The Wealthy 5% That Run America – Who Are They?

5% of the population in America make most of the money, own most of the wealth, pay most of the income tax and dictate the lives of the remaining 95%. Here are some stats that will open your eyes:

  • The top 5% of households make $231,206 a year (source: Tax Foundation).
  • The top 5% of households control 60% of the nation’s wealth (source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finance).
  • The top 5% of households pay 57% of all income tax (source: Tax Foundation).

This top 5% run big companies, run small companies, employ millions, create new jobs, hire and fire employees, invest in new companies, liquidate old companies, increase wages, decrease wages, increase benefits, reduce benefits and outsource jobs. This 5% can completely alter our lives, for better or for worse. But who are these 5%? Who are these individuals that leverage so much control over our lives and our country’s economy? In my five year study on the daily habits of the rich and poor, I asked just that question. Here’s what I found:

  • 18% are senior executives in big companies
  • 51% are small business owners
  • 13% are salesmen/saleswomen
  • 28% have a professional designation
  • 63% took a risk in search of wealth
  • 85% like what they do for a living
  • 91% are decision makers at their job
  • 25% travel as part of their job
  • 21% are “A” students
  • 41% are “B” students
  • 29% are “C” students
  • 68% have a college degree
  • 25% have a post graduate degree
  • 47% went to a private college
  • 56% worked their way through college
  • 86% work more than 50 hours per week
  • 27% failed at least once in life in business
  • 47% went to private grammar school
  • 54% are optimists
  • 67% are frugal
  • 33% grew up poor or middle-class
  • 94% balance their checkbook every month
  • 72% know their credit score
  • 80% pursued a major goal or dream in life
  • 62% focus on goals every day
  • 75% have good daily habits
  • 52% have a second home
  • 100% have a CPA or financial advisor
  • 72% have enough life insurance to replace their income
  • 57% count calories every day
  • 70% eat less than 300 junk food calories a day
  • 76% exercise aerobically 30 minutes or more each day
  • 63% watch less than one hour of T.V. a day
  • 64% live in a modest home
  • 84% say they created their own good luck
  • 93% who had a mentor, attribute their wealth to their mentors
  • 63% played competitive sports in high school
  • 86% associate with other rich, successful people
  • 88% know more than 200 people
  • 88% are savers
  • 94% engage in daily self-improvement
  • 75% are creative
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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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