Working hard is not an answer to wealth

Don’t get me wrong. I like and admire people who work hard.

But working hard alone is not an answer to be wealthy and prosperous. Work hard + smart, you might think it is.

Maybe yes and no.

In this article, you will learn the fact about wages among Americans and see where you are.

And I will show you why you have to build wealth instead of work to get wealth. (These two things are different but something is overlapped.)

This article will show you why working is not an answer to wealth but the building is.


Today I was doing research about the wages and somewhat shocked. Well, maybe that wasn’t the right word. I was fascinated by the data I saw.

This is the captivating fact of wages among American citizens. Maybe you have seen it before. I roughly saw it once two years ago but honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to it until today.

Before seeing the data, I have a question for you.

Do you think you get a fair income according to your productivity?

If you have the answer already. Let’s go through the data.

As I mentioned earlier that working hard is not an answer to get wealth. And we often that heard work hard+work smart is the answer to get you there.

The fact is most middle-class Americans work hard and work smart. But their wages aren’t related to that belief.


The reason is the wages aren’t increased proportionally to the work you delivered.

Even you are being so productive and deliver so many. But the income isn’t parallel to what you do. 

You can see that the split started in 1979. In fact, it split since 1973 but not so obvious. The productivity shooted up like a rocket since 1979. And the gap between you being productive and your income is bigger and bigger. And it seemed to get bigger in the future as well.

What does this data tell you?

It tells that you’re a high-skill craftsman and talented. You’re being productive than ever. And you’re worth more than the amount you get paid now.

It convinces you that you should start working on building your wealth already. Because you can!

You are a hard-working + highly productive person. I don’t’ see any reasons why you will not be successful in what you want to build.

You have all the traits that the rich people do. You just have to start somewhere.

If you can work for them, you can also work for yourself 100%. Why not!?


Don’t tell me that you don’t get excited when you see it.

If not. Then the next question is if you don’t get paid for your highly-productive, who gets it?

I believe this data will tell you something more fascinating.

Of course, the richest people on the planet get it. And you will see that the gap started at the same spot around 1979 or just a few years after. 

What does that mean? 

Yes, you are working to pay to the top 1% & top 0.1% people!

Let’s just look at the top 1%, how much their income increased since 1979. Up to 2017, it’s increased 157% (accumulated income) while the bottom 90% has only 22% increasing.

The gap was so big already and we don’t even talk about the top 0.1% and 0.01%! (Those are included Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg, etc. You know this list. You can also see the long list on Forbes. Definitely, it’s hard to get to 0.1% if you’re not the very first person who creates and builds a novel groundbreaking project in the field.)

The next question is what are the top 1% people do?

Do they also work?

Yes, they do and probably work harder. But what the difference is that they own a portion of the stock market. And it’s not only because they spend their money to buy it. 

Those top 1% people are the CEO and other executives. They get compensated by stocks-related like stock awards and cash-in stock options. And stock compensation became more trendy in the CEO’s world in the past decade.

That’s why their income is rising greatly. 

What else do CEOs can do more than the rest?

This is also interesting information. That “the CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are more productive or have special talents or more education.” – EPI-report.

The data below showed that CEOs got even higher compensations than the 0.1% high paid worker in the past decade. And it’s not because they earn more in cash but stocks.


All the information showed why working hard+smart alone does not impact your wealth these days anymore. Because the first graph obviously shows the wages of workers have limited. And it is converted to your skills that are higher and unlimited.

Well, the top 1% and 0.1% people also work hard+smart. But the big gap between that top group and the rest is that (1) they know their worth, (2) they set the number of incomes by and for themselves, (3) they know how to make money grow.

Resource: All research data in this post from Economic Policy Institute

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