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Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? 6 in 10 Americans Strive to Be Mega-wealthy, Report Finds

Michael Bloomberg, (right) founder of Bloomberg LP, and Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group, at the 10,000 Small Businesses (1OKSB) Partnership Event in London on Dec. 14, 2016.
Chris Ratcliffe Getty Images

Be like Mike … Bloomberg, that is. That’s what many Americans apparently aspire to today.

Some 44% of U.S. adults believe they have the available tools to become billionaires, largely fueled by speculative investments such as cryptocurrencies, according to the Harris Poll’s recent “Americans and Billionaires Survey.”

“It’s not just investing in an IRA [individual retirement account],” said Freddie Rappina, owner of Opta Financial in Tampa, Florida.

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“People want to achieve a higher wealth status, and the way to do that is to use investments to build assets and generate income,” Rappina added. “”Investments don’t make you rich; income makes you rich.”

Mixed feelings about extreme wealth

At the same time, most Americans have a love-hate relationship with extreme wealth.

“There is a mounting disconnect,” the Harris report found: Six in 10 adults want to become a billionaire one day. Meanwhile, 40% said they despise billionaires. Many also said that billionaires have the responsibility to better society but aren’t doing enough.

As the rich get richer, 66% of adults see wealth inequality as a serious national issue, and nearly half of Americans, or 47%, believe that there should be a limit to wealth accumulation, the report also found.

A mobile billboard in Washington, D.C., calling for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy depicts an image of billionaire Jeff Bezos on May 17, 2021.
Drew Angerer

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