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CNBC

Nearly a third of the world's billionaires didn't graduate college

'Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune' say researchers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 August, 2016, 5:40am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 August, 2016, 11:26am

College isn't the only path to success.

In fact, nearly a third (30 per cent) of today's billionaires don't have a bachelor's degree.

That's according to research firm Wealth-X, which recently released its annual Billionaire Census, a study of the global billionaire population.

Research by Steve Siebold, who spent three decades studying over 1,200 of the world's wealthiest people, parallels Wealth-X's findings.

"Many world-class performers have little formal education, and have amassed their wealth through the acquisition and subsequent sale of specific knowledge," he writes in his book, "How Rich People Think."

On the flip side, "the masses are convinced that master's degrees and doctorates are the way to wealth," Siebold notes.

According to Wealth-X, only 22 per cent of today's billionaires have a master's degree; 13 per cent have an MBA and 10 per cent have a Ph.D; even fewer have a law degree (3 per cent) or a degree in medicine (1 per cent).

While the road to riches can be paved with higher education and the majority of billionaires do have their bachelor's, it's not necessarily a requirement. What's most important is continually finding ways to further your learning, long after completing any formal education.

"Formal education will make you a living," Siebold says. "Self-education will make you a fortune. Decide today to become a lifelong student and take control of your own self-education."

After all, there's a reason so many successful and wealthy people are voracious readers. Take Warren Buffett, who estimates that 80 per cent of his working day is dedicated to reading, or Bill Gates, who reads about 50 books a year.

"Walk into a wealthy person's home and one of the first things you'll see is an extensive library of books they've used to educate themselves on how to become more successful," Siebold writes.