Families with money are getting progressively richer – simply for being rich in the first place.
It’s the American dream.
A third of Americans think they’ll be rich someday.
More than half of 18–29 year olds think they will be.
Less than 5% actually make it.*
And many of those do it the old-fashioned way: they inherit it.
About 60% of U.S. household wealth is inherited.
Between a quarter and a third of Forbes 400 billionaires got rich that way.
It may not be the most common way to get there – but it’s widespread and it’s surely the easiest way.
That aspiration to wealth is deeply understandable.
Getting high income from a good job is all well and good but because wealth begets more wealth — people are compensated simply for owning things — wealth is potentially forever.
It persists and spreads through families and dynasties.
Wealth can and often does – endure for generations.
So it’s worth asking: how do Americans accumulate wealth?
And how does that vary across income and wealth classes?
How do the bottom 50% accumulate wealth – for instance – compared to the top 1%?