There are a lot more millionaires out there than you might think. In fact, in the U.S. alone, there are millions of millionaires. There are an estimated 8.4 million American households with $1 million or more in assets, in excess of their primary residences, according to research from the Chicago-based consulting firm, Spectrem Group. Based on the current U.S. population in April 2011, millionaires make up about 2.7% of the entire country. And in that elite millionaires club, there are some names that might surprise you.

TUTORIAL: Greatest Investors

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino
Mike Sorrentino - better known by his household name "The Situation" - catapulted to reality stardom as the muscle-flashing cast member of MTV's "Jersey Shore." But according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Sorrentino could have raked in as much as $5 million in 2010. In addition to the $60,000 he earns for each episode of the reality hit, Sorrentino also receives $15,000 to $50,000 for public appearances, an unknown amount of money for endorsing products, such as Vitamin Water and Reebok, and has already reeled in six-figures on the advance of his autobiography, "Here's the Situation."

Steve Williams, Tiger Wood's Caddy
You would likely recognize the face - if not the name - of Steve Williams, who since 1999 has been the regular caddy of Tiger Woods. According to the Professional Caddies Association (PCA), professional caddies of high-performing golfers earn a greater stake of the returns. On top of a base salary around $1,000 per week, top-notch caddies make 5% of the tournament purse, 7% of a top 10 and 10% for a victory. In 2006, the year when Woods won both the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, Williams brought home $1.27 million.

William Hung, Former American Idol Contestant
After off-pitch audition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" on American Idol in 2004, William Hung was cut, but found instant success with a cult following of fans and a flurry of media attention. For the college music dropout, this led to a music contract and the release of his first album, "Inspiration," that sold over 240,000 copies. From these sales, Hung has admitted to being a millionaire, but has since released another two albums without much traction.

Rebecca Black, Viral Video Star
Rebecca Black, a 13-year-old pop singer from Anaheim Hills, California, was mocked for her music video "Friday" which was uploaded onto YouTube after her mom paid $2,000 for a production company to produce it in 2011. But withstanding the ridicule has paid off. Since the video was released onto the web, it's been downloaded on iTunes over 2 million times and a payout rate of 70 cents per song has earned black at least $1.4 million. Black also stands to profit from receiving a percentage of the ad revenue - along with the production company, Ark Music Factory - from YouTube.

The Bottom Line
The number of millionaires in the U.S. has dropped approximately 9% since 2007 and still, some unlikely individuals have managed to break into the upper echelon of moneymakers. With the rise of the Internet and mass media, it seems you don't have to be brilliant or talented or exceptional, you just have to catch on. (To help you make millions, check out 6 Simple Steps To $1 Million.)

Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    10 Ways Student Debt Can Destroy Your Life

    If you're getting a student loan, think critically about how you will manage your loan. Student debt could have a profound negative impact on your life.
  2. Retirement

    Why Some Celebs Say 'No Inheritance for My Kids'

    To some of the super rich, inherited wealth is not the ultimate gift, it's a burden. Here's how their children—as well as charities—stand to benefit.
  3. Investing

    Kevin O'Leary Biography

    Kevin O'Leary is a television personality, businessman and investor from Canada. A brash public personality with a net worth of roughly $300 million, he is considered to be the Canada’s answer ...
  4. Entrepreneurship

    7 Top-Earning Child Stars

    These seven top-earning child stars earned millions through different parts of the entertainment industry, including television, film and music.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    8 Top-Earning Country Singers

    These eight country singers have built careers singing about men and women who’ve done them wrong, and they’ve shared their heartache to the tune of millions of dollars.
  6. Investing

    Will Donald Trump Be Able to Fund His Entire Campaign?

    Discover why Donald Trump's extravagant wealth and vast net worth may still not be sufficient to self-finance a successful presidential campaign in 2016.
  7. Credit & Loans

    How Long Bankruptcy Will Affect You

    How long will the sad chapter of bankruptcy impact the rest of your life?
  8. Investing News

    How 'Honesty' Could Pay off for Jessica Alba

    Is it possible that Jessica Alba is one of the savviest businesswomen on the planet?
  9. Investing News

    Famous Celebrities Who Love Investing

    Celebrities have a bit of a bad reputation these days. These five celebrities, though, have used their fame and their money to invest successfully instead of spending it on looking good.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Hillary Clinton Success Story: Net Worth, Education & Top Quotes

    Learn about Hillary Clinton's early life in Chicago, her years in Arkansas with her husband, and her time as first lady, senator and secretary of state.
  1. Under what circumstances would I benefit from a high net worth insurance policy?

    A high-net-worth insurance policy is specifically tailored to suit the needs of high-net-worth individuals. It is specifically ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Under what circumstances would I require private wealth management?

    An investor who is a high-net-worth individual (HNWI) may require private wealth management services. HNWIs have unique financial ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is private wealth management?

    Private wealth management is an investment advisory practice that incorporates financial planning, portfolio management and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Which US cities have the highest number of high-income households?

    According to the most recent U.S. Census report on the geographic concentration of high-income households conducted in 2 ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. When is litigation better than mediation in a high net worth divorce case?

    Typically, litigation is better than mediation in high-net-worth divorce cases for two major situations – when there are ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why are fee-based accounts preferred by many high net worth individuals (HNWI)?

    High net worth individuals (HNWIs) often prefer fee-based investment accounts for reasons that include reduced conflicts ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  2. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  3. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  4. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  5. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  6. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!