We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Millionaire?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A millionaire is a person who has wealth equal to one million times the basic unit of currency. Historically, a millionaire is typically believed capable of permanently living in a state of luxury, though modern-day cost of living increases have diminished the buying capabilities of a millionaire considerably. A person may become a millionaire through inheritance, careful savings, a windfall, or a combination of assets and income.

Until the 18th century, the status of millionaire was typically reserved for nobility and royalty. In much of the world, society prevented social mobility between classes, meaning that a person born a peasant would very likely marry a peasant and remain a peasant until death. Likewise, rich families arranged marriages to help store up wealth and power, meaning that the majority of wealth stayed tightly contained in the upper classes. With the colonization of America and the waning of aristocracy throughout much of the world, merchant classes began to experience dramatic increases in wealth. The fortunes of merchants and business owners soon began to outdistance the capabilities of inherited wealth, leading to a growing class of working millionaires.

Some of the most famous millionaires in history are known for their remarkable wealth and business acumen. The great steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie, enjoyed fabulous wealth, but also popularized the idea of philanthropy. Madam CJ Walker, the daughter of freed slaves, started a cosmetics business and became the one of the first female African-American millionaires. Mark Zuckerburg dropped out of college to pursue his dream of building a social networking website, and became one of the wealthiest men on the planet in the early 21st century.

Inflation throughout the 20th and 21st centuries has lead to a wide increase in the number of millionaires worldwide. According to some reports in 2009, the global population of millionaires hovers around 10 million people. Many of these individuals possess far more than the one million units required to be called a millionaire; similar reports list about 93,000 individuals worldwide that possess more than 30 times this amount.

Becoming a millionaire can be a matter of hard work, luck, or even being born into a wealthy family. People may become millionaires through game shows, lotteries, or even raffles. Children of wealthy families may become millionaires through inheritance, sometimes before even entering adulthood. Many others become millionaires through hard work at a good-paying job, careful management of expenses, and wise investment decisions. Cultivating these habits can not only help a person become a millionaire, but can also ensure that he or she does not squander the money once it is earned.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.