Chart: What We Can Learn from Billionaires

Chart: What We Can Learn from Billionaires


billionaire degrees


To make it through college in one piece most students will likely need to bring in some money by working for it. But in terms of wages we face a classic catch-22 situation: Students often pay for college to qualify for a good job but without a good job they cannot pay for college. 

Perhaps this is why I find this data set so compelling. As it turns out, a study of the world’s top 100 billionaires by Trilby Rajna of the UK’s Approved Index revealed that the most popular degree among these rarities was: none at all. Ironically, this finding should be quite encouraging for those who want to go to college.

If fully 32% of billionaires didn’t need a degree to amass unfathomable wealth (I just can’t wrap my head around $100 million dollars, let alone that amount ten times over or more) then perhaps we can draw some inspiration from these folks as we seek “merely” enough funds to cover tuition.

While I’m no expert in billionaire-dom I do run in circles with multi-millionaires and have read quite a bit on the attributes and attitudes of the ultra wealthy. Some common traits:

  • It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who can do the math, but none of these folks work by the hour, let alone at minimum wage. In fact, rarely do they have a “job,” working for a boss in the traditional sense.
  • While not working by the hour, they understand the value of time all the same. They judiciously maintain a lot of control over their time and are highly self-controlled with their time.
  • They found something they can do passionately and whole-heartedly.
  • They are highly competitive but selectively so. It doesn’t bother them that others might be better than them at X, Y, or Z but they insist on being the best at what they have chosen to do.
  • They think big and see opportunities where the rest of us fail to do so.

I firmly believe students can adopt these same traits as their standard and make a much better go at the college experience. We need not despair if traditional youth employment wages can’t keep up with tuition increases. Other opportunities abound for those who can see them, pursue them, and do so with the discipline of a competitor. Maybe it’s time to take a cue and explore self-employment/business ownership and scaled down dorm-room enterprises. We may not join the ranks of the billionaire set if we do so, but a debt free education would feel pretty nice, no?