Save. Spend. Splurge.

Where do millionaires hold most of their wealth?


Where do millionaires hold their wealth?

It’s an interesting question, and Dr. Stanley has the stats:



Much like my millionaire uncle, they own plenty of property that they rent out to others.

Whether it is commercial or residential, they put their money to work for them, and once the mortgages are paid off on these homes or on these commercial properties, it’s almost 100% profit rolling into their pockets by way of rent.

Don’t really want to own either?

You can also look into investing in REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trusts.


People who are wealthy, don’t hold most of their wealth in their personal residences (a.k.a. homes), unlike the rest of us.

Just take a look at your net worth — is it mostly your home?

In the case of my parents, it is — it’s pretty much 95% their home that accounts for their wealth and net worth.

Talk about putting all your eggs into one basket! If the real estate market tanks, you’re hooped.

This is why I’m pushing them to save as well, but it’s like talking to a brick wall….



That doesn’t necessarily mean buying individual stocks, but they do have their money on the stock market, perhaps in index funds.

Want to learn more about investing? Read a few posts in my Investing Series that I created for beginners.

As mentioned above, they could also be investing in REITs or Real Estate Investment Trusts so that they don’t necessarily own the property but they have a share in real estate.


Millionaires have plenty of wealth OUTSIDE of their retirement funds which are funded by companies, governments, or even by yourself.


It’s probably because it’s 100% maxed out for the maximum tax advantages possible, but they also really know how to save above and beyond what is “guaranteed” to them in such plans.

Relying solely on your retirement funds and not saving above and beyond is not something millionaires do.


Whether they are buying farms for investing such as exotic and delicious coconut farms a la Pauline, or plain good ol’ farmland that you rent out to farmers like Liquid Independence, millionaires invest in it. 

As Liquid always says, “they aren’t making any more land”!




  • Matt Becker

    I have no wealth in a home, so I guess I’m even more like a millionaire than the millionaires themselves! Haha. Seriously though, I’m not sure I would even count my home as part of my wealth. It’s a place to live, not an investment. It’s certainly possible to sell and downgrade, but that’s not something I would count on wanting or being able to do 20-40 years down the road.

    I have all of my investments in index funds which are primarily in retirement accounts. I’d like to start beefing up my non-retirement accounts too. Real estate is another investment that I’m not currently using but is certainly intriguing. The idea of monthly rent checks is certainly appealing.

  • Pauline

    Thank you for the mention! I tick most of the boxes, keep a low amount of cash and invest in real estate (and farms!) but don’t do so well to lower taxes, it is already complicated enough to file in four countries. And I have pulled away from the stock market lately, as I trust tangible assets more than stocks and bonds.

  • Tania

    This was interesting, thanks for sharing it. I’m working on paying down all my debit right now and then need to decide what to do after that.

    I used to have a thing about scanning the filings pages of the Pacific Business News, which basically lists all bankruptcy filings, lawsuits, etc. It started when I was an auditor for work reasons and I still do it every now and then today because I found it interesting (I know totally geeky). One thing that struck me is how many bankruptcy filers actually had assets pretty close to their liabilties. If you looked at those numbers you would wonder why they had to file. As I got older I began to realize the assets were likely all in their home, car, jewelry and other non-liquid assets. Very telling.

    I used to own a condo but my ex-hubby and I sold it. Although we made a nice profit I’m hesitant to ever have a mortgage again. I found it to be pretty limiting but I was thinking from a home mortgage perspective. If you can afford it as an investment to rent out, that’s different. You are still free to move, etc. My dad told me I don’t need to buy as their house is big enough and I’m a small space lover so I could maybe just sell it later and buy one small space for myself and another to rent out or live there and rent out part of it (I live in a in law suite next to them right now).

  • Holly@ClubThrifty

    I think that real estate is an excellent investment! We have two rentals but want to buy more when we have more time to deal with them. I hope that day comes.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Holly@ClubThrifty: I think real estate is a better deal in the U.S. than in Canada. In Canada, the prices of homes in cities most people live in (Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal) are sky-high, and it costs more (I think) to maintain them due to the extreme weather we get — super cold, then goes super hot, then snow, hail, etc.

      Basic homes in reasonably-distanced parts of Toronto start at half a million, and it only goes up as you get to the middle of the city… unless you buy in the middle of nowhere where most people DON’T want to rent or live (or you have to charge very low rent), it’s not a good deal nor affordable.

  • Liquid

    Thanks for the shout out. You took the words from right under my fingertips 😀 It’s true, when I get the property assessment for my home each year usually it’s the land portion goes up in value even as the building values falls, because space within the city is finite so population growth catalyzed by urbanization can only bring fortune for those who own real estate over the long run. It’s why I always tell people to buy homes instead of renting if they don’t have plans to move in the short term. I think it was through one of Dr. Stanley’s other studies that showed 95% of millionaires are homeowners 🙂 Think like a millionaire, and become a millionaire (^_^) pretty straight forward.

    My next big investment idea is to buy a commercial property either in North Vancouver, New West, or Richmond. I’m thinking maybe a small warehouse or restaurant >1000 sq ft. I prefer owning and renting out commercial space rather than residential because it’s less hassle for the investor. The business owner is responsible for any plumbing/electrical/internal maintenance and not the landlord 😀 Plus it’s easier to find good tenants since business owners are generally better at managing money than most others, and have to be more committed with multi-year lease agreements. They also have more of their own skin in the game because they obviously don’t want to jeopardize losing their inventory inside. The only problem is commercial buildings are capital intensive in the beginning since lenders require a larger downpayment than homes, but I’m sure I’ll find a way somehow like maybe even partnering up with other investors who might be interested 😉

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Liquid: My issue with buying homes here is I can’t imagine paying half a million for what I think is a piece of crap. The homes here are made out of plywood or worse, chipboard, and you can hear EVERYTHING from EVERYONE inside the house… for me, it’s no better than a shack.

      I’d rather NOT put my money in a house, rent, and then invest it. When I go to retire, I’ll leave this country, and find a real house (small) in a warm country and buy that instead.

      I would however consider commercial investing. Residential homes are more of a headache for me to rent out than a commercial space.

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    Farms are an excellent investment. People eat and will always need to eat. I would like to invest in companies that grow food because I can’t afford to purchase vast tracks of farm land on my own.

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