beats having real earning potential. The simple fact of the matter is that the minimum wage earner who squirrels away a little bit of money into an investment account every day would be much better served by searching for a job that pays twice as much. It's frankly a lot more realistic than gradually earning interest on a pittance invested in the stock market.

Comment Re: Poor people are poor because they're lazy (Score 1) 459

I'm not quite sure why you're giving him Sam Walton who isn't on that list since he's dead. The fact that the GP thinks pointing to Sam Walton's extremely wealthy heirs as an example proving that the people on the list aren't a bunch of wealthy heirs seems to point to a pretty bizarre case of cognitive dissonance.

Comment Re:FTFY (Score 1) 459

.Donald Trump was born rich too, but others like Warran Buffet, Bill Gates, and Jobs earned their money.

They certainly earned lots of money above what they started with, but the first brokerage Warren Buffett worked in was Buffett-Falk and Company, with the Buffett in the name being his US Representative father, and Bill Gates was a millionaire from birth. One out of three isn't bad I suppose.

Comment Re:5 years and compound interest = college (Score 1) 459

Why do people keep on talking about 3% compound interest as if it's gaining you money. Inflation is typically close to 3% over the long term. You have to subtract the rate of inflation from the interest percentage you're getting to get a real idea of how much you'll be getting from compound interest. You might actually end up losing money.

Comment Re:5 years and compound interest = college (Score 3, Insightful) 459

My baby will be born soon. If I drop the soda money into a Roth for five years, that's one year of tuition. I then stop saving. In seven years, the investment doubles. In another seven, it doubles again

So you'll be getting greater than 10% interest consistently over the course of decades. If you want to be realistic about inflation, you'd actually have to be doing better than about 13% interest. Then there's the fact that college costs are rising faster than inflation... Just doesn't sound realistic.

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