Millionaire Degrees

Have you ever wondered which university degrees provide the best opportunities for financial success? Well a study by the wealth consultancy WealthInsight may have the answer. A ranking was produced by gathering together the academic histories of millionaires around the world. The top field of study is Engineering.

  • 1.Β Engineering
  • 2. MBA
  • 3. Economics
  • 4. Law
  • 5. (Bachelor’s) Business Administration (BBA)
  • 6. Commerce
  • 7. Accounting
  • 8. Computer Science
  • 9. Finance
  • 10. Politics

Note: This list contains both graduate and undergraduate degrees.

I happen to work with some engineers and I can say most of them are in fact doing quite well financially. Petroleum engineers can easily make six-figures a year straight out of university if they’re willing to work in the oil fields. Software, materials, and industrial engineers, all make above average incomes too.


The personal finance blogging community also shows categorical evidence that engineers are indeed a financially savvy bunch πŸ˜‰ Tim from Canadian Dream is in his 30s and reveals he makes six-figures a year working as an engineer for a crown corporation. 34 year old Frugal Trader from Million Dollar Journey recently reached a household net worth of a million dollars. Both him and his wife are full time engineers. And Phil, one of the most knowledgeable commentators who read my blog, met his wife in their engineering class at university. He retired in his 40s after reaching millionaire status and is now doing lots of volunteering work.

Of course at the end of the day it takes more than just a degree to become a millionaire. Having certain soft skills and personality traits are important as well. This means we should be efficient, personable, seize opportunities when they arise, and know when to take risks (both professionally and financially.) The point of a degree, above anything else, is about showing an ability and willingness to learn.

Here are what random denizens of the internet had to say about the wealth study.

“Most millionaires I know drive around in old Ford trucks and have jeans with holes in them; not sitting in a park wearing a tux with a top hat.”

“The only real way to become truly wealthy is to engage in something with substantial risk, though often you can substitute some of that risk by exploiting people. And even so, your chances are pretty good that you will lose your pants instead.”

“One of my best friends growing up got kicked out of high school during his junior year. He worked as a plumber’s helper and now owns three plumbing companies and retired eight years ago at age 45.”

Although there are many ways to become a millionaire and retire early, earning a degree in engineering, MBA, or economics seems to be a popular way to do it! However I have tried to go down that path and failed miserably, so it’s not the right strategy for everyone.


Β Β  β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”
Random Useless Fact:

Dilemma is a difficult choice between just 2 options. Trilemma, quadrilemma, and so forth exist for more options.

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save. spend. splurge.
09/22/2014 4:09 pm

How about just plain good ol’ intelligence and common sense can get you to millionairedom? No need to make money in specific degrees or areas… Even a teacher can become a millionaire.

My Dividend Pipeline
09/22/2014 5:16 pm

I studied mechanical engineering for two years and then switched to accounting. Ironically I ended up with a career in sales as I never could handle the cubicle type work environments. It was the best choice I ever made and there are many millionaires who also chose this path!


Financial Underdog
Financial Underdog
09/22/2014 7:50 pm

I’ve heard about this before.

And I think it’s not just the income that can certainly be pretty sweet when you have an engineering degree, but also the fact that engineers are a bit different from “normal” people (no offense to engineers). They care less about status symbols, they look at things from functionality perspective, not the looks and feels of it. Because of that the can be quite frugal without actually trying to be frugal. Instead of buying Lexus or Acura, they’ll drive a Toyota or Honda vehicle knowing that the insides of these cars are almost identical and therefore overpaying for the brand is just dumb.

Investing Pursuits
09/22/2014 8:04 pm

I studied engineering and it has people with all different personality traits. People who were not good at communicating and did well had to do a master’s or PhD as they would be stuck in the research part of it. When it comes to making money, as you said the engineers who work in the oilfield will usually make the most money. All though not all engineering jobs in the oilfield due actual engineering work but pays quite well.

I know engineers who are quite frugal and others that are flat broke as they always say “I only live once”

09/23/2014 4:22 am

Damn, looks like I am out of luck!

Finance Journey
09/23/2014 4:24 am

I graduated with two degrees, engineering & computer science, and am working in computer science field. Since I have engineering degree, I have high chance to become a millionaire πŸ˜€ .

But, people who dropped out of colleges/universities became multi-billionaires… mmm I graduated!!


09/23/2014 4:46 am

Thanks for the mention Liquid! The one thing I will add to this post is yes degrees help in attaining the income, but ultimately it is what you do with that income that jumps you to true financial success. I credit more my wife and I’s savviness as DIY’s for all things, with our financial success. Yeah 60-80K jobs help, but if you live a lifestyle that spends what you have coming in, then you are no further ahead than someone who makes 30K and puts away 10% each year. Being of the Do-it-Yourself mindset means that when we finished our basement it cost us $9K in materials (labour free) instead of $35-40K for the same job and hence meant we could invest the difference. As Financial Underdog mentions above regarding cars… We buy cars that are functional for what we do – Subaru CrossTrek hatchback with a hitch to pull a small utility trailer for some of our material handling needs, and a smaller commuter car, Toyota Echo hatchback… We also tend to buy cars new and then drive them into the ground over a 10-14year period, al the while we do most maintenance and oil changes. The small… Read more Β»

Will @firstqfinance
09/23/2014 7:29 am

No wonder there are so many engineers interested in personal finance.

09/23/2014 11:37 am

It is one thing to be an engineer and make a decent living.. it is a whole separate issue to be able to manage that income and turn it into wealth. I seem to have a harder problem doing the second one…

09/24/2014 6:06 am

A lot of the engineers I work with do have that. They’re consulting or doing feasability studies so they’re doing the economics and finances of it as well. A few of my friends are engineers with MBAs… #1 and 2… Hmm.

09/23/2014 11:27 am

I work with a small group of engineers (unfortunately, I don’t fall into that category) they must be all wealthy & millionaires! Some as old as time, yet day in/day out, they come into work. I think people who is wealthy will continue on working and accumulating more.

No More Waffles
09/24/2014 8:48 am

Well, I have a combination of an MBA, economics, law, and politics… So that should make me an instant millionaire! I must be doing something wrong though. πŸ˜€

AssetGrinder (@AssetGrinder)
09/24/2014 10:42 am

Couple of my buddies are engineers. I remember back in high school they were trying to get their grades up to get into certain schools and I was thinking there was no chance for me as I was just a young punk with a C- average just skating by. Now today my engineer buddies have well paying 100k+ jobs and own their own homes in Pricey Vancouver. Not bad.

If I had to do it all over again I prob would have pursued a MBA, Finance, commerce or an engineering degree.

Anne @ Money Propeller
09/25/2014 6:23 am

Haha. We have two of those degrees, and master’s in each of them… we will be millionaires one day, but it’s not like they are a license to print money.

09/25/2014 10:08 am

It’s good to know that I have good odds lol. πŸ˜€