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Public School, Private School, Home School

By Thomas J. Stanley on Jul 5th, 2011 in Studying the Wealthy

Many people want to know about the educational backgrounds of millionaires and their children. Most (85%) of the millionaire next door type households report that neither the husband nor the wife ever attended a private elementary or secondary school.  So does this mean that if we want our children to be rich we should send them to public schools?  Not necessarily.  Nearly one-half (48%) of the millionaire next door types whom I have interviewed indicate that at least one of their children is attending or has attended a private elementary and/or secondary school.  Statistically, the higher the household’s level of income as well as net worth the more likely it is to send its children to private school. 


The general concensus among millionaires is that “if I give my son, John, all the things that I didn’t have growing up including the private school experience, he’ll end up doing better than his parents who were trained in a public school environment.”  Often this forecast never materializes.  Consider the millionaire household that has at least one son in the 25-34 age bracket. One in 4 of these households reports that “John still lives at home.”


In a previous blog, I reported on a multimillionaire couple who deliberately chose to live in a community that had the top rated elementary, middle and high schools in the state.  And then their children went to two of the top rated public universities in America (Univ. of Florida and Univ. of Texas). 


As for home schooling, I find that this is most popular among middle income/middle net worth types.  Accordingly, in families where the children are home schooled, neither the mother or father is a college graduate in 50.1% of the cases.  No doubt most home school environments have the advantage of “small classes and a lot of individual attention.”  But a big part of the success of the millionaire next door types can be directly attributed to their socialization process in dealing with a wide variety of heterogeneous groups.

7 responses to “Public School, Private School, Home School”

  1. Rory Pope says:

    This is a great study. From my experience attending top rated public schools has had a better benefit for me than private schools. My children will most likely attend public school as well.

    My mom always told me that going to a top school makes the difference yet also what your doing extracurricular matters as well. My mother put me in a variety of camps geared towards education. These camps have a direct reflection of my current success in the business world.

    Thank you for the awesome post. Just finishing the Millionaire Mind, Looking to start Stop Acting Rich. Have definitely learned alot from your study material.

  2. Darryl Jackson says:

    When I lived in the suburbs of philadelphia, my neighbor was worth 10 million and had grown up in foster homes. He only attended public school system and he never went to college. He began working as a laborer who rehab homes. He developed his own rehab business and made a fortune. He bought real estate as investment properties. He lived in a $130,000 home and was happy with this. When he bought this home he paid $35,000. He know that opportunities were all around and you had to work hard. He also said he know good business opportunities when he saw them.

  3. Trista says:

    I LOVE your blog!

    “Home schooling is most popular among middle income/middle net worth types.” No doubt this is true; are there studies of how children who are homeschooled do financially/career-wise? Or is the group too small to have done a thorough analysis? Aren’t most millionaire-next-door types raised middle class? I am just curious how that plays out.

  4. Michael says:

    So 85% of millionaires did not go to a private school, but what percentage of the general public did not go to a private school? If the number is around 85% (or more than that), then the percentage is not very compelling.

    I would be more interested in a study that started with groups of public and private school attendees and then determined their relative earnings, net worth, number of millionaires, etc. This would give you a better insight into your “chances” of doing well or being a good saver based on your type of schooling.

  5. Maven says:

    I have a BA (public) and an MBA (private). My husband has a BS (public) and 2 MSs (public). We are “millionaires next door” and have accomplished this on a military career/retirement and a government salary. We play pretty good defense! Our four children have been/will be home schooled up to high school and then they will attend a private high school. One has graduated so far and she is attending an Ivy. (Her potluck roommate was also home schooled – I’m pretty sure that the roommate came from a MND family, too.) Only time will tell, but I think that our children will be frugal business owners someday. P.S. I really don’t buy the non-socialization conclusion regarding home schooling. That gets so old after a while. Most home schoolers think that their kids are exposed to MORE groups of people by being home schooled – not just their tightly knit age/peer group in a school environment. Really think about that – the kids get to range all over their world meeting and working with all kinds of people, not just their class “set” at school. BTW – we live in an urban area and I can think of at least two other families off of the top of my head that home school and who are also Millionaires Next Door. Both of these families own small businesses and the parent have MS degrees. Just my two cents. Dr. Stanley, I think that I bought the MND the first week that it was out back in 1996 or so, and your work had a small part in my husband’s master’s thesis. We have been your fans for years! I just can’t bear for you to have such a narrow view of home schooling. Perhaps an objective study could be done?

  6. Don says:

    This actually gives the edge to private education if you note that 15% of the millionaires went to private schools vs 9-12% of the population going to private schools.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-jennings/proportion-of-us-students_b_2950948.html

  7. Jill Boyer says:

    I’m a MND and I homeschool. Find it is the best way to show my children to become an entrepreneur. They work along side whatever we are doing. I can’t teach them to be a social worker (my degree from college) but I can teach them to fix up homes and develop property. I’m sending them to college but have told them that our family works for ourselves, not for others. Not training them to eat and move to bells on the hour. That’s for those that work for someone else.

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